History vs. Che Guevara – Alex Gendler


His face is recognized all over the world. The young medical student
who became a revolutionary icon. But was Che Guevara
a heroic champion of the poor or a ruthless warlord
who left a legacy of repression? Order, order. Hey, where have I seen that guy before? Ahem, your Honor, this is Ernesto Che Guevara. In the early 1950s, he left behind a privileged life
as a medical student in Argentina to travel through rural Latin America. The poverty and misery he witnessed
convinced him that saving lives required more than medicine. So he became a terrorist seeking to violently overthrow
the region’s governments. What? The region’s governments
were brutal oligarchies. Colonialism may have formally ended, but elites still controlled
all the wealth. American corporations bought up land
originally seized from indigenous people and used it for profit and export, even keeping most of it uncultivated
while locals starved. Couldn’t they vote to change that? Oh, they tried, your Honor. In 1953, Che came to Guatemala under the democratically-elected
government of President Árbenz. Árbenz passed reforms to redistribute some of this uncultivated
land back to the people while compensating the landowners. But he was overthrown
in a CIA-sponsored coup. The military was protecting against
the seizure of private property and communist takeover. They were protecting corporate profits and Che saw that they would use
the fear of communism to overthrow any government
that threatened those profits. So he took the lessons of Guatemala
with him to Mexico. There, he met exiled Cuban revolutionaries and decided to help them
liberate their country. You mean help Fidel Castro
turn a vibrant Cuba into a dictatorship. Dictatorship was what Cuba
had before the revolution. Fulgencio Batista was a tyrant
who came to power in a military coup. He turned Havana into a luxury playground
for foreigners while keeping Cubans mired in poverty and
killing thousands in police crackdowns. Even President Kennedy called it
the worst example of “economic colonization, humiliation,
and exploitation in the world.” Whatever Batista’s faults, it can’t compare to the totalitarian
nightmare Castro would create. Forced labor camps, torture of prisoners,
no freedom to speak or to leave. But this isn’t the trial
of Fidel Castro, is it? Che Guevara was instrumental in helping
Castro seize power. As a commander in his guerilla army, he unleashed a reign of terror
across the countryside, killing any suspected spies or dissenters. He also helped peasants build
health clinics and schools, taught them to read, and even recited poetry to them. His harsh discipline was necessary
against a much stronger enemy who didn’t hesitate to burn entire
villages suspected of aiding the rebels. Let’s not forget that the new regime
held mass executions and killed hundreds
of people without trial as soon as they took power in 1959. The executed were officials
and collaborators who had tormented
the masses under Batista. The people supported
this revolutionary justice. Which people? An angry mob crying for blood
does not a democracy make. And that’s not even mentioning
the forced labor camps, arbitrary arrests, and repression of LGBT people
that continued long after the revolution. There’s a reason people kept
risking their lives to flee, often with nothing but the clothes
on their backs. So was that all this Che brought to Cuba? Just another violent dictatorship? Not at all. He oversaw land redistribution, helped established universal education, and organized volunteer literacy brigades
that raised Cuba’s literacy rate to 96%, still one of the highest in the world. Which allowed the government to control
what information everyone received. Guevara’s idealistic incompetence
as Finance Minister caused massive drops in productivity when he replaced worker pay raises
with moral certificates. He suppressed all press freedom, declaring that newspapers
were instruments of the oligarchy. And it was he who urged Castro
to host Soviet nuclear weapons, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis that brought the world
to the brink of destruction. He was a leader, not a bureaucrat. That’s why he eventually left to spread
the revolution abroad. Which didn’t go well. He failed to rally rebels in the Congo and went to Bolivia
even when the Soviets disapproved. The Bolivian Government,
with the help of the CIA, was able to capture and neutralize
this terrorist in 1967, before he could do much damage. While doing plenty of damage themselves
in the process. So that was the end of it? Not at all. As Che said,
the revolution is immortal. He was publicly mourned in cities
all over the world. Not by the Cubans who managed to escape. And his story would inspire
young activists for generations to come. Ha. A trendy symbol of rebellion for those
who never had to live under his regime. Symbols of revolution
may become commodified, but the idea of a more just world remains. Maybe, but I’m not sharing my coffee. Che Guevara was captured and
executed by government forces in Bolivia. His remains would not be found
for another 30 years. But did he die a hero
or had he already become a villain? And should revolutions be judged
by their ideals or their outcomes? These are the questions we face
when we put history on trial.

