We watched Che Part 1 last night with the family. It was interesting to watch it with young adults who were born after the end of the Cold War. There were lots of questions about why we were so freaked out about Communism getting a foothold in the Americas, and why we were so worried about the Cubans spreading the revolution to the rest of Latin America. I tried to explain the situation at the time, how the Soviets had openly proclaimed that their goal was world domination and that we were staring each other down, each with the power to annihilate not only each other, but maybe the human race. I was a in a bit over my head trying to explain.
I thought that Che was portrayed a little too sympathetically, too much the hero. In the context of the revolution and the overthrow of Batista he appears heroic, but in the context of history, he was dedicated to a system just as brutal as the oligarchy he fought against. That was our dilemma in Latin America, we supported oppressive dictatorships because they were on our side, against the communists. It was like making a pact with the devil. And the conditions of the people in those countries made them fertile soil for revolution. My brother, who spent most of his military career in Latin America, once told me that in the countries where the peasants did not own the land, the communists couldn’t lose, and in the ones where the peasants owned their land, they could not win. Hence, in Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in the world, but where the land was owned by the peasants and not by an oligarchy, he was unable to muster support for his insurgence and was eventually killed.
The narrative was hard to follow, but I didn’t think that the action was as important as the glimpse into the mind of the man himself, for better or for worse.