Last Updated on July 17, 2020
Loved by many, hated by some. No one defines the word ‘revolutionary’ better than Che Guevara.
Known for playing a key role in ousting former Cuban President, Fulgencio Batista in 1959, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara also spearheaded Cuba’s shift of trade relations from the United States to the Soviet Union.
Life in Argentina
‘Che’ Guevara was born on June 14, 1928 to a family of Spanish-Irish descent in Rosario, Argentina. Despite being troubled by asthma, this young man has shown early signs of defiance by doing the exact opposite a person suffering from a lung disease would do – pursue being an athlete. He went on to become a swimmer and a football player, to name a few.
Being the eldest among the five children of Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna y Llosa, he was introduced early to the teachings of the leftists.
He grew up witnessing his father welcome veterans from the Spanish Civil War in their home. An article published by A&E Television Networks entitled Che Guevara Biography said that “by his teens [he] had become politically active, joining a group that opposed the government of Juan Perón.”
Soon after finishing secondary school with flying colors, Guevara went to the University of Buenos Aires to study medicine in 1948.
Three years later, he left to travel to Latin America, which officially marked the start of his revolutionary journey. Having witnessed the poverty-stricken parts of the South led him to believe that the only solution to oppression on a large scale is to form an army of communists.
What seemed to be an innocent holiday spent with his friend Alberto Granado turned into an eye-opener. Motivated by a cause to help the poor led him back to the university to finish his studies. By 1953, he became Dr. Ernesto Guevara.
His Political Journey
According to an article published by Andrew Annandale Sinclair in Britannica.com, the same year after getting his degree in medicine, Guevara flew to Guatemala where he saw President Jacobo Arbenz’s government being ousted by a coup backed up by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
This event confirmed his belief that leftist initiatives will always be obstructed by the United States, urging him to be a staunch believer of Marxism.
From Guatemala, he traversed to Mexico where he came in contact with the two men who changed his life forever, Fidel and Raul Castro. During this time, the Cuban brothers were planning to overthrow the U.S.-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista, through the 26th of July Movement.
Guevara may have been incapable of coming out of the war unscathed, but he was able to take this opportunity to play bigger roles for Castro as he accepted his appointment of becoming National Bank of Cuba’s president.
As the movement grew in strength and numbers, so did Guevara’s skills in handling weapons. He may be a doctor by profession, but he has learned to look at the other side of the coin by doing and ordering the killings of suspected spies and traitors. Guevara has recorded this experience through a journal called Pasajes de la guerra revolucionaria.
He continued his literary pursuit in the 1960’s through his collections of speeches. He established closer relations with the Soviet Union in an attempt to boycott any interference by the United States. This soon turned out to be a cause of his disappointment when he saw Cuba slowly falling under the Soviet Union authorities instead of becoming its equal ally.
The volatile Guevara soon moved from Cuba to South America to continue his pursuit of spreading Marxist ideologies. Little did he know that the uprisings he was planning, specifically in Bolivia, will be leading him towards the end of his life.
An article written by Kristine Phillips published by the Washington Post vividly described the moment Che Guevara was captured. He was heard saying, “’Do not shoot! I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead.’”
He was initially led to a small room in La Higuera, Bolivia to be interrogated by the government of the United States. However, the Bolivian government had other plans. They feared that due process in the form of a public trial would only give him the opportunity to get away. He was shot in the arms, legs and thorax to give the impression that he died in a battle.
The man with the unruly hair tucked under a black beret died at age 39.
The Face That Launched a Thousand T-Shirts
50 years after his death, Che Guevara’s face still finds its way to clothing, apparel, and products of those who sell the idea of rebellion. In fact, it has become one of the world’s most influential images as selected by TIME.
If Helen of Troy is known as ‘The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships’, Cuba’s Che Guevara, number one fighter of capitalism, ironically owns the title ‘The Face That Launched a Thousand T-Shirts’.
