Because lepers are easy to fear and despise, the government and local communities ignore them and refuse to allocate necessary resources to them,; they are completely excluded from the normal benefits of belonging to society, and are instead consigned to isolated colonies. However, Ernesto finds a lot to inspire him when he reaches the San Pablo Leper Colony in the remote jungle of Peru. Within San Pablo colony, patients have created a society that allows them independence and dignity. They live in their own cabins and adjudicate disputes with their own judges and policemen. While the material conditions of the leper colony show Ernesto the necessity of social change, its atmosphere is reminiscent of the post-revolutionary future Ernesto imagines, in which the proletariat are liberated and empowered to govern themselves. While Ernesto doesn’t explicitly compare the lepers and the proletariat, he makes his first political speech at a banquet in the colony, in which he stresses the unity of Latin American peoples. Because of its egalitarian values, the leper colony is a microcosm of the ideal Communist society Ernesto envisions, and it helps him articulate his nascent political views.
The Leper Colony Quotes in The Motorcycle Diaries
There are 600 sick people living independently in typical jungle huts, doing whatever they choose, looking after themselves, in an organization which has developed a rhythm and style of its own. There is a local official, a judge, a policeman, etc. The respect Dr. Bresciani commands is considerable and he clearly coordinates the whole colony, both protecting and sorting out disputes that arise between the different groups.
We constitute a single mestizo race, which from Mexico to the Magellan Straits bears notable ethnographical similarities. And so, in an attempt to rid myself of the weight of small-minded provincialism, I propose a toast to Peru and to a United Latin America.