CAPTIVE AUDIENCE (KRISTINA IBARRA/LARIAT CONTRIBUTOR)
Rare in their occurrences and having a minute chance of success, revolutions continue to transpire – and inspire – within humanity. To honor such courageous acts, Saddleback College’s Latin American Film Club held a showing of “Che: Part One” on Oct. 6.
“One of the goals of the club is to teach the non-Latino/Latina community about the beauty of our art in cinematography, and about our amazing leaders who have fought for social justice,” said Kristina Ibarra, president of the Latin American Film Club. “In the future we plan to cover literature and other kinds of arts as well.
The film is fast-paced and informative, and provides a realistic version of the Cuban Revolutionary War, as well as of the difficult and enduring struggles of the revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara. For 134 minutes, one can enjoy colored war scenes in addition to periodical black and white clips depicting a United Nations conference.
“A love of humanity [and] of justice and truth [is the most important quality for a revolutionary to possess]. A real revolutionary goes where he is needed,” said actor Benicio Del Toro, quoting Guevara.
With the club’s greatest number of participants yet, more than 100 students at Saddleback College were provided with free food and beverages in addition to the movie.
“I actually had fun and the movie was great,” said Lucy Fathy, 23, undecided. “I learned a lot of stuff about the war and it was interesting to watch the passion the revolutionaries fought with.”
Although Guevara and Fidel Castro sought to free Cuba of U.S. control and to overthrow Fulgencio Batista, their inspirational fight is highly recognized by United States citizens.
Born in Argentina in 1928, Guevara proved to be athletic, intelligent and diverse in his choice of interests. He earned a medical degree in 1953, and traveled through South America on a motorcycle with his friend, Alberto Granada. Later portrayed in the film named the “Motorcycle Diaries,” Che’s journey was life changing and his experiences with the poor convinced him to help people by exploring politics.
The “Motorcycle Diaries” was “important because it was before he was a revolutionary,” said Spanish instructor Carmenmara Hernandez-Bravo. “He was a university student while it was filmed.”
Motivated by the desire to fight for those in need, Guevara joined the 26th of July Movement Castro had initiated. Guevara believed that this fight was a battle worth dying for.
“Ours is a fight to death,” said Toro, playing Guevara.
Guevara was extremely beneficial to movement, and provided some much-needed medical care. Castro viewed him as exceedingly valuable and tried to protect him as much as possible.
Along with sparking a fight against Batista’s dictatorship, Guevara prompted a revolution for literacy. At the time of the revolution, 37 percent of Cubans could not read or write. As Guevara aspired to improve all aspects of Cubans’s lives, he offered medical attention and implemented daily reading sessions in addition to providing physical training.
The process of overthrowing Batista took a mere two years, and Castro then ruled in his place. Ironically Castro also misused his power, and became a dictator similar to Batista – the very man he fought against.
Guevara spoke about his opposition to another form of dictatorship, but both Guevara and Castro possessed a great deal of respect for each other.
While attempting to spark a new revolution in Bolivia, Guevara was captured and executed by Bolivian troops due to help by a CIA special agent. He successfully kicked two Bolivian officers into a wall, and spit in another’s face before being shot nine times, including five shots to his legs, one in his right arm and shoulder, another in the throat and the last in his chest.
“If we wish to express what we want the men of future generations to be, we must say: Let them be like Che! If we wish to say how we want our children to be educated, we must say without hesitation: We want them to be educated in Che’s spirit!” Fidel Castro stated in Che Guevara’s eulogy. “If we want the model of a man, who does not belong to our times but to the future, I say from the depths of my heart that such a model, without a single stain on his conduct, without a single stain on his action, is Che!”
The night also celebrated the memory of Mercedes Sosa, a Latin American singer who was the “voice of the voiceless ones,” who passed away on Oct. 4. A minute of silence was held.
“As long as one of us keeps fighting for justice, her memory will live on forever,” Hernandez-Bravo said.