Revolutionary Che

The film, Che Part 1: The Argentine, shows how Che and his group of guerrilla forces defeated the larger Cuban army and helped bring Fidel Castro to power. After watching the film and reading articles about the life of Che Guevara, it appears that this turned into a struggle of ideology in which Che was ready to give his life for. His resentment towards U.S. policy helped bring about his ideas of revolutionizing the world, not just Latin America, into a socialist state through a revolution by the people.

The use of guerrilla tactics by Che was extremely successful in the small, undeveloped Cuban state. Che outlines how his tactics worked in his own article, “Guerrilla Warfare: A method.” First there is the defensive stage, where the smaller forces slowly attack the enemy in small battles and running. Next, is what he calls the state of equilibrium. Here attacks are possible from both sides. Lastly, is when the revolution has won the hearts and minds of the people which allows them to overtake the major cities within the country. These three stages are clearly viewable in the film. Initially, Che and his forces are roaming the countryside and planning precise attacks on Batista’s army. While doing this Che is also taking in and educating the people. The second stage can be seen Batista’s army infiltrates one of Che’s camps and destroys it. The last stage can be seen as Che’s forces overtake the city of Santa Clara and then begins to head for Havana.

It is interesting that in his “Message to the Tricontinental Congress,” Che explains he is doing this because there is no other alternative to a socialist revolution. He believed the U.S. and other western powers were oppressing the underdeveloped countries of the world and would continue to do so. He frequently speaks of American imperialism and calls it the last stage of capitalism. This makes it evident that Che is beginning to fight an ideological battle. It seems hypocritical for him to argue that a socialist intervention from a foreign party, such as himself, is any better than a capitalist intervention in another state. In the film he is constantly speaking about fighting for the Cuba and its people. This was a cause that the Cuban’s should risk their lives for, but why? Batista was only being replaced with another dictator under the name of Fidel Castro, and indebted it to the Soviet Union instead of western powers. Che only seemed concerned with escaping the control of foreign powers, and not relieving the people of Latin America from oppression concentrated within their own governments.

Socialism and defeating what Che believed to be American imperialism were his main concerns. One can buy that he was truly caring for the people, but when only watching documentaries showing the man in a positive light it is easy to establish this perspective about him. This is his legacy however, as Eric Zolov states in his article “Between Bohemianism and a Revolutionary Rebirth: Che Guevara in Mexico;” ” Che remains for many Mexican youth, as well as for those of the generation of 1968, a symbol of international solidarity and anti- imperialist struggle an irreverent revolutionary who overcame his bohemianism while never repudiating his wanderlust spirit.” However, it seems saddening that Che did not visualize a revolution that brought people real freedoms. People need freedoms from all governments, especially the one closest to them.