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Che Guevara Museum in Argentina (Childhood Home)

in Travel Blogs

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Entrance

The Che Guevara Musum in Argentina is small and quaint, you van visit on a day trip from Cordoba.  The actual city is called Alta Gracia, only an hour away from Cordoba, which houses the nice Che Guevara Museum.  The other option is to go to the German community which is sort of in the same direction south-west of the city but you must come back to Cordoba first if you want to go there.

We would not want to allow the tourist to do both in the same day. Now would we?  The German community Villa Gral Belgrano is past Alta Gracia.  So you would be expected to go back to Cordoba and then drive again on the same road you were just on, only to go further this time. However nonsensical this may seem it is again, the Argentine way.

The German community founded in 1930 boasts the third largest Oktoberfest in the world after the one in Munich Germany.  Incidentally the second largest one is in Brazil.  Most people don’t realize how many millions of Germans emigrated to South America in the 19 and 20 centuries bringing their food and traditions with them.  There wasn’t enough time to do both day trips but you can get an idea of  what an Oktoberfest is like in south America.

Photo Credit: Emis – Waz

Now about the Argentine folk hero Che, he is much misunderstood in many parts of the world. A lot of people in various corners of the world have chosen to focus on different aspects of his character and career that overlook the more sinister sides of his political activities.  He was born in Rosario in 1928 and Alta Gracia is the town of his childhood. The government bought the home that he grew up in and turned it into a museum. After studying medicine in Buenos Aires Che became a doctor.

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The Che you know

While he was in Guatemala he was a witness to the overthrow of the socialist government of President Arbenz. This was achieved by an American backed military coup. He was revolted at what he observed and decided to join Fidel Castro’s movement who was at that time in Mexico. The year was 1954.

He was now a Marxist revolutionary. In 1956 he along with Castro arrived in Cuba with 80 others to attempt to overthrown the government of Fulgencio Batista. After almost being annihilated by the government they regrouped and gradually gained territory. Once they took land they redistributed it to the peasants.

This gained them the loyalty of the local people who assisted them and often joined their struggle. In the effort to stop them the government of Cuba tortured people to gain information which increased support for the revolutionaries. As time went by the revolutionaries gained strength and finally took over the country in 1959.

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The Che You Don’t Know

In 1960, Che visited the Soviet Union and China. On his return he wrote two books about exporting revolutions to other countries in Latin America. He did serve as Minister for Industries (1961-65) under Castro but he wanted to continue the revolution where Castro wanted to consolidate power.

There is some evidence that he began to undermine Castro, once he found out, he had him removed from the Cuban government. Che resigned in 1965 and became a guerrilla leader in Bolivia. In 1967 Che was attempting to persuade tin miners living in poverty to join his revolutionary army.

He wasn’t too successful here because his guerrilla group had learned Quechua which was different from the language being spoken, Tupi-Guarani. It always pays to know who your audience is. He was captured, interrogated and then executed. The American CIA was very much involved in this sequence of events through Felix Rodriguez and David Morales. Rodriguez still has the Rolex watch he took from Che at the time.

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The Front of the Museum

Che is a folk hero and part of the counter revolutionary movement.  One of the things that I think about is what turned him into such a monster, look at the difference in pictures above. Many people neglect to say or acknowledge his responsibility for all of the deaths that he caused which indirectly leads to the hundreds of thousands of deaths. He personally ordered the deaths of thousands and even was reported to do the deed himself repeatedly. Castro ordered men to do his killing, Che killed with his bare hands.  After his execution he was buried in Bolivia. Later his remains were rediscovered moved to Cuba with honours in a mausoleum in 1997.

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