Saturday night I find myself packed into a community function hall with families, toddlers, hippies, professionals, intellectuals, and various Coyhaique citizens to observe the 40th anniversary of the death of Ché Guevara. We are each handed a copy of the famous farewell letter Ché wrote to Fidel Castro upon leaving Cuba, which is read carefully by a maté sipping Patagonian accompanied by acoustic guitar. It is hard not to feel emotional as we watch slides of the famous pan-American icon in the various stages of his life. Ché is a true hero to many of us.
Who isn´t seduced by Ché: his image, his words, his story, his life. I often find myself thinking about the journey that rattled the young medical student so deeply that he chose the path of revolution and never looked back. It is a well-loved story, the story about the development of a man who according to Sartre "...was the most complete human being of our age." What Ché found in the mines, cities, hospitals, and faces of South America is not unlike the many injustices and tragedies that we face today. Ché had the remarkable courage to acknowledge these truths. He accepted the responsibility of his awareness and the challenge to fight the impossible.
For this reason he is a hero of mine.
A little boy is running up and down the aisle shouting "Pirates!" as a banner with Che´s likeness is unfurled at the end of the ceremony. I shuffle with the crowd out into the Coyhaique night, six months deep in my own journey. Am I transforming? I think about every day that I have walked the halls of Escuela Victor Domingo Silva, every moon I have watched rise over the mountains, every lake, river and road I have crossed, and every tear of frustration shed. Will I too become a complete human being?
"If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine."
-Ernesto Ché Guevara 1928-1967