Che Guevara graphic novel review

This is a music video of Comandante Che Guevara, by Nathalie Cardone.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Che’s comic turn

(Sunday 09 November 2008)

Ché: A Graphic Biography by Spain Rodriguez
(Verso, £9.99)

MICHAL BONCZA finds fresh light cast on a revolutionary icon in a tale with a twist.

THERE isn’t much about Che Guevara that hasn’t been said 1,000 times, but this graphical approach to retelling his tale as a strip cartoon is certainly exciting.

Manuel “Spain” Rodriguez began his career in the comics underground of Zed Comics alongside Robert Crumb and has a deserved high reputation as a political artist.

Here, sharp editing by Paul Buhle produces a nice, highly engaging tempo.

Buhle believes that comics started with cave paintings and sit somewhere between oral storytelling and written narratives, which they certainly preceded by millennia.

Rodriguez’ dynamic style, with its film-camera-like movement from frame to frame, continuously engages the imagination with broad vistas as well as exquisite characterisation in close-up.

All the comic’s traditional graphic devices of onomatopoeias, speech bubbles and background text work in perfect harmony, making the turning of pages irresistible.

Che‘s extraordinary appeal owes much to the current emergence of mass popular movements in Latin America led not by the traditional criollo elites, but, for the first time, the native Indians.

In Bolivia, Che‘s inability to speak Quechua or other local dialects proved a major handicap.

This is alluded to when, on his trip through the continent and travelling on the back of a lorry in Peru, he tried to communicate with fellow passengers, but none spoke Spanish.

In a postscript to The Motorcycle Diaries, Che refers to a conversation he had with a fellow traveller he thought was eastern European.

The man apparently told Che with extraordinary foresight “you will die with your fist clenched and your jaw tensed, a perfect manifestation of struggle.”

His face pensive but hard, Che’s last words to his executioner were: “Shoot, coward. You are only killing a man.”

The fear Che put in the heart of his killer and that of every oppressor throughout the continent was such that his body was buried in an unmarked grave in the dead of the night.

But they couldn’t bury the aspirations that he embodied and which time has shown to have been correct all along.

See also here. And here. And here.

Unpublished until now, CHE GUEVARA’S diaries of the revolutionary war in Cuba reveal both his candour and political acuity: here.

12 thoughts on “Che Guevara graphic novel review

  1. Morales praises Che at Vallegrande

    Bolivia: President Evo Morales participated in a tribute to communist leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara on Thursday.

    Che was “invincible in his ideals,” Mr Morales said at a ceremony in Vallegrande, the town in Bolivia where the slain guerilla’s body was displayed after he had been killed on October 8 1967.

    Che was killed by CIA-backed Bolivian soldiers while trying to foment an armed uprising in the under-developed country.


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  7. Monday 9th
    posted by Morning Star in Features

    OLLIE HOPKINS writes on the life, times and legacy of the revolutionary hero Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

    HALF a century ago, on October 9 1967, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, was assassinated by Mario Teran, a Bolivian army officer, following orders from the CIA. The Argentinian-born Cuban revolutionary hero died leading a guerilla struggle against the US-backed Bolivian military regime of Rene Barrientos, eight years after playing a leading role in the Cuban revolution.

    Commemorations will take place in Cuba and in Vallegrande, Bolivia, where Che’s remains were buried before being returned to Cuba in 1997.

    Cuban first vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel will attend as well as Che’s four children, who all live in Cuba. Aleida Guevara, Che’s eldest daughter, will also be in Britain and Ireland for a speaking tour in November to mark the anniversary.

    Over the last 50 years, Che’s image has become a globally recognised symbol, seen by millions the world over as the embodiment of the Cuban revolution and the struggle for a better world.

    The enduring legacy of the Cuban revolution has been at the heart of the longevity of Che’s legend.

    It has delivered sovereignty, dignity and independence to the Cuban people, with achievements including free and universal healthcare, education and social care, despite all the difficulties imposed by the US blockade.

