Remembering Ernesto “Che” Guevara

Ernesto Guevara was born at Rosario, Argentina on this day in 1928. He learned chess at an early age and was playing in tournaments by age 12. His family frequently hosted veterans of the Spanish revolution, and Guevara read widely. He enrolled at the University of Buenos Aires, but left for a motorcycle trip covering much of South America. After returning to finish his degree in medicine, he set out again through eight countries, ending in Guatemala where he was involved with the Communist government when it was overthrown by the CIA. He escaped to Mexico, then on to join Castro's Cuban revolution, putting aside his medical kit to specialize in logistics and finally becoming a strategist and field commander. "Che" later was involved in the Congo and Bolivia. His was a complex and intense life of Revolution.

Regardless of whether you considered him a revolutionary or a terrorist is irrelevant; the fact remains he, like so many who came before him, influenced the times, and to this day even in death influences people to make decisions, they may or may not have, had he not been born.

Below are some memorable quotes regarding revolution, my favorite being Lincoln’s:

The country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
     – Abraham Lincoln, 1809 – 1865

Clarke's Law of Revolutionary Ideas: Every revolutionary idea — in science, politics, art, or whatever — seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases: (1) "It's completely impossible — don't waste my time"; (2) "It's possible, but it's not worth doing"; (3) "I said it was a good idea all along."
     – Arthur C. Clarke, 1917 – 2008

The genuine artist is as much a dissatisfied person as the revolutionary, yet how diametrically opposed are the products each distills from his dissatisfaction.
     – Eric Hoffer, 1902 – 1983

Every revolution was first a thought in one man's mind.
     – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803 – 1882

There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you.
     – William Hazlitt, 1778 – 1830

Revolutions are the periods of history when individuals count most.
     – Norman Mailer, 1923 – 2007

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James A. Restucci is the author of this blog. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Internal License.

8 Responses to Remembering Ernesto “Che” Guevara

  1. TVNews says:

    Yes. The CIA’s private war that kicked the Russian’s out of Afghanistan. We did a good job in accomplishing our goals, but we didn’t follow up and finish the job.

    That, along with the hard work of President Carter, was a contributing factor in the circumstances that led to September 11th.

  2. Jason Raines says:

    Jim, TV,
    I would suggest reading “Bitter Fruit: The Story of the American Coup in Guatamala”.

    Here is a product description from Amazon:

    Bitter Fruit is a comprehensive and insightful account of the CIA operation to overthrow the democratically elected government of Jacobo Arbenz of Guatemala in 1954. First published in 1982, this book has become a classic, a textbook case of the relationship between the United States and the Third World. The authors make extensive use of U.S. government documents and interviews with former CIA and other officials. It is a warning of what happens when the United States abuses its power.

  3. Jason Raines says:

    TV: I haven’t seen the movie. Are you talking about the CIA funding Osama bin Laden?

  4. TVNews says:

    Errr… Jason.

    My bad.

  5. jimr says:

    TV: I don’t see a comment by Libby.

  6. TVNews says:


    If you want to see what happens when the United States drops the ball, check out Charlie Wilson’s War.

  7. jimr says:

    Perhaps; however having been deployed to a country whose government was falling apart, I can tell you, that had the U.S. done nothing, things definitely would have gotten a lot worse.  Whether or not what we did will have any lasting effect, has yet to be seen.

    One of my favorite quotes from the Hunt for Red October, is Captain Bart Mancuso, “The hard part about playing ‘chicken’ is knowing when to flinch.”

    Thanks for the comment!

  8. Jason Raines says:

    Just a point that might be a little bit nitpicky: the CIA overthrew a socialist leaning government in Guatamala. They were more nationalist than communist. The CIA’s involvement helped push Che Guevera, and later Castro, towards the Soviet Union.

    He was a “revolutionary”, but he could have been working for capitalism if it were not for the corporatism exhibited by the Eisenhower Administration on behalf of the United Fruit Company.

    We “won” in Guatamala, but “lost” in Cuba. Perhaps Guatamala and Cuba would have been better off if we had not become militarily involved.