Che Guevara: Hero or Villain?

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Before I start analyzing films, I’m doing some initial background research on the general perception of Che Guevara. To begin, I ran a Google search of “Che Guevara hero” and “Che Guevara terrorist,” just to see which would get more hits. “Che Guevara hero:” 2,080,000

“Che Guevara terrorist:” 1,020,000
Already, I can see that the image of Che as a hero is dominant over the image of Che as a terrorist. There are over two times as many hits for “hero” as for “terrorist.” The first few hits for each were all articles and essays whose titles are all some variation of the generic, “Che Guevara: hero or terrorist?” I read through the first few, not too worried about finding “reliable” sources- the struggle for interpretive power is about what the general population believes, not just the authors of scholarly publications and encyclopedias. Some of these essays were well-researched and thought-provoking; others were rife with grammatical and factual errors. One article from the British publication “The Independent,” entitled “The Big Question: Who was Che Guevara, and does he deserve his iconic status?” listed the arguments for and against Che, while the article took a decidedly negative stance. Here is an excerpt, which outlines the arguments: “Was Che Guevara a hero or a villain?

Hero …
* Che was, and remains, an inspirational figure for revolutionaries against imperialism and social oppression the world over * The rise of anti-American, left-wing elected governments in South America shows that Che’s ideals still hold great appeal * Che was right to show with his life that the Cuban example could be followed only by spreading the revolution beyond Cuba’s shores Villain …

* If it were not for the Korda photograph hardly anyone would think about Che – after all, he was a flop as a revolutionary * The myth of Che – whether films, Andy Warhol artworks, or wall posters – mainly attracts style victims, not serious political activists * When he did, briefly, wield...
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