Revolutionaries hold a very special place in the hearts of people. They are loved not only for their valiance but also for their resilience at the face of misery and their ineffable thinking. It is quite impressionable how they have dealt with situation and interacted with people throughout the course of their life.
One revolutionary was born in this month as many tend to believe. It is Ernesto Guevara de la Serna; or as more commonly known Che Guevara. He was not born in June though. This misunderstanding has occurred as in his birth certificate it shows that he was born on June 14, 1928. Actually, he was born on May 14, 1928 as many historians say. However, when deeds speak for themselves, dates don’t matter. He indeed a man whose simplicity, and deed were enough to explain him.
Che, who was born into a upper-class family in Rosario, had access to everything that he would’ve needed for personal development. By the age of 10, he had become a very good chess player and a voracious reader. He would read on the thinkers of the past such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Sigmund Freud. His mother would be the arching figure influencing with ideals of equality and social justice. Throughout his journeys he has felt an irresistible obligation to help the downtrodden. His stint at the Leper colony is an example of that.
The period which shaped the young man’s outlook towards life was the time when he and his friend Alberto marked on to a journey of the whole continent on their motorcycles. However, the journey wasn’t totally completed on their motorcycle as those machines gave up and they had to travel relying on freeloading skills to hitch rides, bum meals, lodge, and work at odd jobs whenever they could. That trip though was an eye opener for Ernesto as he saw misery at every point and realized that serving people was much more necessary for him rather than being a good medical researcher.
Che had taken a sabbatical from degree to make this journey happen. So, after completing the journey, he returned to complete his degree and officially become a doctor in 1953. Couple of months later however, he abandoned his profession to get into the world of politics.
His first expedition after this decision was to Bolivia where a revolution was forming. From there to Peru and then to Guatemala where a new revolution was forming as well. In Guatemala he saw the American intervention in the domestic affairs.
His experience in Guatemala exposed him to the failures of capitalism in South America. This was a turning point as started to form Marxist ideology.
He then moved to Mexico to groom himself to become a revolutionary and there he met Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro who was exiled at that time. Castro was looking for young enthusiastic people to join him in his revolutionary causes.
Che liked the idea and he joined him. The Cuban revolutionaries after some events were able to set up a camp in Sierra Maestra mountains. They were able to add few peasants into the revolution but created a large network of sympathizers.
People who in any regard were sympathetic to incumbent Batista’s government were ordered to be executed on the orders of Che Guevara. At this point Che built himself to become a ruthless man as he considered it to be necessary for the revolution.
Over the years, the revolutionaries focused on capacity building and training. Over time the revolutionary force transformed into a professional force. All because of the leadership of Fidel Castro. Che was just next to him in the revolution and played a key role.
The rebels then marched on to Havana where they would be capturing villages and towns on the way. Che was great in forming tactics to capture towns by setting up camps, then expanding them, and capturing the town after it was isolated. After the rebels had conquered the city of Santa Clara, Batista fled to Dominican Republic leaving behind Cuba to be taken over by the revolutionaries.
Now the challenge is that the people who formed the government were predominantly uneducated and were not ready to carry out the tasks.
Che stood out in this regard as he was a university graduate, an avid reader and intellectually impeccable. Over the next few years, he focused on establishing industries and tried to make Cuba self-sufficient/Atmanirbhar by producing goods. Later being a revolutionary himself, he travelled to different countries to share his ideas.
In October 1966, he went to Bolivia to induce an uprising that would overthrow the government there. However, the distrust of the Bolivian Indians lead the campaign to doom.
Che was at the dusk of his glorious days. One after the other, rebels were crushed by the Bolivian government. Che was not physically in a good state as well as his asthma was taking a toll on him and he was wasn’t able to fight with the same vigor as he did before.
Later he was captured by the Bolivian troops on October 7th and taken to a school nearby for interrogation but refused to speak a word. On October 9th he was executed on the orders of Bolivian President.
The last words that he said speaks volumes about the depth of his character. He said, “I know you’ve come to kill me. Shoot, coward! You are only going to kill a man.”
At 1:10 P.M. he was declared dead. The tragic end made him a martyr while his life made him a perennial legend.
Sayantan Mitra writes about society with touches of polity and politics. His main focus is on providing informative content with a unique perspective, but never at the cost of providing just mere entertainment.