100 thoughts on “History vs. Che Guevara – Alex Gendler

  1. Check out the trials we staged for other controversial historical figures in our series, History vs.: http://bit.ly/2iWHQ2t
    We love this series, and we're so grateful to everyone supporting us on Patreon because you help make this work possible! Want to learn more about how to get involved? Check out our Patreon page: http://bit.ly/2jqo6Uw

  2. This is my first episode I’ve been of this series. Subscribing now

  3. Ugh…. so much is wrong with this it's not even funny… why are we comparing communism with capitalism? There is already so much evidence of which is the worst.

  4. He was NOT a terrorist! In fact he was against the terrorism. #Ignorance

  5. Obviously a psychopathic killer . Those who knew him most where sickened by his apparent eagerness to shoot his victims in the face by first staring them in the eyes. His youngest victim was an eight year old boy.If that’s your hero that’s who you are.

  6. I currently live in Miami, specifically Little Havana. I got a few witnesses for the prosecution who fled Cuba, had family members jailed or executed, had property seized and lived under the oppressive Cuban government. My neighborhood is full of witnesses.

  7. Happy with this as a more balanced take on Che Guevara than I usually come across.

  8. For me, as a person of cuban descent, Che Guevara was first and foremost a murderer, someone who did not hesitate to murder a person that disagrees with his ideas or methods of conducting his failed economic policies that he put into practice in Cuba in the early 1960´s…The radical Left in the developed world ideolizes him, because they Never had to lived under a totalitarian comunist régime…That´s the most important fact about the history of this handsome bloody argentinian caracter…

  9. It's people like him who are the TRUE HEROES regardless of what the Right Wing Zionist run, Western Fake News Media thinks of them!

  10. Quite depressing how the theme of these videos seem to be ‘Yes, they did horrible things, but it was justified at the time’

  11. 3:10 wait what? They did have fair trials spanning several months that were described as "above board, if summary" with lawyers, prosecutors, witnesses and an attending public. No executions were passed for civilians, only members of the police or military. And Che urged the judges to be scrupulous about weighing the evidence in each case. If the accused had simply hit a prisoner, they of course wouldn't be executed. The death sentence was reserved for war crimes.
    And look, I'm generally against the death sentence, but I suspect the people here accusing the new Cuban government of brutality don't hold the same opinion about the Nuremberg trials or even the death sentences passed in America to this day

  12. wasn't much different than those he sought to change.
    used brute force to get his way.

  13. Hey fun fact Fidel Castro was against dictatorship and viewed the apartheid government of South Africa as a dictatorship so current Cuban South African relations are pretty good.

  14. 5:40 Ideals are ones intentions… The outcome is up to the people #LongLiveTheVisionaries #Death2GLOUBALISM

  15. I like how you chose to show both sides of the coin in a court room setting, creative.

  16. without trials?? 3:07
    You implanting your idea instead of truth! 😀

  17. Che was actually betrayed by castro because che wanted a democracy while castro well you know

  18. When there is powerful government other than US, then we see how US will involved.

  19. WTH!! Lol

    Che was far far from terrorism. He fought his entire life fighting war mongers and terrorists.

  20. The two of them decided to grow some awesome beards and overthrow the cuban government

  21. Yeah, I don't like how the world it is so Im gonna do changes by force, even if I have to ignore reality facts like the process of growing wealth, makin social engineering by doing a generalization of the kind of human that I want, cuttin people's freedom… But hey, people still they have food and a roof under them, isn't that fabulous?

