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Ernesto Guevara who was born in Argentine in 1928 was the former head of the Cuban revolution in 1959 and was assassinated in Bolivia in 1967. For socialist people as well as lefty’s parties Ernesto Guevara is nearly a sacred person. His pictures not only decorate the rooms of people with socialist attitudes. Nowadays a great number of young people have pictures of the “Commandante” in their rooms or even wear t-shirts with Guevara on them without even having any Marxist ideas. Che has become an example for all those, who are not confident with the globalization. The French author Jean Paul Sartre even called Che: “The most complete man of our time.”
His opponents entitle Che as a murderer and an anti-democrat. They refer to his assassinations of political enemies after the Cuban revolution.
I want to discuss the question weather Guevara was a hero or an anti-democrat and a murderer who deserved to die?
Che Guevara was the son of a wealthy family and studied medicine in Argentine. He was always very interested in other countries which lead to his passion for traveling. During his voyages as a teenager in South America Guevara got in contact with severe poverty. This voyages changed his entire character. He became a strong Marxist and started to believe that the poverty problem in South America could only be solved with a Marxist revolution.
During the Cuban revolution Che developed a strong passion for violence and weapons. Among his soldiers he was known as somebody who would punish every single mistake. Deserters did not have a chance against Che. They were followed and assassinated by the “Commandante” himself.
Che also developed a strong hate against the United States. In his opinion they were the reason for the poverty in South America. “Our every action is a battle cry against imperialism, and a battle hymn for the people’s unity against the great enemy of mankind: the United States of America”. In fact Guevara did not accept any negotiations with the United State. When Castro tried to tranquilize Cuba’s relationship with the United States, Che destroyed Castro’s efforts with populist speeches against imperialism and against the USA. Guevara had the opinion that it was not possible to have a peaceful relation with countries that have other ideologies. During the Cuba Crisis Che even said that he would have launched the rockets and sacrificed the life of countless civilians, if he had the power over the atomic rockets which were given to Cuba by the Soviet Union.
After the Cuban revolution Che assassinated about 80 people, who were considered as enemies of the revolution. A lot of other “enemies” were imprisoned. Che did never attend the trials. In his opinion one could not make an objective decision about a person that one has seen and listened to before. After the trial all necessary notes were given to Che and he then took the decision. Che always took his decisions alone and never discussed about them with others who were on the trial.
Supporters of Che see him as a selfless person, who was willing to sacrifice his own life in order to liberate those who were exploited by ruthless dictators. Guevara did not have to go to Cuba and risk his own life. He was the son of a rich family and he studied medicine. He could have worked as a doctor and enjoyed his life. However his solidarity was great for those who needed him the most and who were not able to help their selves. Even after the Cuban revolution Che did not think about retiring as a revolutionary and enjoying the power that he has gained like Castro. Guevara went to Africa and later to Bolivia where he was finally captured and assassinated.
Guevara also had great respect for his enemy. When he captured hostile soldiers he never tortured them in order to get information out of them. He treated them like human beings and when they were wounded Che even provided them with medical aid. The way Che treated his enemies on the battlefield was so impressing that even hostile soldiers started to believe in Che and joined his guerilla army.
Guevara was a very severe leader. He demanded great discipline of his soldiers. However Che never demanded anything of them which he would not demand of himself. They had to march through the jungle for hours and they even had to sleep in the jungle. Their supply with food was not good enough in order to satisfy the need of every soldier. Che was always the first one who passed his food to others. While his soldiers were sleeping Guevara was awake and thought about the tactics for the next day. Although Che suffered from severe asthma he never missed a battle with the enemy. In fact he was the one who faced the greatest danger because he was always in the first row when they attacked the enemy.
Che was always ready to sacrifice his life for his soldiers. When one of them was wounded he did not let him lie on the ground and be captured by the enemy. Che tried to save him although this could mean that both of them would die.
It is very difficult to say weather Che was a hero or just a bloody tyrant. On the one hand political prisoners were punished by him very severely. On the other hand Che treated hostile soldiers with great respect and even provided them with medical aid. Guevara was a person who believed devoutly in his ideas and in the way he saw the word. This might be the reason why he executed many political enemies after the revolution. He was afraid of a counter revolution like the one in Guatemala in 1954 were president Arbenz was overthrown with the help of the CIA and many political enemies, who were not imprisoned. For Guevara the success of the revolution was above everything including his life and especially the life of others.
I think that Ernesto Guevara was a very ambitious person, who was looking at the world from only one side. He only believed in his own opinion and divided the world into allies and enemies. However his political views were utopian.
I think that one has to accept that Guevara has reached a lot for the poor people in South America especially for the Cubans, whom he liberated from the evil dictator Batista. Nevertheless Che was blinded by his strong Marxist ideology which prevented him from realizing necessary economic reforms in order to stabilize the Cuban economy, which still has to suffer from the wrong decisions made by Castro and Che. However the trade embargo of the United States also worsens the Cuban economy. In conclusion I would say that Che was a very brave person who sacrificed his live for the exploited and his believes, which however were very utopian and this lead to the death of innocent people who did not fit into his Marxist ideology. Guevara was a brave soldier and a great liberator but as a politician he failed.
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