Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Che: Revolutionary Folk Hero

Folk heroes and heroines are those who embody the values of the culture they represent. These people make choices and take actions that improve the conditions of the world they live in. They possess inner strength and courage that allows them to ‘do the right thing’ at the right time – often a moment of crisis. And they can be on the right or the wrong side of the law, like Robin Hood who stole from the rich to give to the poor.

Here is a South American folk hero who was known for his 
socio-political convictions:

Che Guevara was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. Born in 1928, he had influenced the Cuban Revolution and before his death in 1967, had become a symbol of rebellion and was a global insignia of pop culture. 

As an inspiring doctor, he traveled across Latin America where he was exposed to a great amount of poverty and alienation. He believed what he saw was the result of a corrupt society. His remedy to cure capitalism, monopolismneocolonialism, and imperialism was a world-wide revolution. As a result, in the 1950’s he helped Fidel Castro and others overthrow U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. In time Guevara was promoted to second-in-command of the battle and played a pivotal role in the victorious two-year guerrilla campaign that deposed the Batista regime.     
After the Cuban Revolution, Che played many roles in the new government. He reviewed the appeals for those convicted as criminals during the revolutionary tribunals , instituted agrarian land reform as minister of industries, helped lead a successful nationwide literacy campaign, served as both national bank president and instructional director for Cuba’s armed forces and traveled the globe as a diplomat on behalf of Cuban socialism. 

These positions led him to play a central role on training the militia forces who repelled the Bay of Pigs Invasion and brought  the Soviet nuclear- armed ballistic missiles to Cuba which resulted in the 1962, Cuban Missile Crisis. Along with his success he became a proficient writer, composing a seminal manual on guerrilla warfare and a best- selling memoir on his youthful motorcycle journey across South America. In 1965, Guevara left Cuba but then was captured by CIA- assisted Bolivian forces and eventually executed.

Today Guevara remains a very present historical figure. He is collectively stayed in the imaginations of many biographies, memoirs, essays, documentaries, songs and films. As a result of his perceived martyrdom, poetic invocations for class struggle, and desire to create the consciousness of a "new man" driven by moral rather than material incentives; he has evolved into a quintessential icon of various leftist-inspired movements.

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