Monday marks the 50 year anniversary of the death of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who was killed in a CIA-led anti-guerrilla operation on Oct. 9, 1967.
Born in Argentina into relative privilege, Che quickly became a symbol for continental third-world revolution. Che rose to prominence when he joined Fidel and Raul Castro on their anti-imperialist invasion of Cuba. In the late 1950s, Che led guerrilla soldiers to overthrow the Batista dictatorship and install a new communist regime. Some Cubans felt Che was a ruthless killer.
After the revolution, Che’s position in the Cuban government didn’t last long. Che had a vision of a united, classless third world, so he traveled to Africa, Asia, and South America to help topple what he perceived to be states that exacerbated inequality. After Che was captured and executed in Bolivia in 1967, many began to revere Che in an almost saint-like fashion. A famous image of him was printed on flags, t-shirts, and more.
Jon Lee Anderson, a staff writer for The New Yorker, spent 3 years in Cuba working on a biography of Che Guevara. The more-than-700 page book, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, is touted as one of the most complete profiles of its kind.
Anderson joined Worldview to give us a biographical overview of Che Guevara. Also with us to discuss Che Guevara’s legacy is Vijay Prashad, chair in South Asian history and professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He’s also a columnist for Alternet. Prashad’s latest book is titled, The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution. He also authored a new article on Che Guevara in The Hindu titled “A revolutionary power to heal.”