    Che said Cuba “is one of the places where the principles upholding the right of small countries to sovereignty are put to the test day by day, minute by minute.”

    The US has certainly put Cuba’s sovereignty to the test, with the blockade, the Bay of Pigs invasion, subversion, assassination attempts on its leaderships, regime change attempts, the deliberate introduction of dengue fever onto the island, and US-backed groups have carried out terrorist attacks, killing over 3,400 Cubans. But Cuba has defied all the odds and successfully resisted these attacks from its superpower neighbour.

    The island continues to be a beacon to the global south, with its spirit of internationalism and an unwavering resolve to make Che’s vision of “another world is possible” a reality.

    Che, a qualified doctor, dreamed of a world in which medics would use their expertise “in the service of the revolution and the people.” Cuban medics have led by this example.

    The country’s health internationalism began in 1960, following an earthquake in Chile. Cuban medics were sent beyond Latin America for the first time in 1963, to Algeria, following a request from the government.

    From the mountains of Kashmir, to the Amazon rainforest, Cuban medics have saved lives all around the globe, with more than 325,000 professionals sent to 158 countries since the revolution.

    It is a testament to the morality the revolution that almost 40 years after murdering Che, Cuban doctors performed a cataract operation on Mario Teran, restoring his eyesight, as part of the “Operation Miracle” programme.

    Teran is one of the six million people in Latin America whose eyesight has been restored by the programme, free of charge.

    Why is Che still so important today? Beyond his unique abilities as a guerilla, a doctor and a government minister, his analysis of US imperialism is as important today as it was over 50 years ago. Much of Che’s iconic speech at the UN in 1964 can be applied in 2017. He called for “a halt to the economic blockade” and for “withdrawal from the Guantanamo naval base and return of the Cuban territory occupied by the United States.”

    He also highlighted the hypocrisy of US intervention in Latin America taking place under the guise of “freedom,” while it continued to oppress its own African-American and Hispanic communities.

    “It must be clearly established,” he said, “that the government of the United States is not the champion of

    freedom, but rather the perpetrator of exploitation and oppression against the peoples of the world and against a large part of its own population.”

    During Che’s brief time in New York at the UN, two terrorist attacks on him failed — a snapshot of the constant attacks that Cuba has endured since the revolution.

    A woman attempted a knife attack on his entrance, and while he was delivering his speech, three men fired a bazooka at the UN headquarters, falling just short.

    The New York Times reported how the blast was clearly heard in the hall, but Che, “paused not a moment in his speech.” True to his word, Che never gave an inch to imperialism.

    According to the US State Department, the motive of the blockade was to “create hunger, desperation and

    the overthrowing of the Cuban government.”This has clearly failed, and Che noted how the policy of economic warfare instead led to “a national awareness and fighting spirit within the Cuban people to overcome.”

    Over 50 years later, through Cuba’s resistance and international solidarity, the US blockade now faces international condemnation.

    Next month, on November 1, the UN general assembly will vote for the 26th consecutive year on Cuba’s resolution to end the blockade.

    One hundred and ninety-one countries are expected to vote in favour, with only the US and Israel to vote against, following US President Donald Trump’s new hard line on Cuba.

    Cuba’s report to the UN notes how the blockade has cost the Cuban economy over $822 billion in damages. It continues to cause shortages in all aspects of life.

    So much has changed in the world in the last half a century, but the blockade remains in place, an outdated cold war relic.

    In addition to the huge economic impact on the island, its extraterritoriality continues to affect countries all over the world, including Britain — an affront to British sovereignty.

    Cuban students are currently banned from enrolling at the Open University due to US legislation and the Cuba Solidarity Campaign had its Co-operative Bank account closed in 2015 due to fear of the US Treasury Department’s office of foreign assets control (OFAC) fines. British banks have paid huge multimillion-dollar fines to OFAC due to blockade legislation.

