” I think, Che was not only the intellectual, but also the most complete person of our epoch.”
This is a short essay about Che Guevara's life. It was made in order to obtain a good grade for my Writing English class, and, because I had wanted to know more about this man. I decided to talk about him, because I think he is a perfect example of a man who never gives up, no matter what, that believes in equality for everyone and that is disposed to die, if he has to defend his ideals. Nowadays, Che Guevara becomes a legend. I am going to talk about his life, and how he died for the world deeply convincing in his thoughts. He reflected of his mission in this life like helping out others to be free and to get their rights back from oppressive governments, and even though of his failure, his ideals are still alive.
Ernesto Guevara was born on June 14th, 1928 in Argentina. His parents were members of privileged middle class. Elder Guevara engaged in a campaign to stop Nazi propaganda in the America. His mother was equally outspoken. Several times she had been arrested for her political activism and, like her husband, would always support her son in his revolutionary career.
When Ernesto was 2 years old, he turned asthmatic and his family had to move to the countryside, where his father tried to heal him teaching him sports like football, baseball, swimming, and rugby. During grade school Guevara’s decease forced him to receive much of his education at home from his parents. Che became interested in literature, philosophy and physical activities. Especially, he was fond of travelling. In fact, in 1952, he decided to travel through Argentina with a friend riding a motorcycle. In 1947 he entered to the University of Buenos Aires in order to become a doctor. In 1951, after taking his final exams from the university, he made a much longer journey: he visited Chile, where he met Salvador Allende, Peru, where he worked for some weeks in the San Pablo leprosarium, Colombia, where he was arrested but soon released, Venezuela, and Miami. He returned home with his absolute sure of one thing, that he did not want to become a middle-class ordinary doctor. He qualified, specializing in dermatology, and went to La Paz, Bolivia, during the National Revolution which he condemned as opportunist, because those revolution established proamerican government. From there he went to Guatemala, earning his living by writing archaeological articles about Maya ruins.
In Guatemala, Ernesto worked as a doctor in a health program. Suddenly, the American troops invaded Guatemala. In these days he became "Che". He got this nickname from some his Cuban friends in 1953. The most important thing of this trip was that he got to know Marx's theory. Guatemala’s government made him outlaw as a dangerous communist and he escaped in the embassy of Argentina, and two months later, went to Mexico. He arrived to Mexico on September 21st, 1954.
There, in Mexico-City, Ernesto met Fidel Castro, who convinced him to participate in the Cuban Revolution. They began to prepare for a revolution in the special camp, where they learned combat and tactic training. After few months, Fidel decided to invade Cuba. There were eighty-two men when they boated in the ship and secretly sail to the Cuba. They got land in December 3, 1956, but were assaulted by Cuban army and, unfortunately, only fifteen men survived. Castro’s rebels waited till recovering wounds in the mountains and then started to act. Country population supported rebellions by giving them food and new recruiters. They began to take some areas under their control and Castro carried out agrarian and social reforms that were hold by Cuban people. Che was one of the best and lucky commanders who won few important fights against Batista’s army. In addition, he served as the troop doctor. This civil war lasted for three years (1956-1959), and finally, on January the 1st, the rebels won. They entered to Havana, and dictator Batista fled to Dominican Republic.
Che Guevara became the second man in Cuban government after Castro. He got Cuban citizenship, and organized and directed the National Institute of Agrarian Reforms to carry the new agrarian laws expropriating the large landholders; ran Department of Industries and occupied President of the National Bank of Cuba. He negotiated and signed commercial contracts with the Soviet Union and others socialistic countries. When there was Caribbean crisis, he got bad attitude for the Soviet Union, because of Khrushchev’s decision to remove nuclear weapon from Cuba. He thought that USSR was on he wrong way using their principle of peaceful co-existing.
Soon, Che lost his interest in management of Cuban economy, because of some fails in the results, and in the end of 1963; his duties were limited to international relationships. He was like a “revolutionary ambassador”. He undertook government’s diplomatic tour visiting many countries and was sent to represent Cuba at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
However, revolution movement called Guevara, who tired of being political figure. It was better for him sneaking in the jungles with AK-47 than sitting at the bureaucrat’s table. He disappeared from social life and went to Africa trying to raise revolution forces. Regrettably, his African trip was unsuccessful. He couldn’t organize left forces there and was compelled to return back to America.
Che's final revolutionary adventure was in Bolivia. In April 1967 he illegally came to Bolivia with small group of guerrilla’s fighters. At the beginning, everything was good: there was organized strike of the mineworkers and rebels won several fights. Soon, CIA came to help o Bolivian dictatorship regime, and in the October Che’s group were seized and almost terminated. Che Guevara was wounded and captured. The next day he was executed. His body was hidden and only in 1997 it was found and buried in Cuba.
After his death, he was instantly transformed into an icon of the revolutionary commitment and heroism. He was type of man who persistently moves to the aim. His aspiration to life didn’t have the borders. Che Guevara was “a man of total integrity, a man of stoic and Spartan living habits”. Despite of his failures in economic and diplomacy, he served as a convincing symbol of the dedicated revolutionary whose actions were always in harmony and moral ideals. He died for these ideals.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. – Che Guevara. NY, 1989.
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