Why Are Young People Obsessed With Che Guevara?

By Julia Glavas


Many Americans can’t help but notice that many young people, particularly college students, have T-shirts, posters, and other merchandise of Argentinian Marxist revolutionary, Che Guevara. Why? Many of us can recall not only Che Guevara’s contempt for life but also his history of casual racism and persecution of the LGBTQ+ community, which goes entirely against the left’s zest for intersectionality. This obsession is one of aesthetic and superficial politics. 

Guevara’s rugged looks and ill-defined, over-romanticized quest to eliminate the vague boogieman of colonialism or whatever broad ideology that involves capitalist “oppression” appeals to young people. They want to feel a part of the “revolution” and the counterculture that comes with youthful angst.

Of course, these people haven’t bothered to dig just a little deeper into Guevara’s legacy to find out why politically-educated people are so frustrated by their idolization of him. Let’s just say you typically won’t see a college student wearing a shirt of Osama Bin Laden since our culture has accurately depicted him as the murderer he truly was. Sadly, the same can’t be said for Che Guevara, although it can be argued they were similar in their terrorist tendencies and indifference to murder. 

Once put in charge of the firing squads by Castro himself, 30,000 Cubans lost their lives, and women and children were certainly not spared. There were also Guevara’s so-called “trials” where evidence was optional, and he played the judge, jury, and executioner. 1 All in the name of the revolution, right?

It also turned out Guevara really liked killing people, and he showed this in his diary where he wrote of his love for the smell of the “blood of the enemy,” and once announced that he desired to become an “effective, violent, selective, and cold killing machine.” 2

Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, Guevara expressed disappointment in Khruschev and the USSR for not following his advice in starting a full-blown atomic war and once stated that the world “must proceed along the path of liberation, even if this costs millions of atomic victims.” He also believed the Cuban people would feel “completely happy and fulfilled” if “an atomic war was unleashed in [their] names.” It’s unclear how the Cuban people would feel delighted while suffering from severe radioactive sickness and the melting of their skin from their faces, but we’ll have to get back to you on that. 3

These cases of historical ignorance among young people are evident due to our faulty education system and its incompetence to accurately portray Che Guevara and Cuba under Castro in an accurate light (if they teach of Guevara to students at all.) 

About Julia

Twitter: @JuliaGlavas

Instagram: @juliaglav

Julia Glavas was born and raised on Long Island, New York. She is currently a sixteen-year-old student at Smithtown High School West. Striving for a degree in political science, she frequently writes political editorials for her school's newspaper and website.

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