Che Guevara Essay, Research Paper
Ernesto ?Che? Guevara
Che Guevara was the Argentine born Marxist guerrilla who helped oust the corrupt Cuban government and set up a communist system 90 miles from the US. Che under the leadership of Fidel Castro helped lead a small guerrilla band of soldiers to take over the country. After the old government was out Che helped Castro decide communism as the way to go for Cuba. He helped Castro try to quickly industrialize the country, set up social reforms to try, and make Cuba a better place for its citizens. Che supported the struggle against imperialism by taking bands of guerrillas to Congo and Bolivia to help with revolutions there.
Ernesto Guevara was born May 14, 1928 in Rosario, Argentina. He was born to Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna, two Argentines that were fairly well off at the time. At two years old, Che was diagnosed with asmtha, which could plague him for the rest of his life. His asmtha affected his family?s life, forcing them to move until they found a place where his asmtha could be stabilized. Che was home schooled until the age of nine because of his illness. Guevara took after his mother in that he was attracted to danger and he ended up with his father?s temper. Guevara did all right in school, but it wasn?t until he got to college that he started to shine.
At first Che wanted to study engineering at the University. After the death of his grandmother Che decided to study medicines instead of engineering. He was accepted to the University of Buenos Aires to study medicine. By college, his parents were separated, though still married, and Che became to come into his own. He worked part time jobs while he was in school to help pay for his needs. Che started to take weekend hitchhiking trips across Argentina. After awhile the trips started getting longer as he began to want to see more and more of Latino America.
Che was introduces to Fidel Castro, the young Cuban revolutionary, in Mexico City in 1955. After several hours of talking Fidel invited Che to join the guerrilla movement. Che accepted on the spot, he was to take on the position of being the group?s doctor. After receiving military training Che was quickly promoted as an officer in Castro?s ranks. In 1956 almost all of Castro?s group was arrested officially for breaking Mexico?s immigration laws, despite the media frenzy saying that they were communists revolutionaries planning an attack on Cuba. After everyone was eventually released Castro began working at a manic pace to get everything ready for the invasion. After some obstacles, the group was finally ready to go on November 25, 1957 eighty-two men loaded with equipment climbed aboard a tiny yacht and set sail for Cuba.
The fighting started off on very bad terms for the guerrillas. They missed the landing point and date, and a few days after landing they were attacked by the army and the group was highly disorganized. Fidel reformed his group, which then only consisted of 20 or so men. After awhile though, the guerrillas were started to have an effect all across Cuba. As the guerrilla army grew Fidel gave Che his own column and promoted him to commandarte. The two columns worked well and progress began to move more quickly. Within a year the guerrilla forces began setting up liberated territory in the mountains and moving out across Cuba. Fidel knew that if he could take Santa Clara, then the war would almost be guaranteed his. Santa Clara fell on January 1, 1959 not long after Batista had left the country. By the next day the whole island was under the control of the rebel forces.
Fidel setup groups of men in all the towns and cities he conquered to help keep law and order. The new government showed no favoritism towards either the capitalist or the communist at first. Guevara was appointed as minister of industry, and he started trying to go through with a rapid industrialization process. The idea behind this was to help quickly diversify the economy and help Cuba bring in income other than its sugar staples. The new government quickly started looking for a buyer for their sugar. Many believe that the new government was almost forced into communism because the United States cut off all relations with the new government, leaving only the Soviet bloc as a superpower that would support the new government. Once communism was decided as the way to go, many debates raged about how to start communism in a capitalist society. Guevara stated, ?Pursuing the chimera of achieving socialism with the aid of the blunted weapons left to us by capitalism?it is possible to come to a blind alley?(Perez-Stable 96). This debate raged on for many years after Guevara left the country, and there are still flaws in the way they did it to this day.
In 1965 Guevara resigned his position and disappeared from public site. He had gone to help the ?struggle against imperialism? around the world. First he went to Congo, now know as Zaire, to help with a guerrilla revolution going on in that country. After just eight months he left the Congo, unsuccessful, and returned to Cuba. A few months later he left for Bolivia to try and start a revolution in the heart of South America, hoping that the revolution would then spread across the entire continent. Che even had hopes that the United States would join the fight so that he could start his own South American Vietnam. In Bolivia, though, his forces made many mistakes he said they couldn?t make if they wanted to win.
On October 8, 1967, as Che and his guerrilla troops were traveling, when Bolivian Army Rangers led by Gary Prado Salmon moved in. They surrounded the guerrillas and the firing began. Che, wounded from a shot in his calf, lay concealed behind a tree. As Sergeant Bernard Huanca crept upon him Che told him, ?Don?t shoot. I am Che Guevara. I am worth more to you alive than dead.? (Anderson 733). Che was then taken captive and positively identified. He under went questioning by the Bolivian Authorities, claiming to have failed in his Cuban, Argentine, Bolivian, Peruvian mission. When questioned as to what his nationality may be Che replies, ?I am Cuban, Argentine, Bolivian, Peruvian, Ecuadorian, etc. . . You understand? (Anderson 735). In saying this he is saying that he represents the people. He later states that the state of the poverty is appalling and that he wants the people to have some hope, an optimistic view for the future, that soon improvements will be made.
Colonel Zenteno Ayoroa, under the watchful eye of the CIA, gave the execution order that ended Che?s life. As the man walked through the door to shoot him Che replied to him ?I know you?ve come to kill me. Shoot coward, you are only going to kill a man? (Anderson 739). After he was killed, his body was put on public display in Vallegrand, were many of the peasants claimed he resembled Jesus. After this his hands were chopped of and sent to Argentina for proper identification. He was buried near an airstrip outside of Vallegrand, but the exact spot remained a mystery for thirty years. His body was found in 1997 and moved to its final resting-place in Cuba.
Che Guevara inspired thousands of people to take a stand against imperialistic governments. He encouraged many people around the world to fight for the freedom that was rightfully theirs. He showed courage in that he died for what he believed in, the fight against imperialism. This courage is what made the Argentine born Marxist such an inspirational figure around the world. Che was a symbol of hope and a better life for the people of Cuba, and the world.
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