RSS FeedFacebookSearch
Gary Younge
Che family album presents new image of revolutionary

But this week his family revealed an entirely different image than the one across T-shirts on the backs of the young and posters on bedsit walls.

A 305-page memoir, presented in Havana, Cuba, offers rare black-and-white shots from the Guevara family album of Che in his mid-30s disguised as a balding old man with crooked teeth with his wife Aleida March de la Torre.

The pictures are believed to have been taken around 1965 when Guevara was preparing to travel outside Cuba incognito to foment revolution in other countries. Two years later he was killed while trying to lead a rural uprising in Bolivia.

His daughter, Aleida Guevara March, said the photographs represent her last image of her father.

"This is a book that is very close to my heart," she said of the letters and photographs in Self-Portrait: Guevara.

Guevara's writings reveal an introspective man quick to admit his mistakes and demand more of himself.

Born in Argentina in 1928 to wealthy parents, Guevara trained as a doctor but was radicalised by his exposure to poverty while travelling around South and Central America, most famously on a motorcycle with his friend Alberto Granado.

In 1959 he helped lead the Cuban revolution to oust the dictator Fulgencio Batista and put Fidel Castro into power. Disillusioned with Soviet-style communism he went to Africa and South America to back guerrilla rebellions which failed.

His journey from middle-class comfort to working-class champion and his long-haired, unkempt look mirrored the aspirations and self-image of the Woodstock generation as they demonstrated against the Vietnam war.

While these photographs put him in a new light they are unlikely to overshadow the most widespread image of him taken by Alberto Korda at a memorial service in March 1960. Korda took two quick snaps of Guevara, wearing a black beret, as he stepped onto the podium and scanned the crowd. The shot of him gazing into the distance was embraced by anti-capitalists soon after his death and to Korda's irritation would be used to market Smirnoff vodka long after it.

"I am categorically against the exploitation of Che's image for the promotion of products such as alcohol or for any purpose that denigrates the reputation of Che," said Korda, who won a $50,000 (£27,280) in an out-of-court settlement and donated it to the Cuban medical system.

The diary entries, letters and poems in the memoir are said to provide an intimate look at the man, whose gender politics at home were anything but radical.

In a letter to his family from overseas, Guevara told his daughters to help their mother in the house and his sons to to become revolutionary soldiers.

© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc
Stranger in a Strange Land – Encounters in the Disunited States
book review
'It often takes an outsider to look inside. This is especially true of the United States.'
 follow on twitter
RT @StreetDoctors: @garyyounge Every day a young person is stabbed on our streets. #ApplyPressure shows young people what to do if someone…
RT @typemediacenter: “[Stormzy’s] political voice is central to his meaning both as a public figure and a performer,” writes @garyyounge in…
RT @eldiarioes: ADELANTO EDITORIAL | 'Un día más en la muerte de EEUU': rescatar del olvido las historias de 10 adolescentes asesinados htt…
RT @disruptionary: It was 2002. My dad was stop & frisked for having a Muslim name. He was detained w/o a phone call to his family for…
RT @DawnButlerBrent: This is gonna be BIG ✊🏾💪🏾 Join me this Sunday in London with special guests 👤 to hear about my campaign and how we’re…
RT @PalFest: The United Nations has published a much-delayed list of 112 companies with business ties to Israeli settlements in Palestine.…
RT @DawnButlerBrent: Deporting Boris would … ✅ Help save the planet ✅ Reduce corruption ✅ Stop the Hostile Environment All in favour say…
RT @ameliagentleman: ““I admit what I did was wrong. I know I am guilty of dangerous driving but it wasn’t a stolen car; nobody was hurt, I…
RT @jeremycorbyn: If there was a case of a young white boy with blonde hair, who later dabbled in class A drugs and conspired with a friend…
© Gary Younge. All Rights reserved, site built with tlc