  22. I liked a lot this video ! Because in history class, this kind of people are introduced as ''very good'' or ''very bad'', and we ignore the shades in their behaviour, personality and all.
    I'm french, in class we don't talk about Che Guevara and everyone hate him. But no one knows who he is 😂
    So I'll show this video to some of my interested friends.
    Thank you

  23. I love these animated videos, but I am mostly more confused afterwards than before.

  24. Should revolutions be judged by their ideals or their outcomes? 🤔

  25. If only US stop using some of land from Hispanic country why can’t they build them in their country

  26. "Newspapers are tools of the oligarchy".
    He was right in that time.
    as in current scenario, the news channels are highly bribed and biased.

  27. You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

  28. Correction: He wasn’t just executed. He was tortured for days on end. Torture method? You name it. Fingernails and teeth were ripped from him. He wasn’t useful because he wasn’t a snitch and then was promptly executed.

  29. “A trendy symbol of rebellion for those who never had to live under his regime”

  30. Lũ súc vật làm clips này bịa đặt nhằm bóp méo hình ảnh Che.

  31. 2:40 him and his guerilla army. Right, the famous, massive army of 3 people

  32. I think it would be really cool to open trade with Cuba in exchange for more liberties like freedom of the press/speech.

  33. we have a che t shirt but we don't why we have it. This sentence show us a communist ideas are based from capitalism likes brands company sendika factories international commerce trade mark and…. so what is communist pionts

  34. When he said that che violently overthrew the regions governments I said “OBJECTION!”

  35. I’m very sure Cubans have a different version of this history ….my own observation is that the video maker chose words that are similar to U.S news channels that portray non capitalist countries as dictatorships… it is also worth to note that the video maker exaggerated the parts of renumeration when it came to labor… and the impact of U.S sanctions on the people of Cuba during that time.

  36. Wait, so we're just skipping the part of the Cuban missile crisis where Americans stationed nukes in Turkey first?

  37. Che was NOT a terrorist. He was a revolutionary and freedom fighter who wanted to rid the world of the shackles of imperialism and exploitation. The erstwhile imperialists were the terrorists. Viva la Che!!!

  38. i wonder if the people who disliked this video didnt like to hear the negative parts of his history

  39. There is no such thing as a disinterested perspective talking about history. Just tailored ideological blinkers for specific generations

  40. what cracks me up when most American complain about revolutionaries is……… oh right 1776.

  41. Che Guevara died a hero. He helped the poor, aided them, taught them. He is a amazing leader

  42. Medical student…legecy of repression?
    Oligarchy
    American took property from indigenous people kept uncultivated and left them poverty
    Guatemala…trued to restore it…
    Failed cause of cia..
    Che went mexico city..met castro..

  43. College-age Che Guevara looks like the Professor from the Powerpuff Girls

  44. Why are people saying Cuba is ruthless by putting Soviet missiles, they were only being Defensive when the U.S. placed missiles in Turkey against the U.S.S.R.

  45. If he was one thing i would say he was one of the first druglords not under the umbrela of the CIA.

  46. The guy who is pointing out the bad things is completely ignoring the good things!

  47. Is Che a heroic champion of the poor? or a ruthless warlord who left a legacy of repression?

    HES BOTH!

  48. Sou do Brasil e amo esses vídeos, Che Guevara pode ser resumido naquela frase de Batman, o cavaleiro das trevas: morra como herói ou viva o suficiente para se tornar vilão.

  49. “He slaughtered hundred of the people he was supposedly making free, helped set up labor camps, and plummeted an economy, conditions so terrible that many of the people risked their lives fleeing the new regime.”

    “Yeah but the literacy rate is now 96%.”

  50. Try to do Fidel Castro:

    Fidel Castro changed Cuban society greatly, and had a major influence in the Cold War. Was he a hero who helped remove foreign influence from Cuba, and not let the people be controlled by foreigners, or a tyrant who caused millions of people to leave to escape his wrath and terror?

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