    In the summer of 2015, diplomatic relations were re-established between the US and Cuba, following former president Barack Obama’s rapprochement — but the blockade remained in place.

    Trump’s arrival in the White House has led to the blockade being tightened further, and last week he reduced the US diplomatic staff in Havana by 60 per cent and expelled the same percentage of Cuban diplomats from Washington. US hostility to Cuba is again on the ascendance.

    Throughout the last half century, and the diplomatic negotiations the last few years, Cuba’s position has remained the same; the blockade must be lifted and the US must respect Cuba’s sovereignty.

    Che’s words from an ABC interview in 1964 remain pertinent. When asked: “What would you like to see the United States do, as regards Cuba?” He replied: “Nothing. Nothing in all respects. Nothing for or against us. Just leave us alone.”

    • Ollie Hopkins is the campaigns officer for the Cuba Solidarity Campaign.

    • Aleida Guevara will be speaking on a Cuba Solidarity Campaign tour in London, Belfast, north Wales, Manchester, Sheffield and Glasgow, November 4-11 2017. Visit for more details.


  8. Tuesday 10th October 2017

    posted by James Tweedie in World

    Bolivian tribute to revolutionary hero who died 50 years ago

    BOLIVIAN President Evo Morales retraced the last footsteps of Che Guevara on Sunday — 50 years after the guerilla fighter was killed leading an attempted revolution there.

    Mr Morales travelled to the remote mountain hamlet of La Higuera, where the Argentinian-born veteran of the Cuban revolution was summarily executed on October 9 1967.

    “This struggle continues and will continue as long as capitalism and imperialism exist,” he said.

    The event was part of a five-day international conference on Che’s anti-imperialist struggle in nearby Vallegrande that concluded yesterday.

    Two of Che’s comrades-in-arms from the Bolivian expedition, Brigadier General Harry Villegas — alias Pombo — and Colonel Leonardo Tamayo — alias Urban — travelled to Bolivia for the commemoration.

    Che’s children Aleida, Celia, Camilo and Ernesto were also part of the Cuban delegation.

    Mr Morales said: “We live in different times, times of democratic liberation.

    “Fifty or 60 years ago the struggle was very different — it was with guns, with bullets. Now the struggle is with the conscience and the vote. They are democratic revolutions.”

    Gen Villegas, who was also with Che in the Belgian Congo, said: “We came to help a group of young progressives who wanted a different Bolivia, a more equitable Boliva.”

    He expressed his deep emotion at returning to the sites “where we gave something of our own lives.”

    “Imagine, there was another time when I had to run so, when I had to fight, when I had to kill and when I had to struggle to survive.”

    After serving in the government of revolutionary Cuba for several years, in 1965 Che led a guerilla column in a march across the Congo in support of the Simba liberation movement.

    In 1966 he led a similar revolutionary expedition against Bolivia’s military dictatorship.

    He was shot without trial the day after his capture by troops backed by the US CIA — and allegedly advised by fugitive nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie.

    Sergeant Mario Teran, who carried out Che’s execution, later lost his sight to cataracts — only to have it restored by Cuban surgeons in 2006 as part of the continent-wide Mission Miracle programme.


  9. The New York Times published a lengthy feature article Monday on the anniversary, interviewing witnesses to Che’s capture and subsequent assassination by Bolivian soldiers. Notably absent from the piece was any mention of the presence at Guevara’s execution of the CIA agent Felix Rodriguez, a Bay of Pigs veteran assigned to hunt down the guerrilla leader. Rodriguez went on to participate in the Operation Phoenix assassination campaign in Vietnam and the Iran-Contra affair. This professional killer subsequently claimed that his intention had been to transport the guerrilla leader to Panama for interrogation and, undoubtedly, torture, but that the order to kill him had come down from the Bolivian army command.

    This omission amounts to a form of historical revisionism that defies innocent explanation. Rather, the attempt to write the CIA out of what constituted a criminal assassination is in keeping with the close ties between the Times editorial board and the US intelligence apparatus.


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