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Alberto Korda took this popular photograph for a Cuban newspaper on 5 March 1960, at a memorial service in Havana. Mr Korda still has the photograph's negative and the camera that took it. Che Guevara was a key figure in Cuba's 1959 revolution alongside Fidel Castro, who still rules the country. When Che Guevara was killed by the Bolivian army in October 1967, he was hailed a martyr to the revolution. The photo has been a rallying image in student revolts ever since.
A 22 year old Ernesto Guevara in 1951 while in Argentina
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Stylized image of Che Guevara
Ernesto Guevara de la Serna or Ernesto "Che" Guevara (June 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara, El Che, or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, politician, author, physician, military theorist, and guerrilla leader. After his death, his stylized image became a ubiquitous countercultural symbol worldwide.
Che Guevara wrote in 1960:
"After graduation, due to special circumstances and perhaps also to my character, I began to travel throughout America, and I became acquainted with all of it. Except for Haiti and Santo Domingo, I have visited, to some extent, all the other Latin American countries. Because of the circumstances in which I traveled, first as a student and later as a doctor, I came into close contact with poverty, hunger and disease; with the inability to treat a child because of lack of money; with the stupefaction provoked by the continual hunger and punishment, to the point that a father can accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident, as occurs often in the downtrodden classes of our American homeland. And I began to realize at that time that there were things that were almost as important to me as becoming famous for making a significant contribution to medical science: I wanted to help those people"
Some view Che Guevara as a hero; for example, Nelson Mandela referred to him as "an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom" while Jean-Paul Sartre described him as "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age." Guevara remains a beloved national hero to many in Cuba, where his image adorns the 3 $ Cuban Peso and school children begin each morning by pledging "We will be like Che."
In his native homeland of Argentina, where high schools bear his name, numerous Che museums dot the country, which in 2008 unveiled a 12 foot bronze statue of him in his birth city of Rosario. Additionally, Guevara has been sanctified by some Bolivian campesinos as "Saint Ernesto", to whom they pray for assistance.
Conversely, others view him as a spokesman for a failed ideology and as a ruthless executioner. Johann Hari, for example, writes that "Che Guevara is not a free-floating icon of rebellion. He was an actual person who supported an actual system of tyranny." Detractors have also theorized that in much of Latin America, Che-inspired revolutions had the practical result of reinforcing brutal militarism for many years. He also remains a hated figure amongst many in the Cuban exile community, who view him with animosity as "the butcher of La Cabaña."
Moreover, Guevara has ironically been subsumed by the capitalist consumer culture he despised. The primary variable of this phenomenon has been a monochrome graphic of his face, which has become one of the World's most universally merchandized images, found on an endless array of items including: t-shirts, hats, posters, tattoos, and even bikinis. Yet, Guevara also remains an iconic figure both in specifically political contexts and as a wide-ranging popular icon of youthful rebellion.
(Source: BBC News Online)
V. SRIDHAR wrote about Alberto Korda, the photographic chronicler of the Cuban revolution in Frontline, Volume 19 - Issue 25, December 07 - 20, 2002, India's National Magazine, publishers of THE HINDU:
'THIRTY-FIVE years after his death, Ernesto Che Guevara, the popular revolutionary hero who was killed by the trained militiamen in the Bolivian jungles in 1967, continues to inspire people aspiring for social change. His extraordinary courage and passionate devotion to the cause of social change throughout the world have made him a revolutionary icon. Nothing symbolises this better than a photograph of him taken at a memorial service on March 5, 1960, in Havana, Cuba. No other image — apart from the one of Marilyn Monroe standing at a subway grid — has been reproduced as many times in history. That photograph of Che, with his long hair flowing from underneath his beret with a star affixed to it, his eyes gazing into the distance, can be found on posters, subway walls and countless consumer articles such as T-shirts, mugs, key chains, wallets and cigarette lighters all over the world. It also adorns walls across Cuba where Che is loved for the part he played in the cause of the revolution. However, the man who took that photograph, Alberto Diaz Gutierrez, known to the world as Alberto Korda, never made anything for himself from the image he gave the world.
Che Guevara Internet Archive:
1952: The Motorcycle Diaries [partial transcription] 1963: Our America and Theirs [partial transcription] 1963: Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War [partial transcription] 1967: The Che Reader [partial transcription] 1967: The Bolivian Diary [partial transcription]
April 18, 1959: Abstract of: A New Old Interview August 19, 1960: On Revolutionary Medicine October 8, 1960: Notes for the Study of the Ideology of the Cuban Revolution March 28, 1961: Mobilising the Masses for the Invasion April 9, 1961: Cuba: Exceptional Case or Vanguard in the Struggle Against Colonialism? August 8, 1961: On Growth and Imperialism September, 1962: The Cadres: Backbone of the Revolution 1963: Guerrilla war, a method [note: not to be confused with his famous book on the subject.] March 25, 1964: On Development December 11, 1964: Colonialism is Doomed February, 1965: Second Economic Seminar of the Organization of Afro-Asian Solidarity March, 1965: Man and Socialism in Cuba April 1, 1965: Farewell letter from Che to Fidel Castro April 16, 1967: Message to the Tricontinental
(Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)