Today is the 40th anniversary of “Che‘s” (June 14 1928-Oct 9, 1967) capture and execution (Oct 9th) in the Bolivian mountains. After studying medicine in Argentina, and later traveling throughout Latin America, Ernesto Guevara met his destiny in Mexico and joined a group of young idealist who would come to overthrow the Batista regime in Cuba.
After helping win a revolution “Che” became Cuba’s National Treasurer, a bizarre position for a man who seemed mostly concerned with loftier notions of freedom and equality for all. Still, “Che” has a number of opponents, many of whom had to sufferer through his harsh and often inflexible treatment towards those he felt weren’t helping improve this world.
I’ve read a couple of biographies on “Che,” and while I admire him for having the courage of his convictions, and for being deeply committed to improving this world, I’m also bothered by how he (like many other guerrillas, and revolutionaries) was able to distance himself from the people closest to him in order to help “save” others. “Che” fought for people in distant lands whom he had no direct connections to, like Cuba, the Congo and Bolivia.
You can read more about the celebrations taking place today in places like Cuba, Argentina and Bolivia in an article from the BBC. The BBC has a second article today recounting the story of his capture and execution. There’s a whole wealth of information on him on his Wikipedia entry.
The Guardian has a great set of images of “El Che” from around the globe.
Image info here.