Latin America: Thirty Years After Che


  • James Petras



History, Imperialism


In the decade preceding Che Guevara's death and in the three decades following, revolutionary politics has ebbed and surged in four great waves. Revolutionary politics reflects regional variations in different historical moments, following diverse strategies and drawn from distinct social bases. The figure and ideas of Che Guevara have been influential and prescient in shaping the revolutionary debates and understanding their potentialities. Too many observers and commentators have taken a shortsighted view in their critical evaluation of Che's ideas and projections. For example, Che's decision to embark on a guerrilla project in the Congo (Zaire) has been described as a "failure," a "mistake," etc. Yet on the 30th anniversary of Che's death, after many turns and twists in the struggle, the U.S./French puppet regime of Mobutu was finally overthrown, precisely by a guerrilla army, led by one of the revolutionaries with whom Che collaborated. The premature judgments of pundits and armchair revolutionaries have been refuted by living historical experiences. Thus among the issues to be considered when analyzing Che Guevara's theory and practice of revolution are the time frame, the location and the political-economic context (at national, regional, and international levels).

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