Ernesto ”Che” Guevara
“An apostle of the Immaculate Revolution”
A judicious evaluation of the legacy left by Che in the radical ideas and political behaviour of Latin America.
“Podran cortar las flores, pero no detendran la primavera.”
“You may cut the flowers, but it will not stop the spring.”
(Popular Latin American proverb)
The very intention of mine is to provide the reader with concise, plausible yet entertaining account of Ernesto Guevara’s immense influence of Latin American political movements. Moreover, I will attempt to get behind his legend and try to find the reasons as to why he appealed and still does to numerous political fractions as well as ordinary people. In my very modesty, it is hoped the reader shall enjoy it, and if my skill does not fail me, perhaps even appreciate it. As in strice structural terms, the given work is fragmented into a number of sections which shall help the reader in moving through the vast array of information that impatiently awaits to be explored… Ergo there will be a laconic sub-intro presenting the facts from Che’s life as they were crucial in creating the later iconic, if not mythical position of his. However, the very core section of given study as the subtitle indicates will be the one in which I sculpt my argument on the causes of Che’s seemingly never ending presence in Latin American politic life… Consequently, the number of examples should illustrate Che’s visible then-and-now legacy laid upon Latin American socio-political movements. Finally after presenting all facets of Che’s legend, it will be time to recap and perhaps draw some predictions as of the future.
This is an Essay that I wrote for World History Research* Throughout history there were many countries exploited by means of invasion. During the age of colonization, Europeans imposed many things on the Latin American territory that have had an extensive, disturbing effect on the indigenous community. Europeans invaded and controlled much of South America and the Caribbean islands by means of ...
What made Guevara such an iconic and influential among Latin American masses, not to mention the rest of the world? To answer it one must trace the beginnings of his existence. Che was born in 1928 in Rosario, Argentina and when he was only eight weeks old he experienced his first asthmatic attack, which was to be his burden throughout his life, yet it had enormous impact in shaping him! It could be argued that had he been born without asthma, his life could have gone towards very different azimuths… Being asthmatic meant he did not have a normal childhood, quite often being forced to stay at home. Therefore Che in order to fill his spare time had embarked upon reading everything, from London, Freud or Neruda to Sartre and Marx… As Anderson (1997) points “these pursuits (…) reminded with him for life, and he later credited his periods of childhood quarantine with helping to bring about his love of reading”. Likewise his physical fragility developed his strong will and desire for competing and proving himself, thus it was a frequent to see him playing rugby or hiking constantly equipped with inhalator… It appears it had given him strength and toughness which turned to be priceless over next years.
It can be claimed it was then when Guevara’s (moral) absolutism started to emerge. Only to confirm this argument, one could cite Domoslawski (2004): “Psychoanalysis claims that asthmatics tend to find it difficult to connect contradictory emotions and desires and therefore in order to deal with it the asthmatics escape into the world of radical judgments.” Now, one should step back and look upon Che, as this lack of ambivalence is more than vivid. He did not see the world as a nexus of contradictories and often hypocritical interrelations… For him it was either white or black… Socialism or death! This absolutism of his was to be the prime feature that made people adore and follow him. Nonetheless, the crucial moment was to be in Guatemalan when he saw American backed forces overthrowing Arbenz. As Selvage (April 1985) comments: Ernesto’s commitment to social change advanced to a more radical level after his visit to Guatemala in early 1954. In his own words, “I was born in Argentina, I fought in Cuba, and I began to be a revolutionary in Guatemala. The rest of the story is well known and shall be not explored in the course of this study as it would be irrelevant.
Indigenous people influenced greatly the way Latin America developed. Among those groups it should be pointed three main ones, such as Maya, Arawaks and Mapuche. Maya indigenous people occupied an area comprising the Yucatn peninsula and much of the present state of Chiapas, Mexico; Guatemala and Belize. By a demographic collapse at the end of 1100 the population had been lost close to 90%. ...
Though I made some loose suggestions in previous section, it is time I drew some serious arguments. Every epoch, continent and country at some point gave the World individuals who were capable of making their dreams come true and in so doing, making peoples follow them. Latin America gave us Ernesto Guevara, whose impact was and still is unprecedented in its scale and magnitude. It seems to me that behind his phenomenon are two major layers, one strictly political and the other one of more social face.
In political terms, I think he perfectly encapsulated two important rebellions. The prime one is obviously his rebellion against the geopolitical hierarchy. The oppressed and exploited South versus the wealthy and greedy North, as we could name it nowadays? For Cuban revolution for the first time did put in doubt the dominance of the United States over an insignificant and not economically sovereign country that Cuba was. It gave out the massage that if you happened to be born in Latin America it does not mean you must abide by the rules set by enormous Estados Unidos… It gave Latin American people back their pride and hope, something that seems so obvious to have if you are Eurocentric Anglo-Saxon… I could clearly notice here a sort of loose analogy between Cuba liberating herself from American imperialism and my own Poland rising against Soviets. They aired their message and so did we, we both liberated people by providing them with hope. Secondly, being the real Marxist, Che Guevara truly opposed the quasi-Stalinist (Poland and Czechoslovakia!) model of socialism. Therefore he de facto rebelled against two main players of Cold War and tried to set his very own path…
American Modernization Leading up to the turn of our present century, changes in culture and society of America triggered modernization throughout much of our commerce, social, artistic and educational lives. The past century or so has brought new obstacles and opportunities for the nation of America. This changing is reflected through some of the works by writers such as, Robert Frost, William ...
