The True Story of Che Guevara
Che Guevara took a long-term motorbike journey along Latin America. As a young man from the upper-class family who studied medicine, Che Guevara and his friend faced extreme poverty. Ernesto Guevara came back home to graduate the college and decided to change the situation in Latin America. On December 24th, 1953, he went to Guatemala. There he met a woman Hilda Gadea, who soon would become his first wife. That was she who introduced Ernesto to Fidel Castro. The latter one was a lawyer who fought against the president Fulgencio Batista. Batista was thought to be an American puppet, while Castro was convinced that the USA is the biggest enemy of the world, and especially of Latin Americans. Castro was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his pro-communist actions, but Batista let him go in 2 years.
Born Ernesto, Guevara had several nicknames. At college, friends called him “chuncho”, which is “a pig”. This nickname referred to his illness. In August 1955, Ernesto took part in a meeting Fidel’s brother Raul Castro organized. That was the time the group of Guerrillas was created, based on the 26 July Movement. Mates started to call him “che”, which is “hey you” or “buddy” in Spanish, as he was the only one non-Cuban and the only medical in the group.
The early stages of Cuban Revolution date back to July 26, 1953. The attack was unsuccessful, and Fidel and Raul Castro were taken to prison. Under the broad political pressure, Batista had to free all the prisoners in Cuba, and the next stage of the Revolution started. Soon they bought a ship for 1500 dollars, which they called “Granma”. On November 25, 1955, eighty-two men, including Fidel, Raul and Che, left Mexico in direction to Cuba with the intention to overthrow Fulgencio Batista. As they landed, they started their way to the Sierra Maestra Mountains. They were met by the American soldiers and almost destroyed. On December 5, 1956, 17 survivors reached Sierra Maestra. There they had a support among the peasants, but the motivation of this support was mostly fear. The armed resistance was enriched by the propaganda with the help of the radio “Rebelde”, set up in 1958, so more and more people joined the rebellion. During 1957, many of them were executed for betrayal by Che Guevara; still, he was one of the best revolutionaries, and on July 12, 1957, he was promoted to commandant by Fidel Castro. Fidel got more and more popularity and great support in the mountains, which were under his control, while Batista lost his authorities and his army was weakening. By January 2, 1959, he left to Havana, so Fidel Castro took control over Cuba.
In 1960, the USA provided the sales embargo in Cuba, and in 1961 they cut ties with Cuba because of the ideology. As Castro came to the government, he promised that in 18 months there would be elections, but it never happened. He claimed himself a democratic humanist, not a communist first, but sooner being likely under Guevara’s ideological influence, he started promoting socialism, Marxism-Leninism, and became a communist. The elections never took place in Cuba and the only ruling party was the communist party.
The response of the US was building a powerful CIA base in Miami. The operation aimed to tame the rebellious government. It was headed by Felix Rodriguez. There were attempts to poison the leaders of Castro’s government, but they failed.
The government in Cuba was extremely authoritarian with repressions against those who did not support it. They took their direction to socialism, which they would reach through hard work and rejection of luxurious way of life. Che Guevara did not let his wife use his status of the minister and go by car to the places she needed, so she had to use a bus. He promoted the noble idea of equality of people and fought against capitalism.
The United States invested billions of dollars in Cuba, so that it was economically dependent on the US. The mines, electrical stations, television, and radio – everything was under the control of the USA. Che Guevara and Fidel Castro aimed to get rid of this dependence in preference of nationalization of the land and economy by creating national cooperatives according to the new land reforms. They produced their own currency as Che Guevara was the Minister of Bank. By August 6, 1960, Castro nationalized all the foreign-owned property. These steps raised the standard of living, but people were executed if they contacted foreigners, were not Roman Catholics, as it was the dominant religion, or had suspicious behavior. Thus, the nationalization in the context of Cuba was radical and repressive.
During that time, the President of the USA was Kennedy. He was advised to deal with the problem of Cuba and its leaders, as they were not only ideologically, but politically and economically dangerous for the USA and its influence in the world, particularly in South America. Guevara had an intention to spread his ideas throughout Latin America and to start the World War III in order to overthrow the evil capitalist enemy and set up the new socialist order. That is why the US tried to invade Cuba.
