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Che Guevara: Life of a Revolutionary

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Che Guevera
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« Reply #90 on: August 02, 2009, 01:58:13 am »

In late 1995, retired Bolivian General Mario Vargas revealed to Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, that Guevara's body was located near a Vallegrande airstrip. The result was a multi-national search for the remains, which would last more than a year. In July 1997, a team of Cuban geologists and Argentine forensic anthropologists discovered the remnants of seven bodies in two mass graves, including one man with amputated hands (like Guevara). Bolivian government officials with the Ministry of Interior later identified the body as Guevara when the excavated teeth "perfectly matched" a plaster mold of Che's teeth, made in Cuba prior to his Congolese expedition. The "clincher" then arrived when Argentine forensic anthropologist Alejandro Inchaurregui inspected the inside hidden pocket of a blue jacket dug up next to the handless cadaver and found a small bag of pipe tobacco. Nino de Guzman, the Bolivian helicopter pilot who had given Che a small bag of tobacco, later remarked that he "had serious doubts" at first and "thought the Cubans would just find any old bones and call it Che"; however he stated "after hearing about the tobacco pouch, I have no doubts."[120] On October 17, 1997, Guevara's remains, with those of six of his fellow combatants, were laid to rest with military honors in a specially built mausoleum in the city of Santa Clara, where he had commanded over the decisive military victory of the Cuban Revolution.[134]
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« Reply #91 on: August 02, 2009, 01:58:34 am »

Removed when Guevara was captured was his 30,000-word, hand-written diary, a collection of his personal poetry, and a short story he authored about a young Communist guerrilla who learns to overcome his fears.[135] His diary documented events of the guerrilla campaign in Bolivia[136] with the first entry on November 7, 1966 shortly after his arrival at the farm in Ñancahuazú, and the last dated October 7, 1967, the day before his capture. The diary tells how the guerrillas were forced to begin operations prematurely due to discovery by the Bolivian Army, explains Guevara's decision to divide the column into two units that were subsequently unable to re-establish contact, and describes their overall unsuccessful venture. It also records the rift between Guevara and the Communist Party of Bolivia that resulted in Guevara having significantly fewer soldiers than originally expected and shows that Guevara had a great deal of difficulty recruiting from the local populace, due in part to the fact that the guerrilla group had learned Quechua, unaware that the local language was actually Tupí-Guaraní.[137] As the campaign drew to an unexpected close, Guevara became increasingly ill. He suffered from ever-worsening bouts of asthma, and most of his last offensives were carried out in an attempt to obtain medicine.[138]
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« Reply #92 on: August 02, 2009, 01:58:55 am »

The Bolivian Diary was quickly and crudely translated by Ramparts magazine and circulated around the world.[139] There are at least four additional diaries in existence—those of Israel Reyes Zayas (Alias "Braulio"), Harry Villegas Tamayo ("Pombo"), Eliseo Reyes Rodriguez ("Rolando")[111] and Dariel Alarcón Ramírez ("Benigno")[140]—each of which reveals additional aspects of the events. In July 2008, the Bolivian government of Evo Morales unveiled Guevara's formerly sealed diaries composed in two frayed notebooks, along with a logbook and several black-and-white photographs. At this event, Bolivia's vice minister of culture, Pablo Groux, expressed that there were plans to publish photographs of every handwritten page later in the year.[141]
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« Reply #93 on: August 02, 2009, 01:59:48 am »



Che Guevara's Monument and Mausoleum in Santa Clara, Cuba
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« Reply #94 on: August 02, 2009, 02:00:44 am »

Legacy

"The current court of opinion places Che on a continuum that teeters between viewing him as a misguided rebel, a coruscatingly brilliant guerrilla philosopher, a poet-warrior jousting at windmills, a brazen warrior who threw down the gauntlet to the bourgeoisie, the object of fervent paeans to his sainthood, or a mass murderer clothed in the guise of an avenging angel whose every action is imbricated in violence – the archetypal fanatical terrorist."

– Dr. Peter McLaren, author of Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution [1]
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« Reply #95 on: August 02, 2009, 02:01:10 am »

Over forty years after his execution, Che's life and legacy still remain a contentious issue. The contradictions of his ethos at various points in his life have created a complex character of unending duality, polarized in the collective imagination.

