The Life and Legacy of Ernesto “Che” Guevara
Ernesto “Che” Guevara was a prominent Argentine rebel who was well-known for his role in the Cuban Revolution. His murder in 1967 cast an example of a hero who painfully sacrificed his life to serve the poor by fighting governments.
Depending on what angle you view history from, Che Guevara can be considered a villain or a hero. To help you decide, we present the biography, revolutionary exploits, death and legacy of Che Guevara.
He was born in Argentina on June 14, 1928 as “Ernesto Che Guevara”. His birth occurred at Rosario, Santa Fe. Guevara was the eldest son of “Ernesto Guevara Lynch” and “Cecilia de la Serna” The couple brought forth 5 children. Guevara’s revolutionary journey traced back to his childhood days when he gained fair knowledge about political systems, especially Marxist ideologies. He grew up and lived with a leftist mentality.
Early Life of Che Guevara
From the outset, Guevara developed an insatiable desire in reading books. In fact, he utilized his childhood days to learn more about great revolutionaries and political actors such as Karl Marx, Alberta Camus, and the like. As a young man, Guevara was also very active in athletics.
His Education at a Glance
Guevara topped up his high school education by enrolling for a degree in medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. His college education became a big part of his formative years.
While he was still a student, Guevara went on a voyage to Northern Argentina. His 4500-kilometer trip in 1950 didn’t end there. For 9 months, Guevara and a friend (Alberto Granado) journeyed across South America, using a motorcycle to cover 8000 km.
Guevara didn’t remain the same after embarking on his continental trips. The Journey drew his attention to the plight of exploited poor people and economic mismanagement. Deep within the heart of Guevara, the messy situations were a call to duty. Guevara took time to compile his trip experience into a book titled “Motorcycle Diaries”. It gained popularity and topped the New York best-selling books.
Life after School
In 1953, Guevara completed his studies and acquired his medicine degree. He decided to embark on more adventures. The trips opened his eyes and transformed him to a capitalism abortionist. He impatiently jumped into politics with radical ideologies. He gained roots at home country at home and abroad.
In 1954, he worked in a hospital in Mexico City. As a brainy doctor, Guevara spoke to prominent universities about medicine. While he practiced medicine, Guevara was still deeply bothered about political exploitation of the poor and the less privileged in society. Consequently, by 1955, he had met with a Cuban Revolutionary (Fidel Castro). The two partnered to eliminate imperialist governments in the region.
Guerrilla Actions with Fidel Castro
Che Guevara became highly convinced that revolution was the fastest solution to the woes of South Americans. He ditched his medicine career for full time rebellious actions. After witnessing for himself the removal of Guatemalan leftist government by a CIA intervention, Che Guevara became very thirsty to spark revolutions.
Fidel Castro and Che Guevara shared similar revolutionary ideas. In 1955, Castro and Raul were developing plans to remove Fulgencio Batista from office. Castro and Guevara mobilized small troops and violently shook the Cuban government in December 1956. Guevara was present during the assault; he miraculously survived the bloody attack. Guevara mastered military tactics and guerrilla warfare.
Months of repeated attacks continued to engulf Batista’s government and loyal troops of Castro and Guevara. To increase their weapons, their troops raided military bases of the government army. They seized more arms and later took control of some territories. Land resources were equally apportioned to the masses. In return, many peasants volunteered to join Guevara and Castro to fight Batista’s government.
In an attempt to scare others, Batista began to openly execute captured criminals. This rather multiplied the guerrilla forces of Castro. By 1958, Batista’s army was degraded by Castro and Guevara. In January 1958, Castro took charge of the Cuban capital, Havana. Guevara then became a commander who dealt with war criminals.
Che Guevara time as Minister of Industries
Guevara was appointed as Minister of Industries in Castro’s government. Once he had the power he so much yearned for, Guevara instituted changes. He did much to transform Cuba into a communist state. He stressed on the importance of education. He was credit for building schools and lifting literacy numbers from 60% to 96%. In short, he achieved a lot
Capture and Death of Che Guevara
When Che Guevara was done helping Fidel Castro to reshape the political history of Cuba, he gave up Cuban politics and went to influence revolutionary actions in Africa as well as South America. Unknown to him, his foreign interference numbered his days. When he secretly entered South America, Bolivia, in an attempt to cause a political uprising, it became a regrettable idea. On a hot afternoon of 8th October 1966, he was captured by the Bolivian Army and taken to a school building in La Higuera, Bolivia. According to close witnesses to his capture, Guevara’s final looks were sorrowful in that building he was kept; he had torn and dirty clothes, unkempt hair and limbs were tied up.
Death orders came from the highest Cuban authorities. On the other hand, even though Guevara was a strong critic of America, the U.S government didn’t support his instant execution. They wanted him for interrogation. Bolivian leaders were afraid that Guevara might win the sympathies of people if he were to be tried in court. Truth be told, Guevara himself had ordered and killed many people, including his fellow citizens. Bolivia failed to spare his life.
One American spy (Felix Rodriguez) played a key role in the capture of Guevara. According to his narration, Guevara wished that he wasn’t even captured alive. The following day after his capture, Sergeant Teran, acting under orders from above, fired shots at close range and killed 39-year-old Guevara.
Legacy of Che Guevara
Guevara left a strong legacy of communism. Many people have described him as a fearless revolutionary leader and a martyr. The site of his capture and execution have now become tourists’ centers. The political principles of Che Guevara has been termed as “Guevarism”. Statues have been built in Cuba to honor his legacy.