Heroic Life Of Che Guevara

executed Cuban revolution from a corrupt military dictatorship and resistance to United States interference in Cuban political affairs.

Tina S
Tina S
May 21, 2010
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Ernesto "Che" Guevara (June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as El Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxistrevolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat, military theorist, and major figure of the Cuban Revolution. Since his death, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol and global insignia within popular culture.

He  was born in Rosario in Argentine in 1928. In 1947, he begins studying for a degree in medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. He spends his leave on motorcycle tours with his friend Alberto Granado, who runs a dispensary at the leper colony of San Francisco del Chanar near Cordoba in Argentina.

1953- While in Mexico he meets Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary. Castro is in self-imposed exile following his early release from a prison sentence imposed after his abortive attempt to overthrow the Batista regime on 26 July 1953.

1954- After studying medicine at the University of Buenos Aires he worked as a doctor. While in Guatemala in 1954 he witnessed the socialist government of President Jacobo Arbenz overthrown by an American backed military coup. Disgusted by what he saw, Guevara decided to join the Cuban revolutionary, Fidel Castro, in Mexico.

1955- "Our first argument revolved around international politics," Guevara later writes of his first meeting with Castro. "By the small hours of that night I had become one of the future expeditionaries."

Faced with the choice of either remaining a medic or taking up the gun, Guevara writes, "I was confronted with the dilemma of dedicating myself to medicine or my duty as a revolutionary soldier. I had in front of me a rucksack full of medicine and an ammunition case, the two weighed too much to carry together. I took the ammunition and left the rucksack behind."

Guevara becomes Castro's chief lieutenant and distinguishes himself as a resourceful and ruthless tactician capable of ordering the execution of traitors and waverers but also deeply concerned for the welfare of his troops.

1956- In 1956 Guevara, Castro and eighty other men and women arrived in Cuba in an attempt to overthrow the government of General Fulgencio Batista. This group became known as the July 26 Movement. The plan was to set up their base in theSierra Maestra mountains. On the way to the mountains they were attacked by government troops. By the time they reached the Sierra Maestra there were only sixteen men left with twelve weapons between them. For the next few months Castro's guerrilla army raided isolated army garrisons and were gradually able to build-up their stock of weapons.

When the guerrillas took control of territory they redistributed the land amongst the peasants. In return, the peasants helped the guerrillas against Batista's soldiers. In some cases the peasants also joined Castro's army, as did students from the cities and occasionally Catholic priests.

In an effort to find out information about the rebels people were pulled in for questioning. Many innocent people were tortured. Suspects, including children, were publicly executed and then left hanging in the streets for several days as a warning to others who were considering joining the revolutionaries. The behaviour of Batista's forces increased support for the guerrillas. In 1958 forty-five organizations signed an open letter supporting the July 26 Movement. National bodies representing lawyers, architects, dentists, accountants and social workers were amongst those who signed. Castro, who had originally relied on the support of the poor, was now gaining the backing of the influential middle classes.

1959- The new revolutionary government quickly arrests and tries the 'Batistianos', the supporters of the Batista regime, for alleged atrocities committed during the dictator's rule. As commander of the La Cabana Fortress in Havana, Guevara is closely involved in the trials. More than 500 civil and military officials from the former government are executed.

Guevara advocates rapid industrialisation and centralisation of the economy, a position that will put him at odds with others in the government more concerned with the development of the agricultural sector. He also argues that Cuba should turn to the political left and ally itself with the Soviet Union. He calls for the creation of a 'New Man' selflessly dedicated to the betterment of society.

Relations between the US and Cuba sour when the land reforms begin to bite and US industrial, commercial and agricultural interests in Cuba are nationalised. 

1960- During the year 1960, Guevara completes his book 'Guerra de guerrillas' (Guerrilla warfare). The book will become a manual for revolutionary groups in Latin America and elsewhere.

1960 is also the year in which fashion photographer Alberto Diaz Gutierrez takes the most famous of all the images of Guevara. Titled 'The Heroic Guerrilla', the photograph will become a symbol throughout the world of a revolutionary ideal.

From October 1960 to February 1961, Guevara tours socialist and communists countries, including Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union and China, as part of a commercial delegation seeking loans and trade agreements.

1962- The 'Cuban Missile Crisis' flares in October when the US Government discovers that the Soviet Union is setting up launch sites for long-range ballistic missiles in Cuba. After a tense 13-day standoff between US President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev the missiles are removed on condition that the US withdraws its missiles stationed in Turkey and ceases its attempts to overthrow Castro. During the crisis Guevara argues in favour of a first strike and is bitterly disappointed when the missiles are withdrawn.

1964- Tensions within the Cuban Government over Guevara's economic policies continue and are heightened by his enthusiasm for carrying the revolution beyond Cuba into other parts of Latin America and to Africa.

Guevara begins to travel widely and frequently, meeting with guerrilla and revolutionary groups and their supporters around the world and arranging the formation of the Organisation of Solidarity of the Peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America (the 'Tricontinental Conference').

1966- Guevara returns to Cuba in March, but quickly travels on to Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia, where he joins and becomes a leader of a communist guerrilla movement attempting to overthrow the country's military government.

In the industry portfolio, Guevara continues his advocacy of centralised economic planning. He fixes prices for staples, reduces rents, and places controls on the accumulation of private capital. Industrial output is increased, imports are reduced and the tax burden is shifted to upper and middle income earners.

1967- In 1967 David Morales recruited Félix Rodríguez to train and head a team that would attempt to catch Che Guevara. Guevara was attempting to persuade the tin-miners living in poverty to join his revolutionary army. When Guevara was captured, it was Rodriguez who interrogated him before he ordered his execution in October, 1967. Rodriguez still possesses Guevara’s Rolex watch that he took as a trophy.

"I'm Che Guevara and I'm worth more to you alive than dead," he tells his captors. He is carried to the village of La Higuera, 30 km southwest of Vallegrande, and placed under guard in the schoolhouse, along with other captured rebels.

Around noon the following day, and against the CIA's wishes, Guevara is executed with four gunshots to his chest. His last words are reported to be, "I know you have come to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man."

Guevara is dead at the age of 39.

Following the execution, Guevara's hands are removed so his identity can be confirmed by fingerprinting. On 11 October his handless body, and the bodies of six of his executed colleagues, is secretly buried near the airport at Vallegrande.

According to the Human Rights Watch World Report 2005, "The Cuban government systematically denies its citizens basic rights to free expression, association, assembly, movement, and a fair trial. A one party state, Cuba restricts nearly all avenues of political dissent. Tactics for enforcing political conformity include police warnings, surveillance, short term detentions, house arrests, travel restrictions, criminal prosecutions, and politically-motivated dismissals from employment."

Restless and complex, practical and idealistic, caring and brutal, self-serving and naive - and this is just scratching the surface of the contradictory personality that has fuelled the myth and legend of Che Guevara. On the one hand there is the temptation to dismiss Guevara as a frenetic dreamer consumed by the movement and romance of revolutionary action. On the other is an admiration for his total commitment to the utopian belief that a 'New Man' could create a just and equal society.


Keywords: Heroic Life Of Che Guevara,Ernesto,Fidel Castro,Mexico,guerrilla army, Guerra de guerrillas,The Heroic Guerrilla,Cuban Missile Crisis,Soviet Union,John F,Kennedy,middle class,cuban revelation.

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