Forty years ago this week, Ernesto “Che” Guevara was assassinated by the CIA with the help of Bolivian soldiers. They certainly believed at the time that was the end of Che. God, how awfully wrong they were. I’m sure almost everyone in the world have seen Che’s iconic picture in one form or another.
Of course Che was not a perfect human being, but he was a revolutionary to the bone – and he died trying to make the world a more just place to live. It is so hard to find someone like Che today – someone who would leave his country and the comfort of good life and good family to fight and risk his life for someone else’s independence just because it is the just thing to do. It is certainly impossible to find someone in this day and age who would leave the comfort of power, privilege, and lifetime of adulations in Cuba to places like the jungle of Congo and the rain forest of Bolivia. Yet a lot of Che detractors claim that Che was brutal in his tactics against his enemy but they don’t say who those enemies were. If these detractors ever saw “The Motorcycle Diaries,” they would realize that Che had more humanity in him than they could ever imagine to be, and that is why they’re not Che – and Che is still Che.
Coincidently, Cuban doctors on mission to treat blind people in poor and remote parts of the world, much like Che was when he started his revolutionary movement in Peru, treated last week the soldier who executed Che after drawing the short stick. Who knew when this soldier was firing at Che, he was in fact killing the man whose work would be saving his eyes forty years later. Such is life.
And Che is still Che.