Until victory always ” is a revolutionary phrase that you have seen on thousands of T-shirts, scarves, brochures, berets and other symbols related to the author of the event: Ernesto Che Guevara, icon of the rebellion and the struggle against capitalism.
The phrase comes from the farewell letter that Che Guevara gave Fidel Castro when he left Cuba in 1965 to establish guerrilla forces in Bolivia. Guevara was killed in 1967 by Bolivian troops while promoting the revolution in that country.
The story of “Up to victory always”
In 1997, Fidel Castro at Che’s funeral commented: “His immutable mark is now in history, and his luminous look as a prophet has become a symbol for all the poor in this world.”
Castro ended the speech with the same words as Che’s farewell letter, thirty years ago, “until victory forever.”
Through the spread of this phrase, Che Guevara became a commodity or a sign that was somewhat dissociated from its original signifier. “Until victory” implies the struggle against capitalism, while the use of the word “always” indicates that the struggle is never complete, that it must always continue.
This phrase represents the constant struggle against capitalism, predominantly against the United States.
However, after the “combat” ended in Cuba, this slogan kept the fighting spirit of the revolution alive, helping to define Cuban culture as one that fights against the imperialists, a myth that is perpetuated thanks to the production of various items for mass markets with that phrase and the image of Che Guevara.
The Cuban people and many others around the world accept this phrase because it is directly attributed to Che Guevara, who is seen as the purest form of the revolution, because throughout his life he placed the revolution above all else.
Che Guevara’s exemplary life as a revolutionary is evidenced by his constant attempts to help the oppressed masses across Latin America and then in Africa. He preached the idea of a “new” man. One who would become a fighter to recover the land and its resources for the people.
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Che’s martyrdom allows his words to be a symbol of the ever-present need for revolution. Cubans must participate in this constant struggle until they are victorious. This allows the Cuban government to keep people participating in this shared and undefined goal.
The use of Che’s image and his famous slogan is not limited to the Cuban revolution, he is also an important producer of money. Both the Cuban government and businessmen outside Cuba produce articles for mass markets using this phrase and perpetuating the cultural myth of the Cuban revolution.
It is ironic that the famous phrase of this rebel leader has become a marketing phenomenon in capitalist societies around the world.
Bio of Che Guevara
Born in Rosario, Argentina, in 1928, Ernesto «Che» Guevara de la Serna studied medicine before traveling through South America, observing conditions that stimulated his Marxist beliefs.
He helped Fidel Castro overthrow the Batista government in the late 1950s and then held important political positions during the Castro regime. Guevara subsequently participated in guerrilla actions elsewhere. In Bolivia, he was captured and executed in 1967.
Guevara was born into a middle class family on June 14, 1928 in Rosario, Argentina. Although he suffered from asthma, he managed to distinguish himself as an athlete. He absorbed the left-wing political views of his family and friends, becoming politically active since adolescence, when he joined a group that opposed the government of Juan Perón.
Interior Ministry adorned with a steel sculpture by Che Guevara
After finishing high school with honors, Guevara studied medicine at the University of Buenos Aires, but in 1951 he left school to travel around South America with a friend.
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The poor living conditions he witnessed on his nine-month trip had a profound effect on Guevara. He returned to medical school the following year with the intention of providing assistance to those in need. He received his title in 1953.
However, as Guevara’s interest in Marxism grew, he decided to abandon medicine believing that only the revolution could bring justice to the people of South America.
In 1953, he traveled to Guatemala, where he witnessed the overthrow of the left government supported by the CIA, which only served to deepen his convictions.
In 1955, Guevara, who was married and lived in Mexico, met Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, who planned to overthrow the government of Fulgencio Batista.
When his small armed force landed in Cuba on December 2, 1956, Guevara was with them and was one of the few who survived the initial attack. In the years that followed, he served as Castro’s chief adviser and led his growing guerrilla force in attacks against the collapse of the Batista regime.
In January 1959, Fidel Castro took control of Cuba and placed Guevara in charge of La Cabaña prison, where it is estimated that perhaps hundreds of people were executed by Guevara’s extrajudicial order.
He was later named president of the national bank and Minister of Industry and did much to help transform the country into a communist state.
In the early sixties, Guevara also served as a Cuban ambassador, traveling around the world to establish relations with other countries (especially with the Soviet Union).
Che was an important actor during the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Missile Crisis in Cuba. He was also the author of a guerrilla war manual and, in 1964, delivered a speech at the United Nations, in which he condemned US foreign policy and apartheid in South Africa.
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In 1965, with the Cuban economy in ruins, Guevara left his post to export his revolutionary ideologies to other parts of the world. He first traveled to Congo to train troops in guerrilla war in support of a revolution in the country, but he soon had to leave because he failed.
After briefly returning to Cuba, in 1966 Guevara left for Bolivia with a small rebel force to incite a revolution there. He was captured by the Bolivian army and killed in La Higuera on October 9, 1967.
Since his death, Guevara has become a legendary political figure. Its name is often equated with rebellion, revolution and socialism. Others, however, recall that he was cruel and ordered that many prisoners in Cuba be executed without trial.