I’m live again on the blog after taking #CurrentEventFriday off last week. Yet, #HistoryMonday rolls on today. Today’s event would prove important in Cuban-American relations and T-Shirt industry sales. All this to say, today’s event was of serious consequence for all parties involved.
It was on this date in 1967 that Ernesto “Che” Guevara was defeated by members of the Bolivian Army while leading a group of Marxist guerilla forces trying to overthrow the government in order to install a socialist government.
Born in Argentina on June 14, 1928 Guevara originally trained as a physician while attending the University of Buenos Aires. Shortly after his graduation from medical school, Guevara and friend Alberto Granada toured South America learning about the continent’s inhabitants and their concerns. These concerns and the story of the tour were immortalized in the 2004 biopic The Motorcycle Diaries.
This tour of the continent of South America and the plight of many citizens eventually led to Guevara’s Marxist leanings. The tour also led to his nickname “Che” thanks to the ubiquitous phrase in Argentinian dialect similar to “hey” in the American dialect.
Che’s Marxist leanings and insurgency exploits began in Guatemala in order to reform the ‘banana republic’ existence in the nation. Shortly after the Guatemalan Revolt, Che met with brothers Raul & Fidel Castro in Mexico City. After forming an alliance with the Castros, Che helped in the Cuban Revolution that expelled Fulgencio Batista from power on the Caribbean nation. Che and his traveling companion Alberto Granada were given important positions in the burgeoning Communist government. Che was appointed president of Cuba’s national bank and his friend Granada was instrumental in reforming and restructuring Cuba’s medical industry.
Che’s Marxist ideology led to his eventual guerilla for hire position. After leaving Cuba and his governmental capacities, Che traveled to the Congo to train forces on the African continent that faced similar problems of poverty and corrupt colonial systems. After moderate success in the Congo, Che traveled to Bolivia where he would eventually be defeated and captured.
Che’s capture eventually led to his execution by the Bolivian forces. The defeat of Che was especially aided by American CIA forces eager to thwart the spread of Communism as part of the ‘Domino Theory’ strategy prevalent at the time.
After Che’s death his likeness graced multiple posters, t-shirts, and other promotional paraphernalia used by left leaning activists eager for revolution that would do away with greedy capitalists. Most of this usage of Che on mass produced t-shirts and posters is a textbook example of Capitalism. The irony of a revolutionary and violent Marxist being mass marketed as a neat face on apparel is hilarious to me.
Personally, I’m afraid that as Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Occasio-Cortez have become popular for their Socialist ideologies as acceptable is a direct result of the whitewashing and popularizing of Che. Most independent critics acknowledge Che’s complicity with Fidel Castro’s imprisonment and execution of political opponents. So, while it’s not ideal that someone was captured and executed, it’s more or less an act of war of corporal punishment for a murderer. CRTV associate Steven Crowder offers a parody version of the Revolution Red Che shirt. To purchase the satirical shirt on Crowder’s website, you can purchase it here.