Che, Part 1: The Argentine took me by surprise. Although Professor Black described to the class that this was a “different” Che than we had seen in The Motorcycle Diaries, I was not prepared for his actions in this movie. Che was no longer meek, mild, and asthmatic. He was bold and a brilliant leader for the Cubans and his guerrilla army.
To a lot of people, his actions with leading an army could be seen as controversial. He was killing for freedom, essentially. But in his document addressing guerrilla warfare, he speaks of it as a method and “a means to an end.” He also says that is a war of the people with their full support and “is supported by the peasant and worker masses of the region and of the whole territory in which it acts. Without these prerequisites, guerrilla warfare is not possible.” All of these people are united not only by a common region but also by a common goal and future aspirations…freedom and fighting for what they truly believe in.
The three main points of his manual of guerrilla warfare are bold as well and go against most negative thoughts of building an army from scratch against another more powerful army with the intent of winning. The manual states that 1. Popular forces can win a war against the army 2. It is not necessary to wait until all conditions for making revolution exist, the insurrection can create them and 3. In underdeveloped America, the countryside is the basic area for armed fighting…All three of these points are words of a true leader who speaks for the people yet also helps them have their own voices.
Another reading I would like to comment on is his Message to the Tricontinental. I was slightly taken aback reading this because he so negatively and openly talks about the United States on a malicious level. He says, “the U.S. imperialism is guilty of aggression — its crimes are enormous and cover the whole world.” The points that he makes about the U.S. and imperialism are all somewhat valid, mentioning how the U.S. intervenes where they should not and are at political and economical climax- yet the level of hatred that he talks with is somewhat alarming being a U.S. citizen myself. Is it wrong that the U.S. intervenes to try and ‘make peace’ in a foreign country which they have no business in? Yes. Would I be angry as well if I were Che in this situation? Of course. But it is just difficult for me to sit here and read Che’s words about my country being a capitalist with a hard fist on all other countries problems. And anyway, Che isn’t even Cuban!