SHOW THE WORLD YOU'RE ONE OF 'THE WILD GEESE'
Father of Revolution, Son of Galway
By Joseph E. Gannon
Managing Editor, The Wild Geese Today
Now are you men, or are you kine, ye tillers of the soil?
Would you be free, or evermore the rich man's cattle toil?
The shadow on the dial hangs that points the fatal hour -
Now hold your own! or branded slaves, forever cringe and cower.
By Fanny Parnell (1849 - 1882)
He was one of the icons of the '60s revolutionaries; a hero then, and
still today, to many in the third world living under oppressive right
wing regimes. He helped Fidel Castro win his revolution in Cuba and at
the height of his career he was near the top of the list of the US
governments' most hated men. He was, of course, Earnesto Guevara Lynch
de la Serna, better known to the world as: Che Guevara.
Che (a nickname of Italian origin, meaning friend or buddy) was born in
1928 and grew up in a middle class family in Rosario, Argentina. His
father had a library which included books by Marx and Engels, and Freud;
books which young Earnesto devoured. He was affected by the dictatorship
of Peron in Argentina and later by the poverty and misery he saw among
his people when traveling through the country on his bicycle. After he
had finished his academic career, qualifying as a doctor and
specializing in dermatology, his experiences in Guatamala, where the CIA
was instrumental in overthrowing the government and installing a
military dictatorship, were the final steps in his radicalization.
Che met Fidel Castro in Mexico City in September of 1954 and soon joined
Castro's group, training as a revolutionary on a Mexican farm. He had
found his calling. Che was in the group of revolutionaries that sailed
for Cuba in November of 1956. A group of about 80 left from Mexico, but
only 12 made it safely to Cuba. Just 12 men, and yet in less than three
years these 12 would conquer the country; of such stuff are legends made.
Though Che started out as the doctor for the group, he was soon a
Commandante, leading men in battle.
Che was involved with the Cuban government for some years after the
revolution, but he had the heart of a revolutionary and was soon out of
the government and in Africa. His attempt at exporting revolution to the
Belgian Congo was a failure but through the attempt his legend grew. He
soon moved on to Bolivia, a country he thought was ripe for an uprising.
He was handsome, well educated, a man who could have had a comfortable
life as a doctor; yet he gave up all this, putting his life on the line
for the things he believed In the anti-Vietnam, anti-American era of the
'60s, Che became the poster boy (literally) for revolution. But his life
would come to a violent end on October 8th, 1967, when he was captured
and executed by Bolivian soldiers. His body was put on display by the
Bolivians and then put into a secret, unmarked grave along with some
In 1997 Che's body was found, dug up, and returned to Cuba. His remains
were met by Castro and members of Guevara's family. Eventually his body
will be placed in a mausoleum in the square that bears his name.
You might wonder why this article on Che is here, where we claim to run
news and historical information with an Irish connection. The answer is
in his name: Earnesto Guevara Lynch de la Serna. The Lynch that you see
there comes from Che's grandmother, Anna Isabel Lynch. Che Guevara's grandmother,
Ana, was the daughter of Patrick Lynch, who was born in Galway.
Che's father, Ernesto Guevara Lynch, said in a 1969 interview: "The first thing to note is that in my son's veins flowed the blood of the Irish rebels. Che inherited some of the features of our restless ancestors. There was something in his nature which drew him to distant wandering, dangerous adventures and new ideas".
Though one may, and many do, disagree with Che's politics, it is hard
not to admire a man who puts everything on the line for his beliefs;
especially one for whom life could have been so easy and prosperous, not
to mention long. Somehow we feel that his Galway
connections go a long way toward explaining a statement Castro once made
when speaking of Che. "It will be difficult to find a man who is his
equal. A revolutionary purer than he or more exemplary than he."
In his last letter to his children, Che wrote: ".... always remain
capable to feeling deeply whatever injustice is committed." Che Guevara:
father of revolution; son of Galway; one of the "Wild Geese."
Anderson, John Lee: Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life Grove Press
Hyams, Edward: A dictionary of modern revolution Taplinger Publishing
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