Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Amazing Legacy of Che Guevara - 40 Years After His Murder

Forty years after Ernesto "Che" Guevara was captured and killed by soldiers in a Bolivian jungle, Western newspapers have begun writing their obligitaory Che stories. As the google snapshot above (oh so) perfectly illustrates, there is some confusion as to the message they are supposed to contain. The killing of Che was celebrated in the West in 1967. US elites thought their struggles to dominate Latin America were over. And perhaps they were for 30-some odd years.

However today, with Che posters and t-shirts pretty much ubiquitous on college campuses of all continents and socialists taking back their country's natural resources from foreign companies, the elites are not quite so sure about this whole "dustbin of history" thesis. Some try to get around this fact by concentrating a story on Cuba, where they find a couple well known dissidents to back up the 'man on the street' view that while Che is still widely admired, Cuba has a ways to go to live up to his ideals. Others are more honest.

To me, Che is much more than an important symbol. He is a true model of what a human being can be. He never stopped trying to learn and relate political theory to the state of the world. He inspired and was inspired by the youth. He knew a better society was possible - one that shared, cared for each other and fought for justice. He criticised the Soviet Union and believed there was more to life than consumerism. He was a brave and inspired leader on the battlefield and as a Cuban Government Minister .

Who could predict how right on he would be when he yelled out to his shooter 40 years ago: "Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man".

Check out what Gary Hart, Evo Morales, the founder of the Buena vista Social Club and British artist Gavin Turk had to say about "What Che Meant to Me."

As a fitting aside, the BBC recently reported that Cuban doctors in Bolivia saved the sight of the Bolivian army officer who puit the final bullet in Che - Mario Teran - as a part of their humanitarian health programs across the Continent.



Blogger jsb said...

Felix Rodriguez, peace be upon him, and the Bolivian who shot Che are the ones with a true amazing legacy. Che was a murderer and deserved to be put down like the dog that he was. I encourage young people who come to this blog to challenge the traditional notion of Che as hero. Reject, rebel and find for yourself the truth about this man.

By the way, there's some more "pre-criminal social danger" arrests going on in Cuba, Matthew. And you support that? Man, people who come to this blog should know that you support this kind of thing:

6:38 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Is when Ché ordered Cornelio Rojas to be shot without trial in 1959 the "true model of what a human being can be" in your mind, Leftside?

6:40 AM  
Blogger jsb said...

"If the new man that Che wanted is what we have today, it has been a total failure." (from the linked reuters article)


Are the camps he set up for homosexuals and social deviants part of the "true model of what a human being can be" in your mind, Leftside?

6:45 AM  
Blogger leftside said...

Kate, as chief of the Santa Clara police, Mr Rojas was respnsible for unspeakable torture against Batista's political opponents. I am talking about pulling nails out, electrocution, etc. And what evidence is there he died without a trial? My information is that he received a revolutionary court martial trial.

There is no doubt Che beleived in political violence to change the conditions of the poor. But there is no evidence he ever killed an innocent outside of revolutionary action.

Here is what I have said about the UMAP camps. There is no evidence that Che had anything to say about them. The impetus came from the Cuban military. After 2 years of opposition from Fidel, they were finally abolished.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Leftside, as you yourself note that Che believe in political violence to change the conditions of the poor, but to what extent should that have been carried out? Why did these atrocious acts need to be carried out? Perhaps the more appropriate question is, have the poor truly benefited from this? If the situation is so wonderful for all Cubans, why did over 18,000 flee last year?

I do not support the Batista regime which preceded Castro --to think in such simplistic terms would be irresponsible, sophomoric, and quite foolish-- but I obviously do not agree that Castro's Cuba, with the aid of Che, is a better, freer alternative.

To echo what jsb previously said regarding "pre-criminal social danger," one needn't look further than the case of Maria de los Angeles Borrego Mir; this crime is reprehensible and Orwellian. Do you stand for this too, Leftside?

7:30 PM  
Blogger The Conservative Manifesto said...

I have this fun little game I like to play when ever the chance presents itself...

When ever I pass a fellow citizen on the street wearing a Che t-shirt, I ask him (it has yet to be a 'her') one simple question.

Actually, I once played this game with a homeowner who had a Che poster hanging on his wall as well.

Any way, as I stated earlier I simply ask the owner of the t-shirt (or poster) a very simple question:

"Hey, what is that guy's first name?"

And wouldn't you know it. They're stunned - but not because I have the audacity to ask a complete stranger about his attire.

In the three or some odd years I've been playing this game (which embarrasses my wife terribly) not a single person bearing Che's picture can answer my answer correctly.

It's sad how little those who hold Ernesto up as a hero actually know about him... or his legacy.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Renegade Eye said...

He should be commended for doing the right thing, and expanding the revolution in Latin America. Too bad he practiced guerilla warfare based on peasantry, a losing strategy.

Too bad he didn't live to see what Venezuela become.

1:18 PM  

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