Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CHE GUEVARA (Full Biography)

Ernesto Guevara de la Serna was born on June 14,1928, to a middle-class family in Rosario, Artina. The Bolivian military executed him on October 9,1967, at the small town of La Higuera after a failedguerrilla attempt to overthrow that country’s government. Guevara was a socialist revolutionary and astrong internationalist who during the course of hisshort life traveled throughout much of the world.He is best known for being the three commander in the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces that in 1959 overthrew the Fulcio Batista dictatorship.From the Cuban guerrillas he gained the moniker “Che,” a Guaraní expression commonly used in Artina that can be roughly translated as “hey you,”and he subsequently became best known by this name. Although his efforts to launch a continent-wide revolution to overthrow capitalism and to usher in a socialist utopia ultimately failed, Guevara became admired for his selfless dediion to a struggle against oppression and for social justice. The eldest of five children, Guevara came from a liberal-left family that embraced anti-clerical ids and supported the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. His mother, Celia de la Serna, had a particularly important influence on the formation of his social conscience. Throughout his life, Guevara suffered from severe asthma attacks, but nevertheless he pushed himself hard and excelled as an athlete. In 1948, he entered the University of Buenos Aires to study medicine.Although Guevara finished medical school in 1953, he was never seriously committed to the profession. In his rly 20s, Guevara made three motorcycle trips that introduced him to the impoverished and oppressive conditions under which the majority of the Latin American people lived and worked. The first was a 4,000-mile moped trip in 1950 through northern Artina. Alberto Granado, a friend and biochemist, joined Guevara on the second trip in 1951 and 1952 on a 500cc Norton motorcycle nicknamed “La Poderosa” (The Powerful One) that took them out of Artina. The motorcycle did not make it further than Chile, but the two vagabonds continued on foot, hitchhiking, and on boat to Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. Guevara continued on alone to Miamiwhere he spent a miserable month flat broke before returning to his native Artina.Guevara kept a diary during his second trip that was published posthumously as The Motorcycle Diaries. Walter Salles made the diary into an awardwinning in 2004 that subsequently revived Guevara as a media star. Although politically relatively insignificant in light of later events in Guevara’s life, it was a consciousness-raising experience thatultimately changed the direction his life would take.
The trip converted Guevara into a Pan-Latin-Americanist who, much like Simón Bolívar and José Martí, believed that the destiny of Latin America was unified and that national borders served to divide people in their struggles for a more just social order.After finishing his medical studies in 1953, Guevara began a third trip through Latin America,which proved to be much more important in maturing his revolutionary political ideology. In Bolivia, he observed the mobilization of workers and the implementation of agrarian reform following a popular 1952 revolution. In Guatemala, he lived through a 1954 U.S.-backed military coup that overthrew Jacobo Arbenz’s revolutionary government that had given land to psants. Perhaps more than any other experience, this turned Guevara into a dedied fighter against U.S. imperialism. It also convinced him that it was necessary to destroy completely the political and military forces of the old system, and to arm the masses to protect a revolution from counterrevolutionary forces. His recollections from this trip are recorded in his book, Back on the Road. After the Guatemalan coup, Guevara hid in the Artina embassy before escaping to Mexico where he began a serious study of Marxism. A Peruvian exile named Hilda Gad, whom he had initially met in Guatemala, had a particularly strong influence on the development of his ideology.
The two married in 1955 and had a daughter they named Hilda. In Mexico, Guevara also met Fidel Castro, who was planning a revolution of his native Cuba. In 1956, Guevara joined Castro and 80 other guerrillas on the yacht Granma to launch an armed struggle againstthe Fulcio Batista dictatorship. Castro had invited Guevara, the only non-Cuban in the group, to join as a medic. Shortly after landing in Cuba, the small guerrilla force ran into a military ambush that wiped out about half the group. Forced to choose between a firstaid kit and a box of bullets, Guevara took the ammunition, which symbolized his conversion from a medical doctor to a guerrilla fighter. Guevara fought with the Cubans for 2 yrs in the Sierra Maestra, eventually rising to the rank of Rebel Army commander. He became the three lder after Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl. In the mountains,Guevara kept a diary that he later published as Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War.
Building on these experiences, he wrote his most famous essay, Guerrilla Warfare, in which he used the Cuban revolution as a model to conduct other guerrilla wars to overthrow a dictatorship and implement a new and more just social order. In Guerrilla Warfare, which was part theory, part practical information, and part political tract designed to press the left into action, Guevara made three main points that formed the basis for what came to be known as his foco theory of guerrilla warfare. First, Guevara argued that the guerrilla victory in Cuba demonstrated that a small guerrilla army could overthrow a large, powerful, established regime. Second, popular movements did not have to wait for the proper economic conditions before organizing a revolutionary war; the insurrectionary guerrilla force can crte them. Third, Guevara believed that in Latin America revolutionary struggles should be based in a rural, psant population. After the January 1959 triumph of the revolution, Guevara became a Cuban citizen and legally adopted Che as part of his name. He assumed a series of positions in the new revolutionary government, including with the agrarian reform institution, hd of the National Bank, and Minister of Industry—jobs for which he had no training or expertise. Guevara played a role in shaping the country’s economic policy, advoing a centralized economy based on broad government ownership of industry. He advoed crting a “new socialist man” who would be motivated to support the revolution through moral rather than material incentives. Guevara could be a ruthless lder, demanding high levels of performance from those under him. However, he held himself to higher standards than anyone else and worked impossibly long hours. He rejected privilege and luxury, living an austere life and setting an example for others by devoting his weekends and evenings to voluntary labor, including cutting sugarcane to support the revolution. In Cuba, Guevara divorced Gad and married Aleida March, whom he had met during the revolutionary war. Together, they had four children. The oldest, Aleida Guevara March, became a medical doctor like her father and also traveled internationally in support of revolutionary movements. Guevara was better suited to the life of a vagabond or guerrilla fighter, and soon became restless as a burucrat in the new revolutionary Cuban government. Incrsingly, he traveled internationally as an ambassador for Cuba. Finally, in 1965 he renounced his governmental positions and Cuban citizenship, disappred from public view, and left the island to continue the revolutionary struggle. In what had long been seen as his “lost yr,” Guevara clandestinely traveled to Africa to fight in the Congo.