Here are amazing quotes from Che Guevara worth remembering:
Che Guevarra Quotes
“We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.” – Che Guevarra
“The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall.” – Che Guevarra
“Every day you have to fight so that love for humanity can be transformed into concrete deeds, into acts that set an example, that mobilize.” – Che Guevarra
“Let’s be realistic. Let’s do the impossible!” – Che Guevarra
“If you have the capacity to tremble with indignation every time that an injustice is committed in the world, then we are comrades.” – Che Guevarra
“The walls of the educational system must come down. Education should not be a privilege, so the children of those who have money can study.” – Che Guevarra
“I don’t care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting.” – Che Guevarra
“It’s not my fault if reality is Marxist.” – Che Guevarra
“Words that do not match deeds are not important.” – Che Guevarra
“Let the world change you and you can change the world.” – Che Guevarra
“Passion is needed for any great work, and for the revolution, passion and audacity are required in big doses.” – Che Guevarra
“We have no right to believe that freedom can be won without struggle.” – Che Guevarra
“Be realistic, demand the impossible!” – Che Guevarra
“Every day people straighten up the hair, why not the heart?” – Che Guevarra
“To accomplish much you must first lose everything.” – Che Guevarra
“Youth should learn to think and act as a mass. It is criminal to think as individuals!” – Che Guevarra
“It’s a sad thing not to have friends, but it is even sadder not to have enemies.” – Che Guevarra
“Live your life not celebrating victories, but overcoming defeats.” – Che Guevarra
“Justice remains the tool of a few powerful interests; legal interpretations will continue to be made to suit the convenience of the oppressor powers.” – Che Guevarra
“I am not a liberator. Liberators do not exist. The people liberate themselves.” – Che Guevarra
“Democracy is not compatible with financial oligarchy.” – Che Guevarra
“The best form of saying is being.” – Che Guevarra
“I would rather die standing up to live life on my knees.” – Che Guevarra
“Democracy cannot consist solely of elections that are nearly always fictitious and managed by rich landowners and professional politicians.” – Che Guevarra
“A country that does not know how to read and write is easy to deceive.” – Che Guevarra
“A new era will dawn in Africa, when the impoverished masses of a nation rise up to rescue their right to a decent life from the hands of the ruling oligarchies.” – Che Guevarra
“We are overcome by anguish at this illogical moment of humanity.” – Che Guevarra
“And then many things became very clear… we learned perfectly that the life of a single human being is worth millions of times more than all the property of the richest man on earth.” – Che Guevarra
“The world must not only be interpreted, it must be transformed. Man ceases to be the slave and tool of his environment and converts himself into the architect of his own destiny.” – Che Guevarra
“Above all, always be capable of feeling deeply any injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world. This is the most beautiful quality in a revolutionary.” – Che Guevarra
“The Revolution is made by man, but man must forge his revolutionary spirit from day to day.” – Che Guevarra
“I knew that the moment the great governing spirit strikes the blow to divide all humanity into just two opposing factions, I would be on the side of the common people.” – Che Guevarra
“If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine.” – Che Guevarra
“Real revolutionaries adorn themselves on the inside, not on the surface.” – Che Guevarra
“Silence is argument carried out by other means.” – Che Guevarra
“Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel!” – Che Guevarra
“One has to grow hard but without ever losing tenderness.” – Che Guevarra
“What are our primary goals? Our greatest goals? The great lines we must follow? From the political point of view, the first thing we want is to be masters of our own destiny, a country free from foreign interference, a country that seeks out its own system of development.” – Che Guevarra
“The interests of the IMF represent the big international interests that today seem to be established and concentrated in Wall Street.” – Che Guevarra
“Many will call me an adventurer, and that I am…only one of a different sort: one who risks his skin to prove his truths.” – Che Guevarra
“The first duty of a revolutionary is to be educated.” – Che Guevarra
“I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.” – Che Guevarra
“At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.” – Che Guevarra
“The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” – Che Guevarra
“I have lived magnificent days.” – Che Guevarra
“Wealth is far from being within the reach of the masses simply through the process of appropriation.” – Che Guevarra
“One must endure without losing tenderness.” – Che Guevarra
“The basic clay of our work is the youth; we place our hope in it and prepare it to take the banner from our hands.” – Che Guevarra
“We must struggle every day so that this love for humanity becomes a reality.” – Che Guevarra
“Until the everlasting victory.” – Che Guevarra