Che- The Film

Che Guevara’s portrayal in this week’s film, Che, was quite different than that of The Motorcycle Diaries. Instead of depicting Che as a compassionate and naive young man on a journey, he was represented with a heroic warrior image, fighting to end injustice in Cuba. Upon meeting Fidel Castro, Che agreed to participate in the July 26th Movement, an organization intending to overthrow Batista’s United States’ backed Cuban government. In between several scenes of the film, Che is interviewed by an American woman with questions on his role in the Cuban Revolution. ¬†There are also scenes of Che speaking against United States imperialism and involvement in Latin America in front of the United Nations. One goal of these scenes like these is to show the political side of Che; there was more to him than just a doctor who became an expert on Guerrilla warfare. It is nice to see a film that can somewhat shed light on the negativity of America’s imperialism and capitalist-supremacy government.
As Che and Fidel Castro’s men sailed into Cuba, it was noted that only 12 of them would live to see their success. From that point on, it was obvious guerrilla warfare and revolution were going to be the two major themes of the film. The men sailing in with Che and Castro were not the only ones to participate; they were often seen recruiting new members to fight with them. According to the article on guerrilla warfare, in order for guerrilla warfare to be successful, the peasant and working class must also be willing to participate (Ocean Press). On several occasions in the film, Che was seen talking to Cubans who were interested in joining their side, stressing the importance of not only ability to fight, but also willingness to receive an education. This may lead one to wonder if it is ethical to fight oppressors with violence. The article suggests it is unavoidable since the oppressor will do anything possible to stay in power. After seeing the film, it is hard to imagine liberation in Cuba without citizens standing up and participating in guerrilla warfare.
As mentioned early in the film, Che’s struggles would ultimately end in a successful revolution. Eric Zolov’s work on Che gives insight on factors that ultimately led to his participation in the revolution. While in Mexico, Che began having a dislike for American imperialism. Not only did he disagree with ¬†United States imperialism, he did not like the their use of Mexico for capitalist gains after World War II (Zolov, 250). He was highly critical of industry in Mexico; it was there to only benefit the United States (256). Because the United States sees capitalism as morally correct and beneficial to themselves, they use their power against those who believe otherwise. Once Che met Fidel Castro, his beliefs on this matter carried over to help in his participation in the Cuban Revolution. As seen in Che’s many speeches in front of the United Nations in the film, he believed in a very different form of government than the United States. His experiences in Mexico and other Latin American countries opened his eyes to the negativity of capitalism and its effects; exposing these flaws ultimately led to a revolution in Cuba and his execution while attempting to liberate Bolivia.