In social terms I think Guevara’s death that occurred just before the 68’ movement emerged was crucial. For those people he appeared as an absolute and fully committed individual who was willing to change the world, just as they did intend to. Ergo it is easy to see why they identified themselves with him. His ascetic living and constant pursuit of justice and equality appealed and with his death he was seen as a…martyr. The legend was born.
The case studies of Guevarrian’s Guerrilla Legacy
It has been more than ten decades since Che was executed by Bolivian Mario Terana (Kapuscinski 2007).
Admittedly his legend faded a lot since the heyday of 1968 where students in Paris, Warsaw or Prague had used Korda’s famous portrait as a symbol of their movements… But Guevara’s ghost of guerrilla and foco has been reappearing numerous times all over Latin America in the fight against establishment. The cardinal paragon should be viewed in the Zapatista uprising in Mexico ignited by Subcomendante Marcos. As Anderson (1997) writes:
“Indeed it is hard not to see Marcos as a reborn Che adapted to modern times – less utopian still idealistic, but still willing to fight for his beliefs. (…) His legacy is apparent in the guerrillas’ repudiation of Mexico’s subservience to U.S. capital and their appeals for sweeping social, political, and economic reforms.”
The other examples may be drawn such as Peruvian Movimiento Revolucinario Tupac Amaru which did shake the public opinion and “rattled the confidence of a regime that had thought itself secure (Anderson 1996)”. One last example though it took place on African soil, ideologically had been moulded in Latin America by Ernesto himself. In fact Guevara met the future leader back in 1965 when he arrived in Congo with ignite the revolution… What at the sixties turned to be a failure, proved itself successful in 1997! Therefore is not it Laurent Kabila who overthrew Mobutu Sese Seko in Zair an example of well applied Marxist guerrilla? Just to finish this section, one more example could be drawn, namely: Colombia and her Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia which was established as military wing of Communist Party… However, as of presence, it has deviated from its original ideals and only guevarrian guerrilla tactics still reminds of its past.
“Latin American politics since independence have been characterized by instability, authoritarianism, and violence. In a three page essay please discuss the role of the military in creating such problems using the chapter in the course reader entitled “The Good Sailor. ” Also, discuss whether or not the Argentinean case is typical or unique to Latin America. Provide explanations and analysis from ...
Che as a symbol
Guevara’s radical guerrilla warfare as the tools of change may not apply in today’s neoliberal societies in the scale and magnitude as they did during the seventies; however his prime ideas of being mutinous towards establishment, nationalize and to simply help the poor are still valid and used by some of socialist who recently took over in Latin America…
“Those new socialists — Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Ecuador’s Rafael Correa and Bolivia’s Evo Morales — all pay homage to Che and are happy to perpetuate the romantic image of the dashing outlaw(…).
Some of their goals are the same with all three imposing much stronger state control over the oil and gas industries.
However, instead of putting on agenda notions of Marx or stricte guevarian – the new man, (…) “their buzz words are resource nationalism and indigenous rights, not dialectical materialism and Marxism (Garcia 2007).”
As the final part inescapably betokens the end it is time to cast the sight on given study and summarize the outcome. The main purpose of this written work was to provide the reader with the author’s personal opinion as of why Ernesto Guevara managed to influence the lives of those millions souls in Latin America. Moreover, the very equipping of given essay with some case studies was performed in order to flesh out the theoretical skeleton of personal assumptions. After all effort put in creating this work, it is only my hope that left in my awaiting for the mark. Yes, it is the very same hope that Che gave to all those who inhabit the Southern Hemisphere…
1. Anderson Lee, J.(1997) “Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life”, Bantam Books
2. Domoslawski, A. (2004) “Goraczka Latynoameryknska”, Swiat Ksiazki
3. Kapuscinski, R, (2007) The Soccer War, Granta Books
1. Garcia, E. (2007) “Che Guevara’s legacy fading with the years”
Reuters Official Website (http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSKIM55790620071006?pageNumber=3&virtualBrandChannel=0 visited on 10.05.2008)
1. Selvage, D. (April 1985) Che Guevara In Bolivia, Marine Corps Command and Staff College ,Marine Corps Development and Education Command Quantico, Virginia 22134
... about this man in this book. He answers many questions about Che life and his mysterious death. Che Guevara was one of the most ... important thing about this book is that Jon Lee Anderson was able to make the revolutionary life of Che Guevara a little more ... 10 facts about the revolutionary leader Che Guevara. 1. At the young age of two years, Che Guevara began learning about revolutionary heroes from ...
[ 1 ]. In Richard Bourne’s words