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CLARIN

Looking Back At Che Guevara, Rebel Icon — And Photographer

Included in a new exhibition in Rosario, Argentina — Che's birthplace — are images not just of the famous revolutionary, but taken by him.

A young Argentine admires Guevara's photography
A young Argentine admires Guevara's photography
Lucas Aranda

ROSARIO — After celebrating Ernesto "Che" Guevara's 90th birthday last June, Rosario — the late revolutionary's birthplace — became the first city in Argentina to mount an exhibition of photographs on the legendary leftist who was famously gunned down in Bolivia in 1967. But what may be the most interesting aspect of the show, which runs until March 3, is that most of the 200 pictures were taken by Guevara himself.

The material on display includes some childhood postcards kept by Che's father following family trips around Argentina. The collection also reveals some less familiar facets of Guevara's trajectory. In 1955, for example, four years before he helped Fidel Castro lead the Cuban revolution, Guevara was a news photographer covering the Pan American Games in Mexico.

By then he had already traveled in many parts of the continent with his friends Alberto Granado and "Calica" Ferrer, as shown in some of the original pictures sent for the exhibit by the Centro de Estudios Che Guevara in Havana. "The character who wrote these notes died upon treading Argentine soil again," he wrote after a trip to Peru and Bolivia. "This aimless wondering through our America with a capital A has changed me more than I thought."

"There is a lot missing," says Pamela Gerosa, head of the Che Guevara Latin American Studies Center (CELChe) in Rosario. "Some things are lost and others couldn't be restored. Guevara also took many pictures when he was in the jungle during the Cuban revolution, and those we don't have."

CELChe helped curate the exhibition in coordination with the late revolutionary's older son, Camilo Guevara March, who agreed it should be displayed at Rosario's Center for Contemporay Expression (CEC).

Because the photos are originals, organizers have asked the public not to take pictures of them close up. The Che Guevara Center in Havana, for its part, has asked organizers in Rosario to ensure none would be reproduced.

A rare photograph of Che Guevara taking a photograph – Photo: VW Pics

One picture Che took of himself in Bolivia, shown in the self-portraits section, reveals an aged and altered face bearing little resemblance to the youthful adventurer the world recalls, or even the political leader who passed through Uruguay in the early 1960s. CELChe says Guevara himself contributed to his family's archive, sending them photos from Havana as documents for a first part of his biography.

Over a decade, Che photographed landscapes ranging from Mayan ruins in Guatemala and Mexico, to temples in South-East Asia, the Tagus river in Spain and scenes in Egypt, India and Japan. Most of his Cuban pictures date from after Castro's victory, though few show his role there in that period. Rosario is now one of several repositories in the world of documents on Che Guevara, which are in turn part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Register.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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