Almost everyone has heard of Ché Guevara. However, not everyone knows who he was, or what role he played in history. Ché was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, doctor, author, diplomat and guerilla leader who became a symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.
Ché and The Cuban Revolution
Ché Guevara, born on June 14, 1928, traveled through South America as a medical student. The poverty, hunger and disease that he saw there moved him and awakened in him the desire to overturn the exploitation of Latin America by the United States. Later, in Mexico City, he met Fidel and Raul Castro and with them sailed to Cuba to overthrow Dictator Fulgencio Batista who was supported by the United States. He became second-in-command and played a major role in the following two-year guerilla campaign, which led to the fall of the Batista’s regime.
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Ché Guevara’s Role in the Development of Socialist Cuba
After the Revolution, Ché held a number of important positions in the new government. He instituted land reform as leader of the ministry of industries. He was both the instructional director of Cuba’s armed forces and the president of the national bank. He also traveled as a Cuban diplomat. His positions allowed him to perform several moves, one of which was the bringing of Soviet nuclear ballistic missiles to Cuba, which led to the 1962 Cuban Missiles Crisis.
Criticism of the Soviet Union and support of Vietnam
Ché’s first international appearance took place during an economic seminar in 1965. He provided a number of goals that were implemented by countries from the communist-bloc in order to combat imperialism. In his speech, he criticized the Soviet Union (the main financial supporter of Cuba). Interestingly, Ché Guevara also strongly supported Vietnam during the Vietnam war.
Ché was a creative writer. He composed a manual on guerilla warfare, and one of his books, the memoir about his motorcycle journey during his youth became a best-seller. He intensively studied Marxism-Leninism, which is reflected in several of his publications. He stated that the underdevelopment of the countries from the third world is a result of imperialism, and capitalism, and that only the world revolution together with proletarian internationalism could change this situation.
Ché after Cuba
In 1965, Guevara left Cuba in order to promote the revolution in other countries. He left Cuba unexpectedly and only after rumors and international speculations, Fidel Castro made public a letter from Ché, where he said that he left to support the revolutionary cause abroad. He left for Africa because he thought that it was the weak link of imperialism and had a great revolutionary potential, so he decided to start with Congo. However, due to strong presence of the US National Security Agencyin the country, his attempt of revolution failed. After his failure in Congo he moved to Bolivia where he was captured by the Bolivian forces, which were assisted by the US’s Central Intelligence Agency. After his capture, he was executed on October 9, 1967.
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Ché Guevara as a Symbol
Ché Guevara became an icon for a lot of the leftist movements. He was ranked in the “100 most influential people of the 20th century” by Time Magazine. His photo, GuerrilleroHeroico, is today the most famous photograph in the world.
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By Norvan Martin