Remembering Che Guevara

Yesterday, 9th of October all the world remembers the death of one of the heroes of the 20th century, Ernesto Che Guevara.

Revolutionary, Marxist, physician, author, political theorist. He had been many things. He had been a hero and he is actually a hero for millions around the world. He has become a symbol.

He was a prolific author; he wrote many essays and diaries, starting with the famous diary of his trip in South America, the journey that changed his life and ideas. He worked as a ministry in the new formed government of Cuba after the revolution; he encouraged literacy and working as a diplomat for the Cuban government. Then, he left Cuba to fight again against Capitalism and Neocolonialism. On one day of October, he was executed and he became a martyr.

That’s the story of everyone knows, the story we learn at school, or we saw in movies and we read in books. The problem with Che Guevara is that he has become something that is completely against his fights and thoughts. Of course, he is also an inspiration and a source of political antagonism for many activists or simply kids around the world. Nevertheless, he has become also an instrument of capitalism. Millions of shirts, key rings, ashtrays, posters etc… with the iconic portray painted by Jim Fitzpatrick are sold every day.

His figure has been idolized and transformed by popular culture in a hero that is willing to die for a cause. He has even became a radical chic logo!

However, as many of the symbols of our culture, he has been deprived of his original meaning and thoughts. He has become something to wear, as an icon on a shirt made in East Asia by some poor men and women or even children. All very far away from his beliefs.

He is timeless. However, Guevara was a man of his time. He acted following his ideas and beliefs that were soaked with the political situation of the 50s and 60s. Of course, we can draw inspiration by his strong will and ideas but we have to learn how to find our own ideas and struggle. We have to remember that Che Guevara is part of history as many of the heroes of the past. Therefore, we have to study his figure and analyze his enlightened ideas but also his negative and brutal aspects. He was not perfect. He made mistakes. We have to learn from his mistakes. From those mistakes we can built a better idea of anti-capitalism. Maybe in this way we can remember him properly.

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