By Caleb T. Maupin
Published Jun 11, 2008 8:52 PM
In his death, Ernesto “Che” Guevara—whose 80th birthday would have been June 14—has become even more powerful than he was in his truly revolutionary life. In modern times, images of Guevara are found across the globe wherever oppressed people are fighting back.
As Lebanon was being rebuilt following the ruthless Israeli bombing campaigns, Che’s defiant glare found its way onto the walls of newly rebuilt homes. The oppressed communities of the part of Ireland still occupied by British imperialism are filled with murals of Guevara’s face, next to other heroes like Nelson Mandela and James Connolly. In China, plays depicting Che’s life are performed in theatres.
Across Eastern Europe, youth defying the “new Europe” of economic suppression bear Che’s face upon their chests. In Vietnam, Belarus, North Korea, Venezuela and Bolivia, Che persists in the memory of millions who hope to build a socialist future.
In Cuba, the home of the revolution Che built successfully, school children pledge not allegiance to an imperialist flag, but that they will “live like Che.”
Guevara—the doctor, warrior-poet, and revolutionary—stands as a symbol of victory against the bosses, capitalists and bankers who sit behind the ruthless forces of the Pentagon and the CIA.
Guevara personally left his revolutionary footprints in Cuba, Guatemala, Bolivia and throughout Africa. Guevara visited Vietnam, advising the revolutionaries while the national liberation struggle to free the nation from imperialism raged. He issued a statement calling for “many Vietnams” to be created—for every corner of the world to be thrust into a state of revolt, so that the forces which put profit above human life could be removed from the halls of power and replaced by the people in their millions.
Che wrote a handbook on guerilla warfare and developed the style and methods of political, ideological and physical warfare against the capitalist ruling class.
Che lives on, not just in images, but in the improvement of human conditions. In Cuba, the peoples’ life expectancy is the highest in South America; every citizen is guaranteed health care and education; infant mortality rates are lower than in the United States; and countless aid is spread throughout the world.
In Vietnam, the infant mortality rate has been cut in half since the revolution succeeded. In the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which Che showed great solidarity with, nuclear technology has been developed, sending a message to the U.S. and all imperialists that the peoples there will not give up their freedom from imperialism without a fight. In South Africa, apartheid was smashed into the history books. In Zimbabwe, land is being redistributed to the peasants.
In Bolivia, the land where Che lost his life, a revolutionary government calling for a “movement toward socialism” holds power. The government of nearby Venezuela invokes Che constantly as they construct a socialist society.
Yes, Che’s legacy is everywhere. The world will never forget this great revolutionary.
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