The guerrilla leader who became a brand

My Brother
Forfatter: Juan Martín Guevara. Che
Forlag: Polity Press (UK)
What's left of Che Guevara? In Cuba he will always be a saint, but in the West the logo and brand Che Guevara took over from the politically oppositional.


Che Guevara was born in Rosario, Argentina ,, 14. June 1928, and was actually called Ernesto Guevara. He showed excellent intellectual ability early on. He could become a doctor, writer, engineer or professional chess player, but instead chose to become a guerrilla leader. He died in the jungle of Bolivia in 1967.

Unsuccessful. How did he end up in South and Central America? Yes: Cuba's leader Fidel Castro had argued that the situation was well-facilitated by organized revolutions in these particular countries. Following the Cuban upheavals, therefore, Che Guevara went on the brink of a guerrilla group named "Bolivia's National Liberation Army," but consisting of only around 50 people. The rebellion failed, and there are good reasons to call Che Guevara's attempt to create a Bolivian revolution unsuccessful. The Argentine, among other things, did not expect to meet resistance from the CIA and other entities.
"Che" also faced strong opposition from the US Army Rangers, who were experts in jungle warfare. He also received no support from Bolivian oppositionists.
Che Guevara became iconic when photographer Alberta Korda took a picture of him during a memorial ceremony in March 1960. This image was not published until after his death, and then led to the development of Che Guevara as a brand.

Uncompromising. It can be difficult to approach the phenomenon of Che Guevara in a non-judgmental way, as the person is almost indistinguishable from this brand. That man was a shining example of intelligence and courage, no one can dispute. Che Guevara took seriously what Karl Marx wrote: "In the past, philosophers have interpreted the world differently – but what matters is changing it."
Che, My Brother is a book that is not just about Che Guevara's guerrilla activities. Instead, it tries to give a warmer and more familiar portrait of his life, from the lesser-known brother Juan Martín Guevara's point of view. The brother depicts, among other things, how Che Guevara criticized the Soviet Union for pursuing capitalism under a false socialist banner. This, of course, was politically unwise when Cuba was allied with the Soviet Union, creating a disagreement between Fidel Castro and Che Guevara when the former came under political pressure. It also led to Che Guevara disappearing out of the limelight. In any case, this reinforces the image of a brave oppositionist who rarely or never took strategic considerations into account.

Respectful. One must see Che Guevara's political development in the context of the bloody exploitation of the Latin American people. By traveling on a motorcycle during his youth across the continent, he became convinced that only one revolution could create equality and peace in the region. It was these journeys, known through the movie Motorcycle Diaries, that created the public image of Che Guevara as politically oppositional.

This is the story of a man's political awakening, where the aim of the event gradually becomes total political upheaval by Marxist principles.

The brother's book is written in deep love, admiration and respect for Che Guevara. It is about missing and longing for a dearly loved sibling – also missing while alive, since he had so little time to stay at home with his family. But it actually happened that he called home – once every five years, we should believe this book.

Awakening. Che, My Brother begins with her brother finally deciding, after 47 years of postponement, to visit the burial site of his famous brother. The portrayal is touching and comical as the Che Guevara brand also hits the brother in the middle of the face.
But this is, first and foremost, a strong story of a man's political awakening, where the aim of the event gradually becomes total political upheaval by Marxist principles, with violence as a necessary tool. Had he lived longer, Che Guevara would probably have fought for the same in Africa. Che Guevera was hated by the entire Bolivian army – yes, perhaps by every state-supported military group in Latin America – and of course by the United States government. He was killed by Bolivian soldier Maria Terán Salazar, who otherwise had to drink before he was able to execute the order. Hero Che Guevara died standing, her brother says, but that doesn't have to be the ultimate truth. Many versions abound. No one could feel completely sure that "Che" was actually dead. The father doubted. The other brother, Roberto, was sent to the scene to identify the body, but came back shocked and confused: his body was impossible to detect.

Che Guevara criticized the Soviet Union for pursuing capitalism under a false socialist banner.

A winner. For someone who has always belonged to the political left, it is hard not to admire a man like Che Guevara. The image of the hero is enhanced and gilded in this book. He really represents everything that a human being wants to be: courageous, beautiful, fair and wise. When brother Juan Martín Guevera arrives at the trial after 47 years, the book is at its strongest. He writes: "I sat down, or rather slumped down where he had sat. I can still see his handsome face, his hypnotic, inquisitive gaze, his mischievous smile. I can hear his infectious laughter, his voice, his indelible inflection… »
In the book we first meet fellow human Che, the funny and loving brother, the one who was so good at telling stories, and not least the good friend. He was not particularly interested in politics in his adolescence, but otherwise he succeeded with almost everything. Fortunately, Juan Martin manages to set his brother's life up against the political events of the time, making the book both personal and politically interesting.
The parents often begged the son to continue his medical career, but Che had more important plans. He had two choices: to explore the world as an explorer, or to change it. We all know what he chose.
In Cuba, Che Guevara will forever stand as a shining example of the "new, socialist and selfless man."

?Also read: The False Peace

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