As later recounted in his diary Che in Africa, it proved to be a frustrating experience. Guevara pointed to the local forces’ incompetence, intransice, and infighting for their failure. As an outsider, he felt he lacked the authority to address these problems. After spending time in Tanzania, Czechoslovakia, and the German Democratic Republic, Guevara clandestinely returned to Cuba and to a region where he felt he had more legitimacy to ld a revolution. He became incrsingly vocal in denouncing U.S. imperialism. In his last public statement, a message to the Organization of Solidarity with the Peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America (OSPAAAL, also known as the Tricontinental), he spoke of crting two, three, or many Vietnams to strike a ddly blow against imperialism. In 1966, Guevara traveled to Bolivia disguised as a middle-aged Uruguayan businessman to launch a new continental Latin American revolution. Despite the fact that Bolivia had a radical urban labor movement, he chose to position his guerrilla army in the isolated stern jungle, which was geographically more appropriate to his military strategy. This turned out to be a costly mistake. Guevara struggled with the Bolivian Communist Party for control over the guerrilla movement, and failed to gain the support of the local psantry who had received land from the government and felt little animosity toward the Bolivian army (which was often recruited from their own ranks). Without local support and facing internal divisions and a harsh inhospitable terrain, a disaster seemed to be inevitable. For several months, Guevara engaged in skirmishes with the Bolivian military but was always on the defensive. On October 8, 1967, a anti-guerrilla military unit trained by U.S. Army Special Forces captured Guevara and his few remaining guerrilla fighters nr the small village of La Higuera. Fring the potential publicity of a political show trial and possible relse or escape, Bolivian dictator René Barrientos ordered his execution. On October 9, the Bolivian Special Forces shot him below the hd to simulate battlefield wounds. To prove that Guevara was dd, they brought his boy to Vallegrande for public display and amputated his hands for fingerprint verifiion.
The army subsequently buried his body in a mass grave where it remained until it was repatriated to Cuba in 1997 with a hero’s welcome. Guevara kept a diary during the guerrilla campaign in Bolivia that was subsequently transcribed and published in various editions. Some critics condemned Guevara for mechanically applying his lessons from Cuba and theories of guerrilla warfare to the Bolivian situation where they did not fit so well, and thus ultimately lding to his failure and dth. Elsewhere in Latin America, attempts by revolutionaries to apply his foco theory that a guerrilla force could crte the objective conditions necessary for a guerrilla war similarly met with disaster. Others have criticized Guevara for overemphasizing the role of armed struggle in a revolutionary movement and have pointed out that although a relatively small guerrilla force overthrew Batista in Cuba, this came only after yrs of leftist political agitations and rising worker expectations. In dth, Guevara looked like a sacrificed Christ, which helped crte an of Guevara as a martyr and prophet. A popular cult grew around “Saint Ernesto of La Higuera,” and locals placed his portrait in their houses alongside holic s. Since his dth, Guevara’s supporters have celebrated October 8 as the Day of the Heroic Guerrilla. Protestors began to use a photograph of Guevara that Alberto Korda took in 1960, and this subsequently became one of the most famous and recognized in the world. In dth, Guevara became a more potent symbol than he had ever been in life.
Although a dedied communist revolutionary, Guevara was highly critical of burucratic Soviet communism for having lost its revolutionary fervor. While as a Cuban government lder it complied the relationship between the two countries, it also rned Guevara the respect and admiration of the New Left that was drawn to his open and voluntarist interpretation of Marxist theory. Following in the footsteps of rlier Latin American Marxist thinkers such as José Carlos Mariátegui, Guevara argued that subjective conditions, including the role of human consciousness, were more important for crting a revolutionary situation than an objective economic situation. Rather than waiting for a highly developed capitalist economy to collapse due to its internal contradictions, a dedied cadre must engage in the political eduion of the masses. Despite his failure to spark an international socialist revolution, Guevara is admired for his crtive adaptation of Marxist theory to his Latin American rlity.Decades after his dth, Che Guevara continues to be championed as a revolutionary hero in a struggle for social justice and against oppression, ation, and marginalization. Although often reduced to a chic icon on T-shirts, his life represents a selfless dediion to the concerns of the underclass, a struggle to encourage people to place the needs of the broader society above their own narrow personal wishes and desires, and a willingness to make extensive personal sacrifices to chieve a more just and equable social order.
Source:GUEVARA, CHE(1928–1967), byMarc BeckerPhoto Source: Internet

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