Che café, Guatemala City (Guatemala snapshot)

A little eatery we walked by in Guatemala City, with Che Guevara photos and flags outside. The Cuban revolutionary lived in Guatemala City for some time during the early 1950s, when the democratically-elected leftist president Jacobo Arbenz was implementing land reform, and sticking it to international corporations like American-owned United Fruit Company.

And in fact, Guatemala appears to be the place where Che became known as Che.

From Wikipedia:

The biggest land owner, and one most affected by the reforms, was the United Fruit Company, from which the Árbenz government had already taken more than 225,000 acres of uncultivated land. Pleased with the road the nation was heading down, Guevara decided to settle down in Guatemala so as to "perfect himself and accomplish whatever may be necessary in order to become a true revolutionary."

In Guatemala City, Guevara sought out Hilda Gadea Acosta, a Peruvian economist who was well-connected politically as a member of the left-leaning Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (APRA, American Popular Revolutionary Alliance). She introduced Guevara to a number of high-level officials in the Arbenz government. Guevara then established contact with a group of Cuban exiles linked to Fidel Castro through the July 26, 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. During this period he acquired his famous nickname, due to his frequent use of the Argentine diminutive interjection che, a vocative casual speech filler used to call attention or ascertain comprehension, similarly to both "bro" or the Canadian phrase "eh".

Arbenz's attempt at land distribution and economic reforms didn't end well: he was ousted in a CIA-backed military coup (against which Che Guevara joined a resistance force). A string of military dictatorships backed by the US followed Arbenz, including that of General Rios Montt, whose genocide trial I'm currently covering in Guatemala.

I'm afraid I didn't note the exact address or name of this little establishment, but it was right near the Palacio de la Policia Nacional Civil in Zona 1. I'll have to walk over there again sometime.


  1. There was a nightclub in Aspen, CO, called Escobar. Used exactly the same b/w imagery, but of Pablo. Creepy place. Had a rep for having snow year round.

  2. “What we affirm is that we must proceed along the path of liberation even if this costs millions of atomic victims.” – Che Guevara

  3. Ernesto Guevara was a murderer of women and children, a coward. I know I’m in the extreme minority of my countrymen to say that, but the expression “Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet” never sat well with me.

      1. I didn’t mean to imply that not a single person is aware of what he did, but you have to admit that for the most part he is seen as a hero in Argentina and a lot of other places. At least in my experience I’ve run into a lot more people that wear him as a fashion statement than know of the atrocities.

    1. Glad to see I am not the only one around here.

      You don’t have to be a right wing conservative to dislike Guevara. 

  4. Che is popular all over south and central america. Mexico has fairly communist leaning states, particularly Oaxaca and south, where they’ve been trying to cede for decades now. A quick stroll through the Zócalo will prove as much.

  5. “To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail … This is a revolution. And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.”
    “If the nuclear missiles had remained (in Cuba), we would have fired them against the heart of the US, including New York City. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims.”-the Butcher of La Cabanathe very fact that his face is used as advertising is proof that his philosophy is dead.  I love seeing him on shirts and his face used as a marketing tool… its makes me laugh every time.

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