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Guerrilla Heroico

Che Guevara

[Introduction To Hispanic Studies – Coursework Essay] Discuss how textual and visual representations of the Rebel Army during and after the Cuban Revolution contributed to the myth of the heroic guerrilla in Latin America.    The original iconic 1968 stylized ‘Guerrilla Heroico’ Che Guevara image created by Jim Fitzpatrick, based on Alberto Korda’s Original Photograph    The Cuban Revolution was an earth-shattering event with huge consequences internationally, not just in Latin America, but further afield. I felt the impact myself whilst travelling across Scandinavia in 2005. I’d run out of clean underwear and, while scanning the aisles of a Göteborg department store, I came face to face with a nice, bright pair of red socks, graced with the iconic Guerilla Heroica motive. Half a century on from the Revolution and one of Fidel Castro’s chief Comandantes is creating fashion trends on the opposite side of the planet. What was the impact of the Cuban Revolution in the immediate temporal aftermath and across the local region? Revolutions ripple outwards and surely the focus and legacy of the fulfilled 26 Julio movement will have affected Latin America? We must first address the key facts of the revolution itself. Subsequently we can analyse the legacy of the rebel army propaganda and the images and texts that have been gifted to posterity. A critical view of the subsequent insurgency movements across Latin America will allow us to judge the true impact of the ‘Guerrilla Heroica’ myth. On 2nd December 1956, a ragtag bunch of 82 Cuban exiles, the vanguard of the 26 Julio movement, reached shore in their homeland, aboard the yacht Granma, having trained up in Mexico under the auspices of their leader, Fidel Castro. An initial assault by right-wing dictator Fulgencio Batista’s government forces almost wiped out the brigade. Batista claimed to have killed Castro and fewer than 20 of the Granma’s crew made it into the depths of the Sierra Maestra, to embed and regroup so that the path to victory could unfold. The arrival of the Granma provoked other civil unrest across the island and there were various other revolutionary movements who rose up against state oppression. With the aim of raising support among the island’s population and to foster the movement’s international image, Castro and his surviving comrades began a serious propaganda mission to complement their initially defensive military guerrilla campaign. New York Times journalist, Herbert Matthews, was given…

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Review: The FARC: The Longest Insurgency

The FARC: The Longest Insurgency by Garry Leech My rating: 4 of 5 stars This book covers a very interesting subject for what in general there is a dearth of information and that which does exist tends to be fundamentally skewed with bias. The left wing of Colombia’s forty year civil war is headed up by the FARC-EP. This revolutionary Marxist guerrilla group holds a vast amount of Colombian territory and is the de-facto government of a large amount of mainly impoverished rural people who are in general greatly neglected by their government. The FARC have a very strong propaganda campaign in action against them and in this rather brief book, the author attempts to unravel the myths surrounding the FARC, and to determine the truth of what lies behind the propaganda against them. The Americans and Colombian government accuse them of being narco-traffickers and narco-terrorists, and use these accusations in order to fund their fight against their enemy. The book is good at unravelling many of the myths and in general one gets a decent balanced impression and a feeling that one has touched upon the truth. the FARC can be seen as a genuine combatant army and are a bit different to the way they are portrayed as a terrorist or criminal organisation. Their insurgency, although very bloody and difficult, is based in the realities of a real war. They have an ideological struggle and truly represent the feelings of their people. Some of the facts are quite surprising. I found the chapter on human rights abuses very revealing. It shows that although the FARC are very far from perfect and have committed some truly heinous acts, in general, the Colombian government forces and right-wing paramilitary groups are far more oppressive towards the average civilian. I think the author, who is an investigative journalist based in Colombia, has done a very good job with this work. I feel that for such a subject, a much broader and deeper piece of writing could be done. If anything the account is just a bit too brief. I hope to check out some of Garry Leech’s other books. View all my reviews

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Review: Animal Farm

Animal Farm by George Orwell My rating: 4 of 5 stars This short book is regarded as one of Orwell’s key classics. It was written at a time when criticism of the USSR in Britain was not encouraged as they were critical wartime allies. Orwell got through the net and his revolutionary animals at ‘Animal Farm’ are his way of assessing Stalin’s Russia. From initial success in their revolution to overthrow the humans, the animals build up their community with new laws, a utopia is created, where they are free from their former masters. Through the subsequent rise of a dictator, the dissemination of propaganda, the purges, wars and rewriting of the laws, we see a community rise and fall to a point where the ruling pigs more or less merge with the humans they superseded. Animal Farm contains some great characters which one gets attached to. The revolution can be seen through varies eyes, from the bleating sheep to hardworking horses, from the rats to cunning pigs. If one has an awareness of the development of the communist Soviet Union, you can see how Orwell has built his tale. Even without any knowledge of the Russian Revolution, the book can be taken as a story in itself, without the subtlety of underlining politics, the book is a quaint tale of a fantastical overthrow of the rulers of the farm and how a new life of self-governance is created. I enjoy reading George Orwell and Animal Farm is a thoroughly decent book. Recommended. View all my reviews

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