One of the most famous revolutionaries, Che Guevara, a true cult of personality, was recognized and honored at a memorial service earlier today in Cuba. On October 9th, 1967, at the age of 39, Ernesto “Che” Guevara died while captured by Bolivian government officials. Today, he is one of the biggest influences in Cuba and well respected and liked by nearly everyone in the country. Monuments are dedicated to the work he did during the Cuban Revolution of 1959. Although Che was of Argentine descent, the Cubans adopted him as if he was their own.
One man was questioned at the rally of his opinion of Che and he stated, “We hold him very close, we have him near us always. We know what Che represents to Cubans, to Latin Americans and to the world. For us it’s a great honor to have his image on our chests and in our hearts.” A snippet of the speech Fidel Castro gave in 1967 announcing the death of Che to the Cuban people was played, in which he famously urged Cuban children “to be like Che”, a slogan that still held within the hearts and minds of the Cuban people. It cannot be expressed enough of how important Ernesto Guevara’s legacy is to the people of Cuba.
Whatever one’s opinion of him is, it cannot be denied that Che was one of the most influential Latin Americans of the 20th century, possible of all time. However, the generation that brought forth the revolution with Che are slowly dying out. Many of whom came to the memorial service in their late 80s, Raul Castro is planning to step down sometime next year as we, placing someone outside of the Castro linage in charge of Cuba for more than 50 years. We can only see whether or not time will change the perception of Che from the Cuban mind but he will always be apart of it.