HAVANA TIMES — Up until the present day, Che Guevara continues to be the personification of the tireless revolutionary who is idolized by many in spite of his violent actions. His execution in Bolivia on October 9th 1967 made him a “martyr”, something which had several key historic and cultural consequences, reports the dpa news agency.
– EAST-WEST CONFLICT: Che’s guerrilla armed forces roused the fear of “a second Cuba” in Latin America and of the Soviet Union’s increasing influence in the United States’ “backyard”. This led to a massive Washington-backed intervention in Chile and Nicaragua and to support the military dictatorships which plagued South America in the ‘70s.
– GENERATION OF ‘68 ICON: Che Guevara was present at all of the Generation of ‘68 protests, whether they were in Paris or anywhere else in the world. He became the role model of the student movements as a fighter in favor of socialist ideals and against capitalism, embodied by the US. His phrase: “Let’s be realistic, demand the impossible!” became a whole generation’s slogan.
– THE LATIN AMERICAN LEFT: A decade of Leftist governments in several South American countries began with Hugo Chavez taking power in Venezuela in 1999. Himself and Evo Morales in Bolivia (since 2006) always referred to Che as their role model. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) was created and Cuba wasn’t so isolated anymore. It began to receive oil from Venezuela and it sent doctors to South American countries in exchange.
– MYTHIFICATION: In spite of the fact that Che Guevara had killed people by execution and supported the persecution of people who didn’t think like him in Cuba, he is one of the most worshipped figures in the world still today. Whether its critics of globalization or at pro-peace protests, Che is synonymous with the struggle in favor of the poor and against oppression.
– POP ICON: On t-shirts, posters or on soccer great Diego Maradona’s arm, there isn’t another picture that has been reproduced so many times as that of Che wearing a beret and looking out at the horizon. Separated from his historic context, he became a symbol of a rebellious youth and has even been of use to capitalist companies to give their new products a revolutionary touch.