Che Guevara – Man or Monster?

In October 1967, when 39 year old Ernesto “Che” Guevara was murdered in Bolivia (with the aid of the CIA), he was already a legend in Latin America and around the world.  che

Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna was born on June 14, 1928 in Argentina. He was brought up in a family whose political views veered left and was exposed to various political perspectives as a boy. In 1951 when he was in medical school, Guevara took a year off to tour South America on a motorcycle with his friend Alberto Granada. The goal was to spend the last few weeks of their tour in Peru volunteering at a leper colony. 

On tour through South America, Guevara was witness to widespread poverty, hunger, disease, oppression and disenfranchisement throughout the land. Being influenced by Marxist ideology, Guevara abandoned his studies and his land in pursuit of the emancipation of the poor people of the earth and viewed armed revolution as the solution to social inequality. 

In 1953, while Guevara was in Guatemala, he acquired his now famous nickname, Che. Because of his frequent use of the Argentine interjection of the word “che.” Che, is a slang casual speech filler used much like “eh” or “pal.”

In 1954 Che met Fidel Castro in Mexico. Castro was a Cuban revolutionary leader who had formed the 26th of July Movement and on their first meeting Guevara decided that the Cuban’s cause was what he had been looking to become involved in and became a member of the Movement. Although his intentions in the Movement was to be a combat medic, he also participated in guerrilla training. Guevara became an integral part of the rebel army and soon was promoted, by Castro, to Comandante (The only other ranked Commander besides Castro). 

During the Cuban Revolution, 1956-1959, and subsequent years, Che was feared for his ruthlessness and brutality. His discipline was beyond harsh. Executions were not unheard of. Many say that the brutality delivered by the hand of Che, in these war years, was a monstrosity. And that those actions are what define the man. 

There’s a lot of history in the years following the Cuban Revolution. My focus is on Che, the human being, the man, the humanitarian, the sympathizer of the impoverished and the Che who wanted to rid the world of inequality. 

I can’t say that I approve of the “monstrous” side of Ernesto “Che” Guevara. I can however, appreciate through understanding, the psychology of what drives a person to do what they do. Of course there is a certain psychology behind the actions of serial killers, pedophiles, sexual predators, or anyone acting cruelly out of pure hate and disregard. 

It’s my opinion that Che Guevara does not fall into those categories. And don’t get me wrong, I admire the views of the man and what he had hoped for and planned to accomplish for the people and not necessarily his execution of that plan. 


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