To answer this question more fully, a number of sub – questions must be addressed. 1, who was "Che" Guevara, 2, what continuity and change occurred in his political life and finally what were the origins of his " New Man theory" and why did it not succeed. Che was born into a middle class family in Rosario, Argentina, on May 14th 1928. He had a middleclass childhood and he attended medical school, which he completed in between a motorcycle expedition throughout South America.
His specialties in the medical field included allergy research and leprology. Che himself never spelled out his exact reasons for having chosen a medical career, except to say, years later, that he had been motivated by a desire for a " personal triumph": "I dreamed of becoming a famous investigator ……… of working indefatigably to find something that could be definitively placed at the disposition of humanity".
It was only after reading many pieces of important literature, the completion of a personal philosophy index, much travelling, the experience of many adventures in Northern South America and probably most importantly, the addition of a highly influential period in Guatemala during the CIA aided fall of the Arbenz government that Che committed himself to socialism. It was in Mexico City, in exile caused by being a black listed communist sympathiser in Guatemala, that Che met Fidel and Raul Castro.
This encounter would change his life indelibly. Fidel had recently fled Cuba after a spell in jail following his groups failed coup of July 26th, 1953. He had been released as a result of Cuba's then dictator, Fulgencio Batisia, who exonerated these political prisoners as an "act of goodwill" on Mother's day. Fidel and Che were opposite but complementary personalities, Fidel, a very impulsive character, one who would settle for nothing less than being the centre of attention.
Che was the one who sat as an observer, who struck with a razor sharp, and highly educated tongue, if it was necessary to attack an opposing viewpoint. Che joined Fidel and Raul Castro on an old yacht to Cuba that contained the core of the future guerrilla movement. The Cuban revolution began on December 2nd 1956 with the landing of this ship, the Granma near the Sierra Maestri Mountains on the South Eastern coast of Cuba.
Che didn't stay long with Castro in Havana, however considering his enormous role in liberating the island and running its central bank. He stayed on only from the fruitation of the revolution in January of 1959 until he left for the African Congo in April of 1965, but long enough to get the new socialist economy on its feet and provide a living example of the "New Man" for the people of Cuba with his well renowned volunteer labour campaigns. He longed to return to the battlefield and sow the seeds of socialism elsewhere.
Having achieved his goal of bringing socialism to Cuba (while possibly noting the changes in Fidel to emergence as a dictator), Che left his comrade in attempt to spark similar movements in other oppressed states, first in central Africa and later in the ill – fated Bolivian movement. Che set up his African campaign in Dar – Es -Salaam on the Tanzanian mainland in mid – April of 1965 forming a column that would later invade the neighbouring Congo. His mission failed; the rebellion didn't have the support of the people or the indigenous soldiers.
Bitter, Che left Africa and travelled all the time amassing intelligence on other locales more ripe for the revolution. In November 1966 Che left his temporary European home to begin his guerrilla odyssey in Bolivia. From late 1966 until Oct of 1967, Che's campaign struggled with little success against the Bolivian army. Again a lack of support by the peasantry army and a tepid response to recruitment efforts of Bolivian soldiers by Che's group led to failure.
In both the Congo and Bolivia, Guevara's "blackmail by presence" (Anderson) was a key factor in the poor reception he received by the indigenous populations. To them it meant just another foreign invasion, at least the armies of the state were of their own ethnic and national background. The goal of Che's life's work was to form a " new society in which men will have different charistics, the society of communist man". (Socialism and men in Cuba).
Che pursued his goal of changing society and redefining the interactions of men doggedly throughout his life however what I feel is fundamental is that, while un – like many politic theorists, not only did he develop and preach his ideologies but also he was fully prepared to put his life on the line and fight for them. The birth of the "New man" theory occurred in 1963 although many historians believe that the growth of "New Man" actually began in 1951 and developed over the years.
In 1951 Che started an eight month trip around Latin America, he was middle class and for the first time in his life had to witness real poverty, for him it was a real "baptism of fire" from the wealth and security of his home land to this poverty, for the first time in his adult life, Che had witnessed the harsh duality of his country by crossing the divide from its transported European culture, the comfort in which he lived was a " luxurious fai?? ade"ii under which the countries "true soul"iii; and that soul was rotten and deceased". He had the chance to see at first hand how various foreign countries especially the U. S.
A. were bleeding Latin America of all is national resources, and it was from this which started his intense hatred of America. From this visit, Che, a trained doctor had diagnosed an inherent disease, which was "capitalism" which stemmed from all the American injustices he witnessed. At the time he was going back to Argentina in early 1952 he had witnessed all the social injustices of especially America and he realised something needed to be done, however it is important to realise that, by this stage he was still young and had no political experience or background.