November 03, 2005

Bush vs. El Che

Bush and Che: different concepts of freedom.

BUENOS AIRES – In the birthplace of Ernesto "Che" Guevara - one of the 20th century's great icons of liberation - and in a nation where most adults remember life under a brutal military dictatorship, you might think there would be greater appreciation for a world leader who champions freedom through prosperity and democracy. But no. [...]

"Che's liberty was not individual freedom, it was the independence of countries and the liberation of the collective poor of those countries," says Manuel Mora y Araujo, director of Ipsos-Mora y Araujo, a prominent public-opinion analysis agency here. "But for Bush it is about individual freedoms. He is the archetype of the conservative, whereas Che was the archetype of the socialist."

That does not mean Argentines wish to emulate Guevara's political and economic ideology, experts explain. "The admiration for El Che no longer extends to his politics and ideology, certainly not to his Marxism," says Martin Krause, dean of the Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration in Buenos Aires and a longtime analyst of Argentine society. "It's a romantic idea of one man going to battle against the windmills, he's a Quixote."

Several years ago, when there was fresh intrigue about where Guevara's remains were buried, Mr. Krause wrote that the socialist icon's spiritual tomb is Cuba. "That's where his ideas found their final resting place," he says, "and it's a disaster." [...] [And don't you forget it! --ed.]

Today, what remains of Guevara in pop culture is often a figure stripped of political ideology, an "icon of rebellion," Krause says, which explains why youth wear his face on shirts and put his poster on college dorm walls.

Ricardo López Göttig, a young Argentine historian, says Guevara was basically about "freedom from" - from the survival-of-the-fittest nature of capitalism, from the crushing wearing-down of poverty - while Bush is about "freedom to" - to make one's own life.

"Che wanted a return to a simpler, communitarian life where there was no property and the individual was absorbed in a protective, collective whole," Mr. Lopez says. "Bush stands for a freedom for the individual, but it is a freedom exposed to competition, conflict, and without protection from failure. At a time of globalization and increasingly complex living," he adds, "the discourse of Che Guevara has a certain attraction."

So...we've basically just established the well-known (at least, it's not a secret to most, I don't believe...) difference between socialism and capitalism.

Choose your pick... Cuba... or the U.S.?

Posted by Kyer at November 3, 2005 09:23 PM | TrackBack

First of all, I would like to thank You for remark my comments about Ernesto "Che" Guevara at the Christian Science Monitor. Of course, I support individual rights, democracy, market economy and the empire of law. Unfortunatedly, for many people, Guevara still represents throughout the world a romantic figure who had "beautiful ideals". I lived for four years in the post-communist Europe, where since the end of WWII till the collapse of the socialist system in 1989, the people were slaves of the Communist Party. President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, for example, is talking about socialism for the new century in South America, but he says nothing about the socialist experiment in the USSR, Eastern Europe, communist China, Cambodia, Vietnam, or North Korea.

Posted by: Ricardo López Göttig at November 6, 2005 06:23 PM

Can't I choose Aruba?

Posted by: Vinnie at November 10, 2005 01:28 AM