October 9, 1967: Revolutionary executed without trial by CIA-backed Bolivian forces

“Your father has been a man who acted on his beliefs and has certainly been loyal to his convictions. Grow up as good revolutionaries. Remember that the revolution is what is important, and each one of us, alone is worth nothing. Above all, always be capable of feeling deeply any injustice committed against anyone, anywhere in the world. This is the most beautiful quality in a revolutionary.” -Excerpt from A Letter from Che to his Children, “Grow Up as Good Revolutionaries

Che at 31.

Che at 31.

An Argentine physician, father, author, philosopher, intellectual and leader of the Cuban Revolution, Che has remained in the public consciousness for more nearly half a century. He radicalized many of his contemporaries and his image remains a fixture in nearly every facet of society: advertising, art, entertainment, politics, graffiti.

“Che Guevara is an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom.” -Nelson Mandela

“Che was the most complete human being of our age.” -Jean-Paul Sartre

In 1965, Che left Cuba and broke all ties with the nation-state. In a letter to Fidel Castro he states:

I carry to new battlefronts the faith that you taught me, the revolutionary spirit of my people, the feeling of fulfilling the most sacred of duties: to fight against imperialism wherever it may be. This is a source of strength, and more than heals the deepest of wounds.

He spent the final years of his life working to the fulfillment of a global revolution of “full independence from all forms of colonial oppression” and “peaceful coexistence among states with different economic and social systems.” During a 1964 address at the United Nations, he explains his comrades’ goals:

We want to build socialism. We have declared that we are supporters of those who strive for peace. We have declared ourselves to be within the group of Nonaligned countries, although we are Marxist-Leninists, because the Nonaligned countries, like ourselves, fight imperialism. We want peace. We want to build a better life for our people. That is why we avoid, in so far as possible, falling into the provocations manufactured by the Yankees. But we know the mentality of those who govern them. They want to make us pay a very high price for that peace. We reply that the price cannot go beyond the bounds of dignity.