Che, Part 1

In Che, Part 1, directed by Steven Soderbergh, Ernesto “Che” Guevara allies with Fidel Castro in order to attain a total Latin American revolution. In the declassified notes The Death of Che Guevara: A Chronology it is stated that “Guevara wanted to export the Cuban Revolution to different parts of Latin America and Africa,” (Kornbluh 5). In the film, Guevara and Castro begin to gather troops in order to form their columns of guerillas. Guevara hoping, that once the Revolution in Cuba is accomplished, he will use his guerilla tactics in hopes that he will take revolution to other countries of the world. Guevara’s outlook on revolution and guerilla warfare are accurately portrayed in Soderburgh’s film.
In Guevara’s Guerilla Warfare: A Method, Guevara points out that certain situations must be present in order for revolution to take place. There are many things mentioned in his article that are carried over into the film. Guevara writes, “ the defense must be armed so that the popular forces will not merely become recipients of the enemy’s blows,” (Guevara 6). In the movie, Guevara would not let members join the cause unless they had a weapon to defend themselves. Guevara also emphasized the need to educate the people. In the film, Guevara wants everyone to read and write, because those that are uneducated are easily swayed. He writes that “the peasantry is a class, that because of the ignorance in which it has been kept … requires the revolutionary and political leadership of the working class, and the revolutionary intellectuals,” (Guevara 3).
With guerilla warfare timing is everything. Guevara writes that “we should not fear violence, … but violence should be unleashed at that precise moment in which the leaders have found the most favorable circumstances,” (Guevara 5).  Guerilla warfare, is a warfare that, may not have many in number, but makes every blow they deal one that is effective.
After Guevara is successful in Cuba, he leaves to start revolutionary action in other parts of the world, like Bolivia. Because of Castro’s support of Guevara, Castro was “accused of ‘harming the communist cause through his sponsorship of guerilla activity,” (Kornbluh 2). Guevara’s ideas never gained popularity in Bolivia like they did in Cuba, and because of this his revolution never succeeded there. The United States trained Bolivian officers to kill Guevara. They were successful in capturing him, but before he died he said, “I know you have come to kill me. Shoot, you are only going to kill a man,” (Kornbluh 11).  In Castro’s eulogy he tells the United States the same thing. They have only killed a man, and “they are mistaken who believe that his death is the death of his ideas, the defeat of his tactics, or the defeat of his guerilla concepts,” (Kornbluh 5). This was the hope of Walt Rostow who wrote that “in the Latin American context [Guevara’s death] will have a strong impact in discouraging would-be guerillas,” (Kornbluh 13).
It is not surprising that the United States wanted to keep everything top secret. They chose not to tell the world that Guevara was murdered for they feared “a trial would focus world attention on him and could generate sympathetic propaganda for Che and for Cuba,” (Kornbluh 10). This is just like guerilla warfare. If the truck that guerillas blow up is publicized as an accident, there is no attention focused to it. Guerillas without focus and attention from the masses are not successful.