Quotable: Bret Gustafson on Che Guevara


“Che was assassinated during his attempt to create ‘many Vietnams’ on the continent, by launching a revolution in Bolivia. Unable to garner significant local support, Bolivian troops with U.S. Army and CIA backing tracked down Che and his men. Guevara was unceremoniously executed in a burst of machine gun fire in a rural schoolroom and his body was taken to the nearest city and put on display for the public and the press. Briefly useful as a sign of a Bolivia’s military success, his corpse was also deeply threatening. It bore the makings of a martyr, a saint, an icon, a call for future generations to emulate revolutionary sacrifice, a call to fearlessly confront death through armed struggle. Che’s body was thus quickly disappeared, though this did little to tame the ongoing power of its images.”

–Bret Gustafson, “Bolivia 9/11: Bodies and Power on a Feudal Frontier”

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