‘Hasta la Victoria Siepre’ (forever, until victory), said Ernesto Che Guevara. How Che’s influence to remaking ‘man’ to ‘turn around the world order’ helped to overthrow imperialism in Cuba and later having become a symbol in our current culture significant in defying the status quo. We can tap into Che’s energy to conquer our own obstacles, achieve big things and to live according to our own beliefs and achieving our own ideals!
‘El Che’, (Che meaning; ‘guy, friend’) Ernesto Che Guevara, born on June 14, 1928, would have been 89 today. Che’s legacy lives on as a symbol of defiance, justice and peace which is encapsulated in his ever-admired portrait, wearing a beret, with his far away gaze and wind blown hair.
Ernesto Guevara, known as Ernestito, was born in Rosario Argentina to his mother Celia de la Serna and father Ernesto Guevara Lynch.
As a child growing up, he was known to befriend all classmates no matter if they were rich, poor or of different ethnic background. He was a natural born leader, as observed by his 3rd grade teacher. Elba Rossi Oviedo Zelaya;
‘The children followed him around a lot in the schoolyard, he would climb up a big tree that was there, and all the kids stood around him as if he were the leader, and when he ran the others would follow behind him; it was clear that he was the boss’.
His natural tendencies toward leadership were obvious signs of his path ahead.
Ernesto himself was born into an upper-class family, but never held much importance of his privileges. During his childhood, he became asthmatic, and suffered terrible attacks on a daily basis. His parents applied many said ‘remedy’s’ but nothing quelled them as much as moving to another part of Argentina called Alta Garcia where the weather conditions were more favourable as the climate was dry and mountainous. His battle with asthma spurred his interest in Medicine in an attempt to help heal himself further, where he began his studies to become a doctor. Part way through his education, he was given an idea by a friend to take up an adventure in biking across South America with a friend on a motorcycle. This is where Guevara came to be inspired to write the ‘Motorcycle Diaries’ – his personal account of his travels. It was a pivotal moment in his life, where he witnessed the exploitation of fellow South Americans via U.S. capitalistic corporations and was utterly aghast at the treatment of these people, who complied with the corporations.
‘These people who watch us walk through the streets of the town are a defeated race…. Some give the impression they go on living because it’s a habit they cannot shake’. (1-Che Guevara)
Guevara, also concluded ‘I am not the person I once was. All this wandering around our America with a capital A’ has changed me more than I thought’. Guevara returned from trip to finish his education in medical school where he graduated as a doctor.
He soon left Argentina again and traveled back through south America once more, ending up in Guatemala where he met Hilda Gadea. She introduced him to exiled Cubans. He listened to their plights about the Batista dictatorship in Cuba and developed a close relationship with them. He went on to Mexico, he was introduced to Raul Castro and then his brother Fidel Castro, where he said in his diary;
’A political event was that I met Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary. He is a young, intelligent guy, very sure of himself and extraordinarily audacious; I think we hit it off well’. (1)
At this point, Guevara joined Castro in making plans to overthrow Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship over Cuba by organizing Guerilla attacks on the Cuban military and rallying peasants to join in the fight – to which they agreed. The people of Cuba who joined the battle, as well as Guevara’s Guerillas admired Che and his charisma in his ‘…willingness to confront death…’(3) for an ideal, which helped to mobilize them.
Although, some Guerillas were lost in battle, Fidel and Guevara succeeded, where they were in control of Cuba Jan 1 of 1959. Guevara became Minister of Industry for Cuba in Feb ’61. During this time, he
‘…continued the policies of nationalization and industrialization…diversifying Cuba’s economy by cutting back on sugar production and cultivating new crops. He insisted that all state-owned companies share their profits and that people work for ‘moral incentives’. (1)
Guevara went on to other countries to continue ‘to promote revolutionary movements around the world’(1) which ultimately failed. He met his death in 1967 in Bolivia.
But the people of Cuba, do not see his attempts and promoting revolution as failure; ‘Che Guevara did not survive his ideas, but sowed them with his blood…he couldn’t be at ease knowing children were subject to evil regimes…’ (Bus driver in Cuba, 4)
Cubans continue to revere Che, not only as a rebel or revolutionary – but as a Saint! He is considered a multi-purpose Saint where his soul is known to intercede on behalf of the individual for their plights – to do well on school exams (as he was intelligent and academic and believed in literacy and education for all), for health (as he had been a doctor), farmers reach out to him (regarding land reform). They have his picture hanging next to their crosses and rosaries in their personal home shrines.
Essentially, at this juncture in time ‘Everyone can have their Che’ (2). We may not need to overthrow a dictatorship, necessarily, but we alone can create the ‘Che’ we need to achieve our own ideals by tapping into the energy of Che. We can educate ourselves and forge alliances with people who will support what we want to do for a collective good. We can decide not to care what people think (Guevara was known for his ill personal hygiene and enjoyed the negative attention he got from it), we can become diverse in our abilities and work to help others as a result. We can draw upon the Spirit of Che for strength and fortitude – remembering his charisma to plough on and transcend adversity. And we can also follow some of his direct words:
“We must struggle everyday, so that this love for humanity becomes a reality.” – Che Guevara
“Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous that the true revolutionary is guided by feelings of love.” – Che Guevara
“The revolution is not an apple that falls when it’s ripe, you have to make it fall”. – Che Guevara
“The only passion that guides me is for the truth…I look at everything from this point of view.” – Che Guevara
“…try always to be able to feel deeply any injustice committed against any person in any part of the world.” – Che Guevara
“We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.” – Che Guevara
“Be realistic, demand the impossible.” – Che Guevara
“I don’t care if I fall, as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting.” – Che Guevara
“If you can find ways without obstacles, it probably leads no where” – Che Guevara
“The revolutionary spirit of my people, the feeling of fulfilling the most sacred of duties: to fight against imperialism wherever it may be – I once again state that if in my final hour finds me under other skies, my last thought will be of this people and especially of you..”
Receive an embrace with all my revolutionary passion….Che. (Farewell letter to Fidel Castro-Che Guevara)
Author Bio: Alessandra Aversa
Alessandra Aversa has recently re-kindled her love and passion for writing following the birth of her son in 2016. She is currently building up her writing profile. If you would like to contact Alessandra, her email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bodden, Valerie. Che Guevara Political Activist & Revolutionary.
Edina, Minnisota: Abdo Consulting Group Inc, 2011
- Che Guevara’s Influence on Castro’s Revolution. CGTN America, 2016. Newsclip, youtube
- The True Story of Che Guevara. History Channel Documentaries, 2016. Youtube
- Che Guevara – Full Rare Documentary, 2014. Youtube