On his 80th birthiday Che’s legacy lives
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.
FIST delegation in Cuba calls
for Justice for
the Cuban Five
in the spirit of Che.
WW photo: Monica Moorehead
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
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
Che wrote a handbook on guerilla warfare and developed the style and methods of
political, ideological and physical warfare against the capitalist ruling
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
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
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
Yes, Che’s legacy is everywhere. The world will never forget this great
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