Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Che Guevara and the ALAS Part 2

Last night I received another response, this time from the Association of Latin American Students' faculty advisor. Here is his message:
Thanks for sharing your feelings about "el Che." Unfortunately like many people who grew up in the 60s in Latin America I happens to have a different perception of what is his real impact in the history of Latin American as well as his impact on Cuba's political development. I guess that perception comes from experiencing what was going on in the 60s and not reading it from books. He certainly was a dreamer and as a dreamer he looked for the realization of his dreams. If you think that he was mistaken, fine, he was, however, he is one who had the courage to stand up and state what he felt. He provided a good reason for a lot of young people to stand up and demand better living conditions for the masses. Regarding your statement about the Cuba Gulag, I am not so sure about it. His philosophy was that everybody needed to be a real revolutionary, therefore, not expecting benefits but pursuing the idea of promoting the revolucionario real. That is the reason why he had to leave Cuba and went to Bolivia where he was killed by the bolivian sargeant under the directives of the CIA. I understand that his memory awakens a lot of passion but regardless of many people think, el che was indeed an icon in Latin American political history and has a well regarded place in history.

Well, hm. At first, I wanted to say, "Oh, what a tempered, intelligent response." Then I thought about it for a while. His answer basically comes down to, "I don't want to think about the facts regarding this man's life. I'd rather focus on the romantic memory of him." I think this is especially obvious from his statement about preferring to focus on "what was going on in the 60s" rather than on books, and his complete dismissal of the issue of the Cuban gulag.

The last part really baffles me. If this man helped establish the Cuban gulag (as I keep reading that he did), then wouldn't that be recorded history? If it's recorded history, how can this cult of his simply dismiss it in favor of the more heroic image of him?

I'm not sure if I'll respond to this message. Far be it for me to back down from a fight, but I must consider if it will be worth the time.

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