Margaret Randall (author); CHE ON MY MIND; Duke University Press (Nonfiction: Essays) 19.95 ISBN: 9780822355922
Byline: Edward Morris
These personal essays on and acute observations of Che Guevara's legacy achieve insight into his enduring appeal to young revolutionaries.
Forty-six years after he was killed in an ill-conceived guerrilla movement in Bolivia, Ernesto "Che" Guevara remains the very essence of the romantic revolutionary. His beret-topped image stares out from political posters, book covers, T-shirts, and at least one egregiously ironic Smirnoff vodka ad (he was anti-capitalism and didn't drink). The author, a poet and social activist, undertakes to explain why Guevara has such enduring appeal -- and why he still merits it.
Trained as a physician in his native Argentina, Guevara met Fidel Castro in Mexico in 1956 after Castro had been exiled from Cuba for rebelling against its American-backed dictator, Fulgencio Batista. Guevara fought alongside Castro until he came to power in 1959. Thereafter, he held a series of high-level government jobs, including minister of industries and president of the national bank. But he grew increasingly restless in these largely administrative roles and turned his attention to aiding liberation movements elsewhere, notably the Congo and Bolivia. Although still on good terms with Castro, he severed his formal ties with the new government in 1965, renouncing both his Cuban citizenship and membership in the country's Communist party.
Randall, who moved to Cuba in 1969 and lived there for eleven years, never met Guevara but came to know him...