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The role of Che Guevara in the cuban revolution

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Che Guevara was a key personality who played a pivotal role not only in the revolutionary movement’s seizure of power in 1959 but also in the social revolution which transformed Cuba into a Communist state. Guevara contribution was primarily as a unifying and driving force of the revolution behind the leadership of Fidel Castro. Guevara played significant role in the guerrilla army which seized power in 1959 and also in Castro’s regime where he held various positions of influence. Guevara’s impact on the success of the Cuban revolution was a result of his tactical genius, experience in guerrilla warfare, leadership and training of the guerrilla force and his socialist ideologies.

Guevara’s ideologies and tactical genius in the art of the guerrilla warfare played a vital role in the revolutions seizure of power in 1959. Since his meeting with Castro in Mexico, Guevara assumed a position of popularity and influence which when combined with his clear revolutionary goals and tactical brilliance served to greatly aid the revolution’s cause. Guevara’s position in the guerrilla army allowed him to exert a great influence on the revolutionary movement’s strategic decision making. According to Castaneda, “Guevara participated actively in political debate influencing issues such as the direction of the struggle, policy for alliance and ideology of the leadership”.

Before he joined Castro in Mexico, Guevara gained a vast deal of experience during his travels in Latin America and cultivated associations with many leftist movements (including Bolivia, Guatemala and Peru). Guevara’s experience in revolutionary movements around Latin America helped aid Castro’s movement especially in terms of his influence in strategic and political decision making. Guevara’s ideologies were a key factor which helped shaped the guerrilla army’s rapid and dynamic approach towards revolution. Guevara tactical brilliance in the art of guerrilla warfare was pivotal to the success of the revolutionary army during its operations in the Sierra Maestra. Guevara brilliant strategic planning and decision making was reflected by the guerrilla army’s success in the Sierra Maestra in undermining Batista’s troops during important military operations.

Guevara’s major contribution to the revolutions success was essentially inalienable from his role in the training and leadership of the guerrilla force which surpassed Batista’s troops in efficiency, motivation and discipline. Guevara entered Castro revolutionary army as a medical officer and given the rank of lieutenant. However Guevara’s bravery and dedication to the cause resulted in his promotion to “Commandante” of the guerrilla army. Guevara’s dynamic and charismatic leadership of the second column of the guerrilla army played a crucial in securing the revolutionary army’s victory at decisive stages during the conflict. Guevara led several battles of varying importance leading up to the seizure of power in 1959 including conflicts in “El Hombrito” and ‘Pino Del Aguas”. None were more important however then his expedition into Central Cuba and his victory in Santa Clara.

Under Castro’s instructions Guevara leaded the army into the province of Las Villas in hope to defeat Batista’s troops and unify opposition forces such as the PSP and the Revolutionary Student Directorate. According to Castaneda “Guevara made an enormous contribution to the struggle through his bravery, discipline, organisation and level headedness”. His victory in Las Villas in both a military and political sense had substantive ad long-lasting impacts and influenced Castro’s shift of alliances following the breakdown of the Pact for Unity at the end of 1957. This had a major impact on the revolutions success as it essentially unified the forces of opposition against the Batista regime and led to increased support (and reduced opposition) for the Castro regime after it’s seizure of power.

Guevara’s impact on the success of the Cuban revolution extended beyond his role in the seizure of power as he occupied key positions of influence in the Castro regime. Guevara and his socialist ideologies helped influence and guide the Castro regime on its leftward and pro-communist path. Che pressed from the start for more radical measures than the official government policy. In a 27 January speech, “Social Projections of the Rebel Army”, he called for a more radical agrarian reform, a programme of industrialisation, protectionism and the diversification of markets away from the USA. Guevara played a pivotal role in the implementation of the Agrarian Reform Policy which was a major step in Cuba’s radical social transformation.

Guevara’s ideologies played a major role with Cuba’s forging of alliance with the Soviet Union and as president of the National Bank, he was instrumental in cutting Cuba’s traditional ties with the United States and in directing the flow of trade to the Communist bloc. According to Alexiev “Guevara was the principle architect of Soviet-Cuban economic co-operation” His appointment as Minister of Industry allowed Guevara to exert an event greater influence on Cuba’s radical shift to communism as he immediately set a series of plans into motion which included the nationalising of Cuban industry and the development of a planned economic system. Guevara played a crucial role in Cuba’s socialist revolution after 1959 as his ideologies helped shape the regimes communist approach which was successful in transforming the Cuban society and economy.

Thus it is evident that Che Guevara played a pivotal role in the Cuban revolution. Guevara was a key personality who impacted upon the success of the revolution due to his tactical genius, experience in guerrilla warfare, leadership and training of the guerrilla force and his socialist ideologies. Guevara’s contribution enabled the revolutionary movement’s seizure of power in 1959 as well as the Castro regimes radicalisation of Cuban society and economy.

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