Motorcycle Diaries*

                The Motorcycle Diaries was a movie with many sad and inspirational messages. However, some of those messages seemed to be a little more prominent than they probably were in real life. Movies always skew the truth a little bit and this movie is no different. However, there were certain aspects of the film that did correctly allude to the real circumstances of the time by perhaps just glossing over them a little. There were three subjects that were either addressed or forgotten in the movie that the readings explained in detail one being the fact that this journey was not Che’s first traveling experience by any means, the second is the dictatorship that was in place during his time of travels, and the third being the issue of mistreatment of minors. All of these issues combined were all a small make up of what would eventually make Che the Che everyone knows him as today.

                Elena’s article addresses the travels of Che both before the adventures accounted for in the diary and also some of the adventures afterward and how they led to his legacy. The article also addressed what made him so intrigued by traveling as it was wrongly depicted in the movie. The Motorcycle Diaries film makes it seem as if this was Che’s first real traveling experience which was not true. Although there is one line in the movie in which Che asks his traveling companion if this is his first time leaving the country, making it obvious that it was not his first, the movie does not address the fact that Che had done quite a lot of traveling not only in his older age but as a young boy traveling and moving with his family often. Che was part of the middle class society that often interacted with the higher society so he was not a stranger to traveling or vacationing with friends and family like the movie showed when they stayed with his girlfriend in what looked like the country. The travels in his Diaries were during a time when there was a lot of travel and migration even though the movie made it seem almost as if they were of the few that were. It was Che’s love of travel and experiences he had as a child listening to his grandmother’s story of her father’s experiences in the Rosas dictatorship and their families housing of combatants from the Spanish Civil war that captivated him with travel and political issues making him the future Che.

                The article by Drinot covered the dictatorship that was in place during the time of Che’s travels accounted for in the Diaries. The dictatorship was run by Ordrias that gained power by basically riding the coattails of the failed predecessor. After the former failed government he took power by eliminating the competition and increasing the armies pay by 20% to get them on his side I suppose. He had three basic pillars in his government: 1. Rutheless but selective elimination of political opposition, 2. Liberal economic policies that benefited from a favorable international economic context, 3. Social reform aimed at the working and middle class. However, it is also these pillars that allowed and contributed to its eventual demise from rebellion and uprising.

                Lastly Zulawski’s article covers the issue of the mistreatment of minor during this era. This was an issue that the movie depicted when Che and his friend met the traveling couple looking for work that eventually got picked to mine for the day or however long the boss wanted him. Che was angered by their treatment, they looked thirsty, hungry and generally beaten down. This was a mere depiction of the much more harsh conditions the minors actually experienced. Part of the problem was the MNR that sided with the military instead of its workers. However, Zulawski’s article stated, “but with the Cold War policies gradually put a brake on the radical wing of revolutionary movement. Although the MNR initially favored alliances with the military and even the traditional parties, rather than the workers and peasants, sectors of their leadership eventually realized the importance of developing a mass base.”

                This movie, even though a little flawed historically, was very entertaining from a film perspective and a decent representation of the diaries of Che.