- How and when did Che and Fidel meet? And, under what circumstances?
Severe pictures of poverty strongly influenced Ernesto’s mind and made him more radical. As a result, he became an adherent of Marxism. The story of young and intelligent revolutionist Fidel Castro inspired him even more. Che was eager to meet him, but Fidel had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for an attempt to overthrow Cuban’s president regime. In two years he was released and immediately came to Mexico City. Only then, with the help of Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother, Ernesto met his hero in August, 1955. After all-night meeting, Che wrote about Fidel, “He is a young man, intelligent, very sure of himself” (Media Frenzy, 2012). Both of them were ambitious and radical, moreover, they had the same enemy – the U.S. It united them and led to a long-term cooperation.
- Where did the name "Che" come from? What does it mean?
After August meeting of revolutionists, Ernesto joined Fidel Castro’s movement. As far as he was the only person in this group who was not Cuban, they started to call him “Che”. This word has Argentinean origin and means ‘Hey You.’
- Describe the takeover of Cuba? What year it was and what are the stages of it?
The takeover of Cuba lasted for more than five years and was conducted by Fidel Castro. It was called the 26th of July Movement. This name originated from the first unsuccessful revolt against Fulgencio Batista in 1953. Punishment and prison did not stop the fight. Moreover, Fidel started to train his army in a Mexico City in 1955. Although the entire group was arrested in a month, they did not give up their ideas and their movement had to go underground.
At 2 a.m., November 25, 1955, a group of 92 young men on the boat “Grandma,” departed from Mexico City expecting to reach Cuba in 5 days. The voyage appeared to be more complicated than they had thought, thus, they landed two days late. People were exhausted and sick, that is why unexpected attack of Fulgencio Batista’s army was a total disaster for Fidel. 17 survivors decided to move to Sierra Maestra, where guerilla movement was based. Local people met strangers with suspicion and fear, but Fidel did his best to convince them to join the revolt. Fidel was gathering his forces and preparing a plan for attack. In January 1957, they began the fight. January 22 is the date of the first Che Guevara’s battle and his first murder. Though there were only about 20 men, they gained a fearful reputation.
While the U.S. provided Batista’s army with weapons, American teens and local people volunteered to join Fidel’s army. Up to that time, there were more than 300 soldiers who were ready to fight against dictatorship. The fame of brave and indulgent Che Guevara grew, and in July, 1957, Fidel made him a commander. During next 2 years, their popularity and power were raising; they created their radio and newspaper.
Fidel decided to extend the war on the territory of entire Cuba. Guerilla army moved from the South to Santa Clara, a large city of Cuba. Barista army was stronger and more equipped, but Ernesto used psychological tactics, which allowed them to win. 8 January 1959 is known as the end of Revolution. Fidel Castro’s army entered Havana with the great victory. They gained control over Cuba.
- How did Fidel cut ties with the S.?
Che Guevara was an adherent of Marxism. He wanted to establish Communism over the territory o the U.S. He shared these ideas with Fidel Castro, and later they created the secret outline of future communist Cuba. First, they introduced agrarian reform laws and regulation of private property that made the economic situation even worse. Nevertheless, Che Guevara could not change this plan, as he continued to cooperate with the Soviet Union and restrict the U.S. influence. Finally, he took a radical decision for Cuba to become economically independent from the U.S. and cut all ties with them. The Cuban government nationalized all American property, such as electricity stations, ports, television stations, etc.
- What did the S. do in response?
In response, the U.S. broke all diplomatic relations with Cuba. Moreover, they announced trade embargo on all exports to Cuba. It symbolized the beginning of the Cold War.
- What type of government ruled Cuba after the Cuban Revolution?
After the victory of Fidel Castro’s army, the capitalistic system came to an end. New government was uncontrollable and strict. Although Fidel Castro rejected that he was a communist and saw himself as a democratic humanist, it was not really so. Secretly, Fidel worked with Cuban communist party. Together with Che Guevara, they were eager to create socialist society. The Communist party of Cuba is still the only official party in the Republic of Cuba.
- What does ‘nationalization of the land' means in the context of the Cuba?
Agrarian Reform Law in 1959 is based on nationalization principles. It involves seizure of agricultural lands and compulsory exportation procedure. Cubans were disappointed with this policy and a lot of residents left Cuba.
