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Cuba: Ernesto Che Guevara

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Ernesto Che Guevara | Cuba | Americas

[Visited: January 2002]

Although Argentine and not Cuban in origin, Ernesto Guevara ("Che") has acquired an almost religious status in Cuba. After his role in the revolution and his functions in the post-revolutionary government, he was killed in 1967 in Bolivia by CIA agents and Bolivian police, and as it often happens this made him a martyr and hero for the Cuban people. His image can be found on the many books for sale in Plaza de Armas in Havana, in schools, homes, squares, on badges, fridge magnets, posters, and on the inevitable huge monument to his memory in Santa Clara.

Picture of Ernesto Che Guevara (Cuba): Che Guevara books in Havana

There he is, an enormous statue rising high above your head, with a rifle in his right hand and a firm look, always that firm look, to the horizon, to the future, to a better world. His motto, "Hasta la victoria siempre", shows his true revolutionary spirit. There are some of his texts outside on the monument, but more interesting is the small museum inside which tells the story of his life in detail. Next door is a simple, yet impressive room with a low, wooden ceiling, and an eternal flame, where Che and some of his revolutionary forces are resting. This is where they have found peace. A serene peace.

Picture of Ernesto Che Guevara (Cuba): Che Guevara statue, Santa Clara

His story is chilling enough, and whatever you think about his actions, he at least gives the impression of a very honest person, extremely truthful to his own beliefs and convictions. It is difficult not to feel sympathy for a person so faithful to his own beliefs. His history, background and character make him a very attractive icon for the revolution and indeed, he shows up everywhere to confirm the Cubans that there is no alternative to the system they have been living in for more than 40 years. It remains to be seen what he would have thought about the situation of the country as it is now.

Picture of Ernesto Che Guevara (Cuba): Che Guevara coffin
Picture of Ernesto Che Guevara (Cuba): Che Guevara statue, Santa Clara
Picture of Ernesto Che Guevara (Cuba): Rifle and hat of Che Guevara

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