Guevara De La Serna, Ernesto


Guevara De La Serna, Ernesto
(Che)
(1928–1967)
   Born in Rosario, Argentina, Che Guevara trained in medicine but spent his life engaged in various political struggles in Latin America. In 1954 he was involved in the struggle against the Central Intelligence Agency–inspired overthrow of President Jacopo Arbenz. Between 1956 and 1965 he was involved with Fidel Castro and Cuban affairs, first in the struggle against Batista and then, after the rebels won power, as president of the National Bank, minister of industries, and director of the Industrial Development Section of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform. In 1965 he went to Bolivia in an attempt to foment revolution against the military authorities. He led a guerrilla band that was captured by the Bolivian army, who executed him the day after his capture.
   Guevara’s Marxism consisted of applying Marxism to Latin American conditions and modifying it in light of those conditions. He rejected any “stageist” understanding of Marxism that required the workers to wait for a bourgeois revolution before they could create a socialist revolution. He believed in forcing through revolutions with individuals and vanguard groups, and not in “iron laws of history” inevitably resulting in revolution. Change in consciousness precedes development of the forces of production, and moral incentives must drive the revolution not material ones. The masses, and Guevara stressed the role of the peasantry here, must be led by those in the vanguard who had the necessary political consciousness. He was a strong advocate of guerrilla warfare in Latin America, arguing that guerrilla bands could be catalysts for revolution, and he stressed the importance of military action over political action in the various struggles in which he was involved. In terms of socialist society he believed it must be based on new non-capitalist structures, with the old destroyed, and a planned economy replacing the capitalist market economy. Ultimately, communism for Guevara was about the creation of a new human being with a new consciousness, free and complete.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.

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