Che Guevara symbol ofstruggle

Rozh Pavilov.August 2006


Many young people wear Che Guevara t-shirts, hats, badges etc. For some people che is a fashion symbol. For many people he is a symbol of struggle. Tony Saunois book {Che Guevara symbol of struggle} has a lot of ideas about Cheís life and development of his political ideas, and how itís related to Cuban revolution.

†††† Many young people see Che as a heroic figure, I think that he is the bravest revolutionary who ever lived. This doesnít mean that he had the right program and he didnít always draw the right conclusions, other wise he would have seen his internationalist ideas become successful. Cheís life and ideas are related to todayís struggle for achieving socialism through out the world. In Latin America, we are seeing a massive revolutionary movement and many youth are involved in these movements for example in Chile this summer the school students demonstration against education cuts had banners placards and slogans of Che Guevara .This book is not like any other biography books on Che . The books that I have read about Che Guevara are all about his life style but never talk about how his ideas developed and donít have an analysis of Cuban revolution and lessons for todayís struggle against imperialism and capitalism..


A bohemian beginning

†††††† Ernesto Che Guevara was born on 14 June 1928,he came from a middle class background and he studied medicine in university to become a doctor. At university he came in contact with socialist ideas, he read Karl Marx, Fredric Engeles, Lenin and some of Jack Londonís novels. He travelled with his friend Alberto Granados on a motor cycle around Latin America. This journey changed his ideas completely as he saw the poor living conditions of workers and peasants around Latin America. As he wrote at the end of his motor cycle diaries {I am not I was before}which means he is not the person with the ideas he had. He saw the poverty of Latin Americans linked with United States policies . His ideas and thoughts changed as he was travelling through Latin America and his anger toward imperialism grew when he saw the workers and peasants living conditions through out the continent.


Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico and the July 26th movement

††††††† Che and his companion went to Bolivia during July 1953 there was a massive revolt of the workers and peasants. The uprising brought the radical government to power {Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario}. The miners and peasants were armed with a section of army however, the revolution wasnít completed with the new regime of workers democracy, and eventually the movement was defeated.

In Bolivia Che spent most of his time meeting political and radical people who were arrived from all over Latin America, he mixed with a lot of political activists and engaged in discussions with them. What he saw was a revolutionary process and had a huge affect on him, which it was for the first time in his life he touched the flame of revolution.

Events in Bolivia had affect on Cheís ideas but in Guatemala he got actively involved for the first time in his life. He worked as a doctor in a hospital and he met Hilda Godeaa an exile leader of the youth in the radical populist movement and she introduced him to a lot of leaders and activists, and gave him political books to study. Then he saw a number of Cuban exile he discovered the struggle against Cuban dictatorship for the first time.

Eventually he went to Mexico as a new activist; In Mexico he met one of the July 26th movement leaders Fidel Castro fighting the dictatorship in Cuba. Their first meeting was in 1955, and then Che joined the movement.

The July 26th movement was named to commemorate the day of an assault on Mocanda military barracks in Santiago in 1953 this was a mission carried out by a group of young people and they were mainly linked to Cuban peoples party it was a radical nationalist party, Fidel Castro was involved in that attack and his brother Raul Castro who was a member of communist youth.

††† Che based his ideas in peasantry and guerrilla warfare as a method of struggle to overthrow the capitalism. In December 1956, eighty two men from the July 26th movement went to Cuban coast by having sailed from Mexico the loading was a bit of disaster because they planned the journey to last in five days but it took seven days. They finally headed toward the Sierra Mountains, they got the first attack from the Cuban army which Che suffered a wound in the neck this was a phase of guerrilla war which they carried for two years and ended in January 1959. After Batista fled the country on New Year. The July 26th movement marched into Havana the capital of Cuba to be greeted by a general strike of the workers which the radio rebel called for to mark the end of dictatorship in Cuba. Millions of people took the streets, the dictatorship had fallen and the revolution set to be continued.