To continue with, Che Guevara went to the Soviet Union searching for help, support and protection. Nikita Khrushchev, the secretary of the party, sold the Cuban government old tanks and military facilities, but sooner, he signed an act, which claimed that the US did not have the right to invade Cuba or they would use missiles. Guevara considered this as a betrayal, so he went to search for protection in China.
Che Guevara understood that Cuba went out of dependence of the US, but got under the dependence of the Soviet Union, so the revolution was not over for him. He was sent to Congo to develop his struggle for socialism, but was not in need neither in Africa, nor in Cuba. During this time, nobody heard a word of him, so the US government decided he was dead. He was thought to be dead for a year. On the 30th October 1965, Guevara sent a letter from Congo to Castro, where he wrote that he had to say goodbye to his native land and to his mission in Cuba. He did not know that Fidel Castro would read this letter publicly. The outcomes where that everyone got to know that Che was alive, but his reason was to end up with the revolutionary work of Guevara and to demonstrate his loyalty to the people, so that they stop following the disastrous ideas and consider him as a leader, who was Castro officially.
Che Guevara was trying to reach socialism and to change the world order. He knew that the rest of Latin America was under the economical control of the United States, so his aim was to start the World War III and to create “Vietnams” everywhere in order to fight against capitalism and struggle for socialism. He called it the Liberation War. The idea was not the worst – to nationalize the lands and bring Latin America to its economic growth, but, in reality, he was not supported by his people. The standards of life were low and the US gave people opportunity to work even though the US trenched upon cheaper land and wages in South America.
As the war in Vietnam started, in 1965, Che went to Congo with his guerrillas to start an armed struggle. He was convinced that it did not matter where to start the struggle for socialism. There he tried to teach Africans to use the fire weapon, but he failed as many soldiers were killed and he actually was not in need of the local government.
Fidel Castro promised Che Guevara an armed struggle in Bolivia. The guerrillas came there with hope and in revolutionary moods, but they were disappointed to see that they were left behind. There was no provision, no weapons and even no animals. The peasants did not support them; moreover, he was unwelcomed in Bolivia.
On 19 March 1967, he met Tania (Tamara Bunke), an East German spy, who was also suspective KGB operative formerly committed to the communist party. She was the only link for guerrillas and outside world. She took a top position in the government and could provide the guerrillas with everything, starting from weapon and ending with provision. She joined guerrillas and took part in their Bolivian mission until she was killed.
Since the guerrillas did not find any support among the locals, they found people who would come with them and started their mission. They provided armed rebels in Bolivian tropical woods. American army, the green berets, created in the times of Kennedy, suggested their help for the local soldiers and trained them to fight in circumstances of the partisan war. There were many youngsters who joined the trainings due to the American propaganda of Che Guevara as evil.
In 1966, the guerrillas split into two groups and started their route. One group was caught very soon and destroyed by the trained soldiers; the other, in which Che took part, was found later. Ernesto Guevara was shot into his hand, but another guerrilla helped him. They had been keeping their way for several days, but soon were caught by Felix Rodriguez. He took Che Guevara to the local school house, where the holder Julia Cortez took care of him. She found him as a handsome man, not that black and evil as he was described.
The American government in Washington was informed that Guevara was killed in fight, so Rodriguez sent another message, but did not get the answer. It was 1967, when the Bolivian government ordered execution for Guevara, as he came to their land and killed their people. Felix respected Guevara. He saw a big drama in his life after he had asked Guevara, where he would go; if he was left and had got the answer, that there was no place to go. Rodriguez could not kill Guevara and ordered to do this to a Bolivian soldier. The last words were “You kill a man, but never kill ideas”.
The dead body of Guevara in the photo was an evidence of his death and his cut off hands were sent to Cuba. The photos were taken, because people would not believe that he had been killed. They buried his body in a secret unmarked grave, so that people could not come to honour the revolutionary. His body was found only in 25 years after his death.