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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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For Seniors, Friendship May Be More Important Than Family

Even if the aging and elderly tend to wind up confined to family circles, Argentine academics Laura Belli and Danila Suárez explore the often untapped benefits of friendship in our later years.

Photograph of two elderly women and an elderly man walking arm in arm. Behind the, there are adverts for famous football players.

Two elderly women and a man walk arm in arm

Philippe Leone/Unsplash
Laura F. Belli and Danila Suárez Tomé

Updated Dec. 10, 2023 at 10:10 p.m.

BUENOS AIRES — What kind of friendship do people most talk about? Most often it is childhood or teenage friendships, while friendships between men and women are repeatedly analyzed. What about friendships among the elderly? How are they affected when friends disappear, at a stage when grieving is already more frequent?

Argentines Laura Belli and Danila Suárez Tomé, two friends with PhDs in philosophy, explore the challenges and benefits of friendship in their book Filosofía de la amistad (Friendship Philosophy).

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They consider how friendships can emerge later in life, in profoundly altered circumstances from those of our youth, with people living through events like retirement, widowhood, reduced autonomy or to a greater or lesser degree, personal deterioration. All these can affect older people's ability to form and keep friendships, even if changes happen at any stage in life.

Filosofía de la amistadexplores the place of friendships amid daunting changes. These are not just the result of ageing itself but also of how one is perceived, nor will they affect everyone exactly the same way. Aging has firstly become a far more diverse experience, with increasing lifespans and better healthcare everywhere, and despite an inevitable restriction in life opportunities, a good many seniors enjoy far greater freedom and life choices than before.

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