Remembering Che: My Life with Che Guevara – Aleida March
As the United States and Cuba move closer to restoring diplomatic relations and easing travel restrictions between the two nations, there are bound to be moments of reflection by those who lived through the most turbulent moments in the island’s history. Many years have passed since the Bay of Pigs and Cuban missile crisis, but many of the inhabitants of the island are still alive and can vividly recall the tension in the air as Cuba, the Soviet Union and the United States moved steps closer to a nuclear conflagration.
Che himself wrote several books dealing with the revolution and guerrilla warfare. Some have become best sellers but they do not shed light on the most intimate details of the iconic revolutionary’s life. His second wife and widow, Aleida, presents to us her account of daily life with one of the most important figures of the 20th century. Meeting towards the end of the guerrilla campaign, the two were married in 1959 following Che’s divorce from his first wife Hilda Gadea (1921-1974) who is the mother of his first and late daughter Hilda Guevara (1956-1995).
In contrast to the bare-chested and hardened Marxist-Leninist who became a legend on the battlefield and earned an infamous reputation as head of the La Cabana prison, the Che that we are introduced to here is a loving husband and father, committed to ideology and the welfare of his family. It’s well-known that following the exile of Fulgencio Batista, Che took on many jobs and often work Monday through Saturday leaving Sunday afternoon for time with his wife and children. For many women, the call of the revolution would have been far too much. Aleida, in contrast, shows her commitment to the revolution, unconditional love unwavering devotion.
In 1967, Che left Cuba for the final time, on a mission to spearhead a revolution in Bolivia, tragically doomed from the start. It is hard for me to imagine the position that March found herself in with four young children to raise and a step-daughter. It’s often said that loving someone is harder than hating them. Love is one of the most precious emotions that humans can and do experience. There are those who believe that we all have our other half out their, another kindred spirit of spiritual being that completes us. For Che, in Aleida he found his other half, the woman who signed on for a lifetime with him, bore him children and stood by his decisions and his belief in spreading revolution throughout Latin America. This is the other side of Che that Aleida has given us the privilege of seeing.