By Víctor Pérez Galdós / Source: Radio Rebelde / The Dawn / June 6, 2012
Jose Martí affirmed that heroes are the heritage of all ages, and also, human property of each household.
Even though those adjectives were said by Martí in the second half of XIX Century, they are suitable to describe many men and women in Cuba’s history who have excelled because they have become symbols, sources of motivation and a examples to our people, and many people in the world.
That is the case of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, whose life was brief but very fruitful.
Born in Rosario, Argentina, on June 14th of 1928, he not only felt son of Argentina, but of Latin America in general. He embraced not only the cause of the places he lived in, but the cause of all the continent’s people,.
In regards to his international vocation, in a speech he gave on December 1964, in the United Nation’s Assembly, Che Guevara pointed out: “I was born in Argentina; that’s no secret to anyone. I’m Cuban and I’m also Argentinian, and if the illustrated lordships of Latin America don’t get offended, I feel a Latin American patriot, of any of all the continent’s countries, and at any time I would be willing to give my life for their Liberation, without asking anything in return, without demanding anything, without exploiting anyone.”
Since his youth, Ernesto Guevara began to learn and to be sensitive towards the situation that people were going through in what, in the XIX century, Martí called “Nuestra América” (“Our America”).
At the end of 1951 and for nearly seven months, together with his friend Alberto Granado, he travelled, in a very unique way, areas of Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and finally arrived in Caracas, capital of Venezuela.
After that, he returned to his homeland, and once he finished his Medicine studies in June of 1953, Guevara began a new journey, a great travel through Latin American countries, until he reached Guatemala. There, he took part in the defense from the mercenary aggression that was attempting to overthrow a progressive Government.
Then, he had to move to Mexico, and after meeting with Antonio Lopez, alias Ñico, a young Cuban revolutionary who he had met in Guatemala City, Guevara was able to contact Fidel Castro.
It only took a few hours of conversation for Fidel and Ernesto Guevara to identify with each other completely, and that’s how Guevara joined the Cuban’s revolutionary group. This group was in Mexico, getting ready to return to Cuba in order to resume the fight against the reactionary military dictatorship.
On December 2, 1956, a group formed by 82 expeditionaries under Fidel Castro’s directions travelled on a small yacht, called the Granma, from Tuxpan Port in Mexico. That is how Che Guevara made contact with the Cuban territory, through Las Coloradas Beach, in the southeastern part of the country.
Soon, the former doctor of the rebellious troop became a feisty fighter and one of the most capable Chiefs in the Rebel Army.
Not only did he participate actively in combats and battles, he was also responsible for the column that carried on the invasion from the West to Las Villas, the main Cuban Province. He also developed an active political labour in order to keep the revolutionary forces united.
In late December 1958, Che commanded the great battle of Santa Clara.
In the early hours of January 1st, 1959, as a result of the great offensive of the revolutionary fighters, both in rural areas and in cities, the dictatorial regime was dismantled and the escape of the tyrant and some of his closest collaborators. Still, many of the reactionary elements tried an operation to stop the true popular triumph.
It was under these circumstances that Fidel Castro called workers and people in general to begin a revolutionary general strike, as the rebel fighters continued the offensive. Che and Commander Camilo Cienfuegos were told to leave immediately to La Habana and ocupy the main military forts in the capital.
Che arrived in the morning hours of January 3rd, 1959, to the San Carlos de la Cabaña Castle.
From that on, Che becomes one of the most prestigious and beloved leaders of Cuban’s Revolution.
As time went by, in addition to his duties as a Commander, he was trusted with important responsibilities, including Head of Industrialization of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform, President of the National Bank of Cuba and Minister of Industry. Years later, he became a member the National Directorate of the Integrated Revolutionary Organizations and the United Party of the Socialist Revolution of Cuba.
With both simplicity and integrity, Che, in close and constant contact with workers and various social groups, participated in acts and meetings, gave lectures, attended on behalf of Cuba to international events and took part in many other activities.
Che become a source of inspiration and a lesson for our people.
Despite his physical disappearance, which occurred in Bolivia in 1967 while he was contributing to the revolutionary cause of the people of Latin America, his preach continues to serve as motivation up to our days.
Regarding the symbolism of the life and work of Che Guevara, and his constant presence in the heart of the Cuban People and the Revolution, Fidel Castro stated, in a tribute to Guevara celebrated a few days after his murder in Bolivia, on the Plaza de la Revolución “José Martí”, in La Habana: “It is not easy to combine in one person all the virtues that were combined in him. It is not easy for a person to spontaneously be able to develop a personality like his. He was one of those men who are difficult to equal and practically impossible to overcome. But we may also say that men like him encourage more like him to emerge”.
An so he added: “When we think about his life and his behavior, we can say that he was a very unique case of a rare man that was capable of combining in his personality not only the characteristics of a man of action, but also a thinking man, a man of spotless revolutionary virtues, and an extraordinary human sensitivity, along with an iron will, and an indomitable tenacity.
And this is why he left future generations not only his experience, his knowledge, but at the same time the works of his intelligence”.