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Arts and Humanities | History | Latin American History | Political History


Ken Jones, History


The use and manipulation of Che Guevara's public image and ideas by Fidel Castro and the Cuban government. In my project I answered the question, In what ways have Fidel Castro and the Cuban government used and manipulated Che Guevara's public image and ideas within Cuba to rally support for the Cuban Revolution and its policies. My thesis is Fidel Castro and the Cuban government have used Che's image and ideas to gain support for their various economic and political initiatives within Cuba, and have also adapted their usage of his image and ideas to changes in outside political and economic factors. To better isolate the changes I broke my project down into four sections: 1955 through 1961, 1962 through 1967, 1968 through 1987, and finally 1988 through the 1990s. The results I found were that throughout the forty years of the Cuban Revolution Che Guevara has had a public image within Cuba as a heroic revolutionary whose self-sacrificing manner has led to his adoration by the Cuban people. However, new facets have been added to his image during the different periods, such as Che as an overly aggressive guerrilla warrior, Che the symbol of proletarian internationalism, Che as a valued economist, and Che as a model of perseverance in the face of adversity. All these facets of Che's image within Cuba were developed at different times by Fidel Castro and the Cuban government to adapt to the changing political and economic situation in Cuba. The main outside factors influencing these changes were at first the threat of United States intervention, then the increasing influence of the Soviet Union on Cuban affairs, and lastly the collapse of the Soviet Union and the difficult economic situation facing Cuba.