Some view Che Guevara as a hero;[143] for example, Nelson Mandela referred to him as "an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom"[144] while Jean-Paul Sartre described him as "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age."[145] Other notable figures who expressed their admiration include authors Graham Greene who remarked that Che "represented the idea of gallantry, chivalry, and adventure"[146], and Susan Sontag who expounded that "(Che's) goal was nothing less than the cause of humanity itself."[147] In the black community, philosopher Frantz Fanon professed Guevara to be "the world symbol of the possibilities of one man"[148], while Black Panther Party head Stokely Carmichael eulogized that "Che Guevara is not dead, his ideas are with us."[149] Praise was reflected throughout the political spectrum, with the anarcho-capitalist / libertarian theorist Murray Rothbard extolling Guevara as a "heroic figure", lamenting after his death that "more than any man of our epoch or even of our century, (Che) was the living embodiment of the principle of revolution",[150] while journalist Christopher Hitchens commented that "[Che's] death meant a lot to me, and countless like me, at the time. He was a role model, albeit an impossible one for us bourgeois romantics insofar as he went and did what revolutionaries were meant to do fought and died for his beliefs."[151]
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« Reply #96 on: August 02, 2009, 02:01:45 am »

 Guevara remains a beloved national hero to many in Cuba, where his image adorns the $3 Cuban Peso and school children begin each morning by pledging "We will be like Che."[152] In his native homeland of Argentina, where high schools bear his name,[153] numerous Che museums dot the country, which in 2008 unveiled a 12 foot bronze statue of him in his birth city of Rosario.[154] Additionally, Guevara has been sanctified by some Bolivian campesinos[155] as "Saint Ernesto", to whom they pray for assistance.[156]

Conversely, others view him as a spokesman for a failed ideology and as a ruthless executioner.[157] Detractors have theorized that in much of Latin America, Che-inspired revolutions had the practical result of reinforcing brutal militarism and internecine conflict for many years.[158] Alvaro Vargas Llosa of The Independent Institute has hypotheized that Guevara’s contemporary followers "delude themselves by clinging to a myth", while describing Guevara as "Marxist Puritan" who employed his dogmatic power to suppress dissent, while also operating as a "cold-blooded killing machine".[159] Llosa has also accused Guevara's "fanatical disposition" as being the linchpin of the "Sovietization" of the Cuban revolution, speculating that he possessed a "total subordination of reality to blind ideological orthodoxy."[160] Guevara remains a hated figure amongst many in the Cuban exile community, who view him with animosity as "the butcher of La Cabaña."[161] Guevara's exiled grandson Canek Sánchez Guevara, has also recently become an outspoken critic of the current Cuban regime.[162]

A high-contrast monochrome graphic of his face has become one of the world's most universally merchandized and objectified images,[163][164] found on an endless array of items, including t-shirts, hats, posters, tattoos, and bikinis,[165] ironically contributing to the consumer culture he despised. Yet, Guevara still remains a transcendent figure both in specifically political contexts[166] and as a wide-ranging popular icon of youthful rebellion.[167]
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« Reply #97 on: August 02, 2009, 02:02:12 am »



A stylized graphic of Guevara's face on a flag above the words "El Che Vive" (The Che Lives).
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« Reply #98 on: August 02, 2009, 02:02:56 am »

The legacy of Argentine Marxist revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara (June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), has evolved and been passionately contested since his execution in 1967.

On the 40th anniversary of Guevara's execution in Bolivia the compilation Che in Verse brought together a diverse collection of 135 poems and songs in tribute to Che Guevara.[1] Celebrated poets such as Pablo Neruda, Allen Ginsberg, Julio Cortázar, Nicolas Guillén, Derek Walcott, Al Purdy, Rafael Alberti, Ko Un, and Yevgeny Yevtushenko devoted the aforementioned works to, as the book states in its introduction, "celebrate the world’s icon of rebellion".[2] In September of 2007, Che was also voted "Argentina's greatest historical and political figure." [3]

To some he is known as a hero —Nelson Mandela has referred to him as: "An inspiration for every human being who loves freedom" [4] — but others view him as the spokesman of a failing ideology and a ruthless executioner who did not afford others a legal process.[citation needed] In reference to such criticisms, Cuban-American academic Uva de Aragon has hypothesized that: "We'll still have to wait many years for history to deliver a definite judgement on Che, when the passions of both sides have passed." [5]
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« Reply #99 on: August 02, 2009, 02:03:33 am »



Statue of Che Guevara near the site of his execution in Bolivia.
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« Reply #100 on: August 02, 2009, 02:05:21 am »



In its mid-November (#46) 2005 issue, the German newsweekly Der Spiegel writes about Europe's "peaceful revolutionaries" whom it describes as the heirs of Gandhi and Guevara.
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« Reply #101 on: August 02, 2009, 02:31:38 am »

