Born in 1928 in Rosario, Argentina, Ernesto “Che” Guevara was a famous revolutionary, physician, author, guerilla leader and a diplomat. He was gunned down in 1967 by CIA-aided Bolivian soldiers. Know best for his famous motorcycle trips and his historic role in the Cuban revolution, the Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara’s stylized visage is a cool symbol of rebellion. Che is regarded a global icon in the popular culture. What exactly made Che an iconic figure? Well, let’s look into top 10 reasons to believe in Che Guevara.
10. He was a great traveler:
Since his early days at the college of Buenos Aires where he was studying medicine, Che Guevara had been an ardent traveler who liked picking his bike with a motor engine, later a motorcycle, and went about travelling to satiate his hunger of looking around the world. He is best remembered for the famous journey he went on along with his friend Alberto Granado where he discovered the dire economic conditions in then Latin America. Only a traveller can understand the world, not an armchair expert.
9. Che was a geek:
No matter the type of impressions we may have about Che Guevara and his later years, in his youth Ernesto was quite a geek. He was a very good chess player who appeared in many local tournaments besides being a great student. His favorite subjects at school included mathematics. Che Guevara as a geek can be a great example for many students worldwide today.
8. He had a vision beyond boundaries:
We know Che Guevara for his revolutionary role in Cuba. We also know him for his assistance to Fidel Castro in overthrowing Fulgencio Batista in Cuba. But what we don’t understand is that he did all this selflessly. Born to a well off family in Argentina, Che never became a citizen of Cuba yet spent the major part of his life as a Marxist revolutionary fighting for the rights of Cubans. He was not hungry for power or position but cared only for the rights of common people, though the way he took was that of armed struggle.
7. He lived for the poor:
He may have become a brutal revolutionary in his later years but Che Guevara was initially very soft at heart and was gravely moved by poverty and developed a special sympathy for the poor and downtrodden. He felt that this extreme poverty in Latin America was unjust which forced him to devote his life for the betterment of the poor which the biggest reason he gave up on practicing medicine and became a revolutionary.
6. A doctor – Che:
Che Guevara studied medicine and graduated with a doctor’s degree from the College of Buenos Aires in 1953. Doctor Ernesto Guevara, as he was known then, Che was especially interested in treating Leprosy. Specializing in the study of Leprosy, Che travelled to Peru’s leper colony to observe and search more about the study. He also made trips to Colombia, Venezuela and Miami. It was in these trips that he inclined towards Marxist ideologies.
5. Che was trained guerrilla warrior:
Ernesto Guevara was in Mexico and it was here in a farm where Che along with some other revolutionaries received the advanced training in guerrilla warfare for a Spanish Republican Army Captain. It was here in Mexico where he received the nickname “Che”. Che and Castro were arrested by Mexican authorities but were soon released. The plan for the Cuban revolution had been framed.
4. Che was anti-US:
Here’s another reason to believe in Che Guevara if you too are sick of the American ideologies and suppressive policies. Che Guevara who was totally moved by the poverty, hunger and diseases in Latin America, sternly held the capitalist exploitation of Latin America by the United States responsible. This was the reason why Che tied with Fidel Castro to overthrow the US-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in Cuba.
3. A great orator against segregation:
In the year 1964, Che travelled to the United States to deliver a speech to the United Nations in New York. Being a fearless and single tracked mind that he was, Che in his speech condemned the United States for its racial segregation policies. He condemned the US saying that it kills and discriminates against people for the color of their skin and met out a very unfair treatment against the black. This speech made Che a twig in the eye for America.
2. Single minded attitude:
Some may call him a murderer, a shrewd man who presided over mass executions without blinking an eye or paint him in a horrific manner but the fact is that he did not blink an eyelid when he gave up his medical practice for armed struggle. It was his single minded attitude that he never looked back once he held the gun in his hand. He demanded the same commitment from all his soldiers and wanted them to not only give themselves physically for the war but also be head steady with the correct Marxist state of mind.
1. A true icon:
All his life as a Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara is believed to have opposed freedom of speech and freedom of press. It is also believed that he opposed rock ‘n roll and gays didn’t fare well with him. But in spite of it all, Che is a popular culture icon and his high-contrast monochrome graphic face pictured by photographer Alberto Korda is world’s most merchandised image which finds itself on endless variety of items including T-shirts, posters, caps and tattoos to name a few. Love him or hate him, almost all of us have worn a Che Guevara T-shirt or some other merchandise at some point in time. He opposed mindless craving for capitalism which discriminated between people and we can see that he was not wrong in opposing that.