‘Che’ Remembered at Lecture

Ani Khashadoorian

Controversial historical figure Ernesto “Che” Guevara was the topic of Professor Carlos Ugalde’s lecture and tribute this past Thursday, focusing on the 1997 final burial of Guevara in Santa Clara, Cuba.

Co-sponsored by the Association of Latin American Students, the lecture was compromised of various photographic slides and accompanying music. Photographs spread throughout the room also added to the mainly digital presentation. Video clips were also played, the highlight being a speech given by Fidel Castro, reminiscing about Guevara.

Ugalde spoke of his 1997 sabbatical where he personally witnessed Guevara’s final burial. Recalling his time in the Santa Clara, Ugalde spoke of the many tributes to Guevara that had been put in place. From schools named after him to graffiti on the streets in his likeness, Guevara’s influence has not died down even after his execution 41 years ago.

The packed room was full of students from all across campus, each with their own unique and personal story for attending.

Glendale College student Brian Kelly remarked that the actions of communist governments cannot fairly be blamed on the ideals of a revolutionary citing the red flyers on campus distributed by Young America’s Foundation. Put in perspective, that is blaming the Vietnam War on the writings of Thomas, red flyers on campus that had denounced Guevara.

Another student told the audience how she had been drawn to the lecture by a strange sensation. The student had been raised in Venezuela and had done a lot of fundraising for Guevara.

She had not known of the lecture on campus, as she was just taking an organic chemistry class for chiropractic school. She had however felt a strong presence when she was in the library, where she had been making copies. Having happened to glance up, she saw a flyer for the lecture about Guevara.

The famous photo of Guevara that has been reproduced on all canvases ranging from T-shirts to posters, was originally shot by Alberto Korda. Taken at a memorial service in 1960, the photograph of a gazing Guevara has become iconic. The photograph has been declared to be the “most famous photograph in the world” by the BBC.

Guevara would have been 80-years-old this year.