The Presence of Che

Photo Feature by Elio Delgado

HAVANA TIMES, August 29 – Some of us find Che’s farewell letter to Fidel or the melody “Las Américas” sufficiently emblematic to bring us to tears. The same occurs when we hear our children chanting the Pioneer slogan: “We shall be like Che” (all children in Cuba belong to the Union of Pioneers of Cuba).

For us, consequently, we find it paradoxical to see his image used in Cuba to commercialize products – everywhere from markets run by cuentapropistas (people authorized to set up small businesses) to stores owned and operated by the State.

The image of Che is constantly used on adornments of various types – key rings, shoes, T-shirts, bags, hats, berets, clocks, paperweights and drums… always sold in hard-currency: the Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), which is difficult for average Cubans to obtain.

It’s also interesting that we can find his face alongside the image of the Patron Saint of Cuba, the Virgin of the Caridad del Cobre; as well as on logos for Havana Club rum, Cohiba cigars, deities or attributes of African religions here, US jalopies from the 50’s and musical instruments.

He’s on everything, like the tag on a grand amalgam of souvenirs for tourists and other visitors. Seeing is believing!

Click on the tumbnails below to view all the photos in this gallery

4 thoughts on “The Presence of Che

  • Thank you for this albeit i am a bit late Not only did i meet him in 1960 i know why he is still revered Get over it people Its is what it is and he in gone

  • I beg to disagree. It is not commercialization, although I am sure that capitalists will call it so.

    It is the deep love that the people of Cuba and the world have for this Heroic Guerilla who helped Cuba achieve true independence.

  • wow–thank you for getting me to think about the commercialization of Che and why that might not be a good thing. i write that as i am sitting here in mission ks usa writing with my Che t-shirt i bought in Cuba on!

    thank you

  • He was all of that and more..of course those who are NOT cubans and those who do not support freedom will call him all manner of *&%*( However, its only because they love being owned and believe they are safe from having thier phone calls listened to and being under the Patriot act? By the way what is patriotic about slavery? This place is wonderful..and other than those whom i speak with often who have lived this rev and fought for it..know of what i speak

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