- Who was the President of the S. during that time?
During the Cuban Revolution, Eisenhower was a President of the U.S.
- Why did the S. try to invade Cuba?
There were thousands of killed people in Cuba. The residents did not want to live under this regime, thus, Fidel could not be tolerated by Americans any longer. As far as Cuban leader was uncontrollable, American government created the plan to overthrow his regime. First, the U.S. tried to poison Fidel, but as plan had failed, they decided to invade Cuba in 1961. President Eisenhower signed the plan of invasion and the secret war began. The invasion started from the South, from Playa Giron, but the American forces were strangled for 48 hours. That was a disaster for the U.S.
- Who gave the Cubans protection from the S.? How did it change their alliance?
It was obvious to the Cuban government that the U.S. could invade again. Thus, they turned to the Soviet Union for protection. Che Guevara had a negotiation with Khrushchev, while Cuba expected the USSR to help them. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union suddenly betrayed Fidel and signed an agreement with the U.S. This situation changed the alliance between the countries. Due to this, Che Guevara found a new Cuban ally – China.
- What letter did Fidel Castro read publicly? Why?
As a respond to news reports about Che Guevara’s death, Castro read his private letter publicly. In this letter, he wrote, “I formally resign my positions in the leadership of the party, my post as minister, my rank of commander, and my Cuban citizenship. Nothing legal binds me to Cuba” (Media Frenzy, 2012). Che Guevara did not expect Fidel to read his letter publicly, and it stronggly influenced Ernesto. This period became a dark and sorrowful time of his life.
- What war Che was trying to launch in Latin America?
Che Guevara wanted to extend communistic ideas all over the world with the help of guerilla troops. The revolts had to begin in Latin America and later on spread all over the continent. He believed that it could change the world order forever.
- What country he started an arm struggle in?
Che Guevara went to Congo in 1965 to help with leading guerilla war. There was nothing prepared for this struggle. Moreover, people had neither knowledge, nor ideology. Ernesto’s hope of successful campaign disappeared. They did not get victory in this revolt. Therefore, Castro made him finish this mission and return the troops to Cuba.
- Who was Tania?
Tania was an East German spy and a possible KGB agent. She was a supporter of the revolution. Tania was one of the few people who stayed with Che Guevara in Bolivia. Moreover, she was a link between the guerilla troops and outside world. Tania helped to find necessary things before the battles. Once, she had to stay with guerilla in the jungle. She was the only woman in the group of exhausted and hungry men. She became ill and could hardly walk. Nevertheless, she did not stop to fight. Finally, she was shot by ambush.
- What happened in Bolivia?
As far as Che Guevara refused to return to Cuba, Fidel sent him to Bolivia where he wanted to train guerilla troops and start a revolution. Ernesto ruled a small group of people, because he could not find supporters there. The life in jungle was severe and dangerous. Bolivian army captured two supporters of Che Guevara, and during interrogation, they confirmed that Ernesto was alive and located in Bolivian jungle. As a result, American agents went to Bolivia to train Bolivian army. The U.S. invested a great amount of money for this campaign.
Ernesto tried to escape with his supporters. He divided his group into two parts and both of them had to meet near the river. Nevertheless, the man who was supposed to help them cross the river betrayed their group. The first column came exactly to ambush, where most of them were killed. The second column with Che Guevara was wondering through dangerous Bolivian jungle for 10 or more months. All of them felt terrible, they were ill, hungry, and some were already insane. Hundreds of people were searching for them, and during a few ambushes, most of the second column guerillas were killed, and Che Guevara was finally caught on October 8, 1967.
- What was the end like for Che?
The CIA officers imprisoned Che in a small Bolivian school to wait for decision of Americans who could save him. Nevertheless, Bolivian people wanted his death. Félix Rodríguez, CIA officer, did not wait for an answer from Washington. The radio had already reported about his death in battle, so he decided to proceed with the execution order. The last thing Guevara asked was to say his wife to be happy and remarry. Young officer volunteered to kill him with nine shots. In order for the people to believe that it was really his body, officers had to cut both of his hands and send them to Cuba. After that, his body disappeared. They did not allow Ernesto’s followers to pay tribute to him. Many people all over the world came for demonstrations against his execution.
Nowadays, he is an inspirational icon of revolution. He tried to change the world, and his ideas have not died yet.