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The day when a hero was murdered and the most brilliant star shone

It was October 9, 1967, when the Elysian Fields of revolution welcomed one of the most brilliant symbols, on the top among all those who shone with their lives the route of humanity forwards. That day, in Bolivian mountains, the idea of selfless fight was shaped by a human so the world we live in to continue move “always forwards” (seguiremos adelante).

Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna is undoubtedly the most recognized figure in human history. His face, through the iconic photo of the first years of Cuban Revolution, is the “flag” of all this who after him were inspired, convinced and decided to end forever the temporary experience of human exploitation.

The son of a little bourgeois Argentinian family, with roots from Ireland and Basque country, traditional regions of liberation fronts and therefore revolutionary action, who love rugby more than anything and studied medicine, was to be the human paradigm of those who without any opportunism achieve to incarnate the development of a complete revolutionary, not necessarily or absolutely theoretical, but certainly one capable to work in all the parts of this complex task.

Guevara as member of the University of Buenos Aires rugby team. First from the left in front row.

The endless mental file that characterized his personality taught him since early enough to fight over his phenomenal limits. As Fusser (from Furibundo Serna), his first nickname, was overfighting, by ignoring asthma, by playing rugby as there was no tomorrow, as a pupil and a student. Since then, he had a multidisciplinary approach for this first passion, as he obtained his first revolutionary medal, a rugby magazine which was forbidden by the authorities as it was thought to spread revolutionary ideas with its articles.

Young Ernesto, student of medicine

Maturity came through the recognition of a large geographical place, the whole Latin America. For others the navigation of a whole continent with a motorbike can be a way out to relax, but for the extraordinary Guevara’s spirit it was a process, his passage to a new world. This voyage was an essential experiment in order to obtain his ideological conclusions for his action and thought. Traveling Latin America was for “Che” just the confirmation of the argument that a whole continent, with similar characteristics in all its countries, needs the same solution everywhere in order to solve the same problems: to brake the class exploitation, because whenever he has been he was seeing that people were not divided into Argentinians, Chileans, Peruvians etc. but in rich and poor ones. Poor people had to confront everywhere the same agony to survive, similarly fight against maladies, famine, and also had fun, discussed, loved in a similar way. The rich, no matter how poor was every country, could always live as parasites, by stealing the richness who others produced for them.

Ernesto, who learned to breath more than he could, when he played rugby, wasn’t obviously the man who wouldn’t transform this experience into revolutionary action. Inspired by the development of the USSR, during the first years after WWII (the period when Stalin was Gen. Secretary of the Communist Party), he took care to get armed with the most important weapon for the transformation of those Latin American societies, revolutionary theoretical background. A deep marxist, a leninist one, without “rounds” and retreats, as the goal needs the purity on the ideas, he tried to understand the doctrine of his times, by putting himself absolutely in the revolutionary duty, as History obliges people like him. He was charged to be part of a great movement forwards, a movement which in different times has different form, but those who are part of it seem to have the same virtues, from Spartacus to the glorious Comandante.

The country which had the “chance” to be the first homeland of the internationalist Che, was Cuba, an american protectorate, mafia paradise, dominated by people who after the revolution rested in foreign shores, barking and flirting with illegality, killing for one dollar, for a black skin or a white powder. Guevara had in his mind the goal of the revolution much more well defined than its historic leader, Fidel Castro. He had a major contribution into transforming the liberation from the foreign dependence into the popular liberation of any kind of enchainment. Che knew that this process is hard, complex, demanding and needs to fight in many fields. Many know today his virtue of revolutionary selfness, but few are aware that his was an irreplaceable mind, which shone in the process of Cuban Revolution and then socialist development. He organized in theoretical and practical level many hard tasks, from the guerrilla war to the industrial reconstruction of a country, offering numerous ideological fights with his opponents but also ideas which started to dominate “his own” camp.

It was not fate, but the development of Che into a complete revolutionary, the thing that decided the turnout of the revolutionary war in Cuba, when he had to manage a very hard situation in Santa Clara. It was not luck, or talent, but Che’s marxist competency which put Cuba in a pure ideological camp, in order to assure the maintenance of all that have been won by a people who made its own “raid to the sky”.

Che was the one who understood the characteristics of the so named “Third World”, by looking into the special conditions which characterized his “big country”, Latin America. In the same time, he was the one who devoted himself to the way that this world could liberate. He deeply believed that peoples of most oppressed countries could more easily be part, adapt and spread the ideas of a new world, without the any blockades to the development of humanity, as the human exploitation. He was not an opportunist, but he was trying to find the second place, after Cuba, that this could happen, in Africa and the rest of Latin America. His contribution to the ideological orientation of national-liberation fronts was huge. The reason that he left to fight “in a foreign shore” wasn’t to satisfy his immature revolutionary instinct, but because he knew that the one-time success of Cuba could serve as an example in order to be repeated many more times. He never abandoned Cuba and he was never abandoned by Fidel, whatever his true ideological opponents try to say today. As they couldn’t fight his ideas, they just try to change his history and the true meaning of his historical impact.

Bolivian military officials around the death body of Ernesto Guevara.

In Bolivian mountains the last act was played in October 9, 1967. This act defined the passage of a life to the eternity. In that fight Che played again over his limits, but he knew that for sure, whatever the outcome, his service would not end with his biological death. This actually happened, as that photo, from that laundry, where his murderers exposed his corps, turned all over the world and spread the pain to all those who followed the same dream, by transforming the protagonist of that act into an eternal and immortal symbol. Today, few remember who was the President of the United Stades, that day when this murder took place. However, there are billions who know who was killed.

October 9 is “Hero’s Day” in Cuba and in all over the world. It is the date when we can measure the impact of a man who decided to shine a bit more, during his short passage from our world, in order to light our way forward. It is the day which year per year, no matter the distance in time or the efforts to change the historical meanings of those fights, is becoming more understandable that this “siempre” (always) in the slogan of Cuban Revolution has no limits for those who understand the world in dimensions larger than those which are given to live within. The iconic sight of Comandante is just the flag to remind this duty. Hasta La Victoria Siempre.

The most iconic portrait in the history of photographic arts

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