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Descripción de la editorial
This report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. Throughout history there are political and military decisions that appear, on the surface, to have been made without a proper assessment of the situation they are meant to address. These decisions are sometimes discounted as wrongheaded or foolish. Ernesto "Che" Guevara's decision to fight a guerrilla war in Bolivia is one such event. Focus on the failure of Guevara's Bolivian mission and his subsequent death at the hands of the Bolivian military have allowed scholars to ignore the geopolitical and social context that framed Guevara's decision-making process. Dismissing the Bolivian mission as flawed based on its outcome creates a false sense that the circumstances surrounding Guevara's decision to fight are unimportant. Considering that ideas do not die, it can be argued that understanding why Guevara fought is more important than whether he was victorious or not. This thesis utilizes Guevara's writings and secondary sources to present the argument that his actions were not rooted in blind ideology and mindless rage, as some scholars suggest, but in a pragmatic blend of ideological, strategic, and psychological factors meant to achieve a specific end.
Ideologically, Guevara was a true believer in the worldwide proletarian revolution. He saw in imperialism the encroaching arms of capitalism. In addition, he believed in an inevitable war between communism and capitalism and was convinced that he was an instrument of the inevitable victory of communism. Many have used his internationalist ideology to emphasize that Bolivia was never his goal at all, but just the means to the more extensive end of continent wide revolution. In support of these claims, many of those close to him have identified Peru and Argentina as targets for future foci. Guevara envisioned a continental guerrilla war meant to free Latin America from "Yankee imperialism." Some say the Russians considered these ideas to be "infantile romanticism," and Guevara referred to himself as a Quixotic-type figure on multiple occasions. Accusations and personal degradations such as these fail to adequately consider the more pragmatic influences on his decision making. The second chapter of this thesis outlines the role Guevara's ideology played in his decision to personally lead a guerrilla foco in Bolivia. His ideology formed the framework upon which he built a strategy meant to draw the United States into a second front in what he viewed as an international war against imperialism. The specifics of that strategy are covered in the third chapter. Before addressing the rationality of his strategic reasons for choosing Bolivia as the site of his guerrilla foco, it is beneficial to examine why he believed in the absolute necessity of any guerrilla movement.
Most of the existing literature is focused more on who is to blame rather than in analyzing the underlying causes for Guevara's decision in depth. Somewhere in the myth that has become the Guerrillero Heroico, we have forgotten that Guevara was a human being no more perfect than anyone else and driven to action through a mixture of internal and external motivators. Though they may seem irrational and adventurist on the surface, these motivations can be presented as pragmatically developed convictions based on personal experience. Allowing Guevara to answer his critics in his own voice emphasizes that strategic, ideological, and psychological factors combined to provide a rationalization for Guevara's decision to fight in Bolivia. Dismissing his rationale out of hand can produce a lack of appreciation for the complicated relationship that ideas, beliefs, and geographical or historical context can have on an individual's decision-making process.