British politician George Galloway has remarked that: "One of the greatest mistakes the US state ever made was to create those pictures of Che's corpse. Its Christ-like poise in death ensured that his appeal would reach way beyond the turbulent university campus and into the hearts of the faithful, flocking to the worldly, fiery sermons of the liberation theologists." [6] The Economist magazine has also pointed out how Che's post death photos resemble Andrea Mantegna's 'The Lamentation over the Dead Christ.' Thus fixing Guevara as a modern saint, the man who risked his life twice in countries that were not his own before giving it in a third, and whose invocation of the “new man”, driven by moral rather than material incentives, smacked of Saint Ignatius of Loyola more than Marx.[7]
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« Reply #102 on: August 02, 2009, 02:31:58 am »

While pictures of Guevara's dead body were being circulated and the circumstances of his death debated, his legend began to spread. Demonstrations in protest against his execution occurred throughout the world, and articles, tributes, songs and poems were written about his life and death.[8][9] In Argentina, graphic novelist Héctor Oesterheld published a biography of Che in 1968 that would later be linked to Oesterheld's own politically-motivated disappearance, torture and death.[10] Latin America specialists advising the U.S. State Department immediately recognized the importance of the demise of “the most glamorous and reportedly most successful revolutionary”, noting that Guevara would be eulogized by communists and other leftists as “the model revolutionary who met a heroic death”.[11] This rung true in 1968 when among Italy's emerging new breed of Roman Catholic militants, the Jacques Maritain Circle arranged a memorial mass in Che's honor and Catholic services were held for him in several other countries. In addition, in Brazil, mythmakers began to circulate thousands of copies of a photograph of the dead Che captioned: "A Saint of Our Time", while Italian students also took up a similar tone and christened him "Angela della Pace" — "Angel of Peace."[12]
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« Reply #103 on: August 02, 2009, 02:32:14 am »

Such predictions gained increasing credibility as Guevara became a potent symbol of rebellion and revolution during the global student protests of the late 1960s.[13] Left wing activists responded to Guevara's apparent indifference to rewards and glory, and concurred with Guevara's sanctioning of violence as a necessity to instill socialist ideals. [14] The Black Panthers, began to style themselves "Che-type" while adopting his trademark black beret, and Arab guerrillas began to name combat operations in his honor. [15] The slogan 'Che lives!' began to appear on walls throughout the west,[16] while Jean-Paul Sartre, a leading figure in the movement, encouraged the adulation by describing Guevara as "the most complete human being of our age".[17]

Typically, responses to Guevara's legacy followed partisan lines. The U.S. State Department was advised that his death would come as a relief to non-leftist Latin Americans, who had feared possible insurgencies in their own countries.[11] Subsequent analysts have also shed light on aspects of cruelty in Guevara’s methods, and analysed what Fidel Castro described as Guevara’s “excessively aggressive quality”.[18] Studies addressing problematic characteristics of Guevara's life have cited his principal role in setting up Cuba's first post-revolutionary labor camps, his unsympathetic treatment of captured fighters during various guerrilla campaigns, and his frequent humiliations of those deemed his intellectual inferiors.[19][20] Though much opposition to Guevara's methods has come from the political right, critical evaluation has also come from groups such as anarchists, Trotskyists, and civil libertarians, who consider Guevara an authoritarian, anti-working-class Stalinist, whose legacy was the creation of a more bureaucratic, authoritarian regime.[21] Johann Hari, for example, stated that "...Che Guevara is not a free-floating icon of rebellion. He was an actual person who supported an actual system of tyranny, one that murdered millions more actual people."[22] Detractors have also theorized that in much of Latin America, Che-inspired revolutions had the practical result of reinforcing brutal militarism for many years.[23]
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« Reply #104 on: August 02, 2009, 02:32:44 am »

Legacy in Cuba

"Guevara remains a beloved national hero in Cuba (almost a secular saint, to many on the Caribbean island) [24], where he is remembered for promoting unpaid voluntary work by working shirtless on building sites or hauling sacks of sugar. To this day, he appears on a Cuban banknote cutting sugar cane with a machete in the fields."[25]

In Cuba, Guevara's death precipitated the abandonment of guerrilla warfare as an instrument of foreign policy, ushering in a rapprochement with the Soviet Union, and the reformation of the government along Soviet lines. When Cuban troops returned to Africa in the 1970s, it was as part of a large-scale military expedition, and support for insurrection movements in Latin America and the Caribbean became logistical and organizational rather than overt. Cuba also abandoned Guevara's plans for economic diversification and rapid industrialization which had ultimately proved to be impracticable in view of the country's incorporation into the COMECON system. As early as 1965, the Yugoslav communist journal Borba observed the many half-completed or empty factories in Cuba, a legacy of Guevara's tenure as Minister of Industries, "standing like sad memories of the conflict between pretension and reality".[26]
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