New Cuba

††† Revolutionary Cuba established agreements with USSR{soviet union} and Eastern Europe. Under Batista dictatorship, 50% of primary school age received no education at all, after the revolution it was available and free for all, students and teachers got organised in the factories and on the farms for that every worker and peasant could learn to read and write. The health system also developed and it was freely available for all, this victory in Cuba had a big affect through out Latin Americaís continent, workers, peasants and youth looked at Cuba as an example which aspired to emulate. The Cuban regime from the beginning was not a workers democracy,Socialists would characterise it as a deformed workers state , which means capitalism and landlordism were over thrown and replaced with a state owned planned economybut not controlled by the workers instead it runs by a bureaucratic caste and there is no democracy .

Che grew anger about how the bureaucrats controlled the power in new Cuba. Orlando borrego worked with che, and he took a brand new jaguar car which the former owner left it behind and he drove it around for a week. Che spotted him and ran to him yelling {you are a pimp, its pimps car not the one who represent the people get rid of it you got two hours} Che refused privileges for him self and lived frugal life as head of national bank he refused the higher salary which he entitled to .

†††† Che reacted to what he saw in the Soviet Union on the name of {socialism}on one visit he wasinvited to a dinner in government official apartment he had his dinner on a finest French porcelain during his dinner he turned around and said { the working class in here eats of the French porcelain ah ?}. When he went back to Cuba he grew anger toward the soviet union and the quality of the industrial supplies that sent to Cuba from soviet union he called it {horse shit}, when he was back in Cuba he suffered an asthma attack he got visited by a friend who just came back from soviet union and started to tell Che about what he saw in Russia Che interrupted him and said {I must tell you I donít have to listen to what you have to say because I already know all of that, is a pigsty I saw it myself } .

In Bolivia and death

††††† Che'sinternationalist Ideas had massive support in Cuba and through out Latin AmericaCheís influence on Cuba regime supported some guerrilla organisations in some countries, Che had massive support from young Cubans they went to meet him and sent letters to him pleading to fight in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Venezuela and other countries in Latin America , Che involved in assisting groups from Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela and Nicaragua some of Nicaraguan FSLN members such as Tomas Borge and Radolf Romeo, who were of Sandinista leadership went through training in Cuba .

In early 1960s che intented to developing the revolution by guerrilla method in Latin Americain particular he hoped for a revolutionary upsurge in his home land Argentina. Guerrilla struggle started in Argentina in 1962 by Eje`rcito Guerrilo Del Pueblo {peoples guerrilla army } with its massive urban working class in Argentina it was the least applicable country to launch a guerrilla war. It was a disaster the group slaughtered which included two of Cheís closest people who che worked with, the guerrilla struggle got defeated internationally and Che decided that he has to go back to the battle filled to carry his anti imperialist and anti capitalis tideas internationally.

††††† He left Cuba to Congo and left a letter to Castro he wrote {I am not sorry that I leave nothing material to my wife and children I am happy its that way I ask nothing for them, as the state will provide them with enough to live on and to have an education} he finished his letter with his famous quote which become a battle cry for youth through out the world {Hasta la Victoria simper} {always until victory}.

††††† After Congo he went to Bolivia in 1967 he thought of igniting revolutionary movement through guerrilla campaign, Che didnít get support from the communist party {PCB, after a month of fighting, the guerrilla force was isolated and got set back after set back, no support or communication from Cuba, Cheís small force was in a battle against 1500 Bolivian army and they were working with CIA they tracked his force down.

On 8 October 1967, he and his guerrillas were captured near a village of la Higwera and next day he was interviewed for 45 minutes then his murder ordered by a Cuban born CIA agent Felix Rodriquez he lay bound hand and foot next to the bodies of two dead guerrilla fighters, when asked are you Cuban or Argentinean Che replied {I am Cuban, Argentinean, Peruvian, EcuadorianÖ.etc you understand } . He was executed at the age of 39and buried in a secret grave his executioners cut his hands after his death and sent it back to Cuba as proof of his death.

Che believed that guerrillaism is a method of struggle against capitalism and imperialism and for the achievement of international socialism. Cheís ideas did not represent a full understanding of socialism , however toward the end of his life he began to draw conclusions that the bureaucratic regimes like Soviet Union and Cuba didnít represent the socialism he was fighting for but tragically he was executed.

††† The spirit of a heroic commitment to struggle against capitalism has been bequeathed to new generations, his example still inspire many struggle to over through capitalism and fight for an alternative. Socialists see Che as an honest, heroic revolutionary they did kill him but they never ever could kill his ideas against oppressions, poverty , capitalism and imperialism through out the world.





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