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News > Latin America

Memory of Che Guevara Alive 49 Years After His Death

  • Guevara died at the age of 39, leaving behind a legacy of revolutionary thought and action.

    Guevara died at the age of 39, leaving behind a legacy of revolutionary thought and action. | Photo: AFP

Published 8 October 2016

"People may die, but their ideas will not," said Argentine revolutionary leader Ernesto "Che" Guevara.

October 9 marks the 49th anniversary of the death of Ernesto Guevara, the legendary guerrilla fighter and Cuban diplomat who became a key figure in the success of the Cuban Revolution and is today a symbol of rebellion and the battle for social equality around the world.

Remembering Ernesto 'Che' Guevara

Guevara traveled around Latin America where he saw first-hand inequality and injustice, as well as the interference and direct actions of the United States, through the CIA, to overthrow democratically elected governments that had the support of the poorest, and instead install regimes in support of their commercial and political interests in the region.

In Mexico City, Che meets the Castro brothers in 1955, Fidel and Raul, and joins the rebellion to overthrow U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. After the victory of the revolution, Guevara takes on several positions in the new government, managing agrarian reforms, as well as literacy and health programs. He was also a diplomat and represented revolutionary Cuba and its principles in international organizations, as he explained to the world the reality behind the social gains in Cuba.

WATCH: Che Guevara's UN Speech

He later returned to his role as a fighter in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bolivia, the country where he would eventually be captured and killed by Bolivian troops under the assistance of the CIA.

You Can Now Tour Che Guevara's Final Steps 49 Years After Death

Guevara was also a writer, and among his most famous books is his diary during the time he commanded the guerrilla in Bolivia, and a book written during an earlier motorcycle trip around South America with his close friend Alberto Granado that was made into a movie.

On Oct. 9, 1967, Ernesto Che Guevara was executed by a Bolivian soldier under the command of the government of Rene Barrientos Ortuño. After that, hundreds of movements across the region, and progressive governments have honored his life and the legacy he left for future generations to defend sovereignty and social justice.

"If you tremble with indignation at every injustice, then you are a comrade of mine," wrote Guevara once.

WATCH: Che's farewell letter to Fidel

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