motorcycle diaries -)

Katie Beeler

Motorcycle Diaries

The film Motorcycle Diaries about the journey of Ernesto “Che” Guevara and his friend Ernesto around South America during 1950’s shows the young Che’s beginning motivations for representing and fighting against poverty and suffering. The social changes that Guevara would later fight for are represented in the film. Che’s support of the Peronist movement can also be seen in his struggle with seeing first hand the social injustices that were happening all over Latin America.

In Eduardo Elena’s “Point of Departure: Travel and Nationalism in Ernesto Guevara’s Argentina” Elena discusses exactly what the Peronist movement represented. He refers to the basic ideas of Pêron as a reworking of the nationalist movements during the 40’s and 50’s. The ideas sought to unite both the “visible” and “invisible” people and land of South America. This unification would allow social justice to take place not just with the rich and upper classes, but allow for the working and impoverished people to gain the same social respects as their counterparts. In the film, Che recognizes these social problems in almost every stop during the film’s journey. The couple that unable to get decent work because of their affiliation with the wrong political party, the leaper colony that lacks the medical attention it deserves, and the numerous scenes of the working class around the continent all represent the Peronistic cause that Che would later fight for.

Paulo Drinot’s writing “Awaiting the Blood of a Truly Emancipating Revolution” states that Guevara saw revolution as “people capable of emancipating those who can not emancipate themselves.” His idea about revolution goes hand in hand with the Peronistic cause in Latin America. For nationalism to occur and further create a united Latin America, people like Guevara from the middle and upper classes had to recognize the social problems of the less fortunate and speak for them. In the film it is clear that the indigenous people, the poor, and the ill had no one to speak for them. There was no one fighting for their rights and their needs and Guevara sees this, especially in the scene where he encounters the couple in Chile that has no other option than to work in the dangerous mines to survive.

The underlying theme the film seemed to portray about Guevara was the humanitarian ideology that he represented. At the core of his personality was the calling to unite people and not just in a nationalistic way. Even upon review of a mentor and friends writings that he thought were “trite” he was brave enough to establish that the man’s talents shouldn’t be wasted but put to use helping others. He was also unable to spend his birthday separated from the leaper colony and risked his life to show that he was one of “the people” regardless of his health or others. The humanitarian principles of his life in the film build to support his later political accomplishments.