Video Virgil: Saint Che...Not
I loved The Motorcycle Diaries. Warm, funny, emotionally powerful, it takes the viewer on a visually stunning journey northward along the mountainous spine of South America with two young Argentinians, dreamy Ernesto and earthy Alberto, who rattle along like a mid-20th-century Don Quijote and Sancho Panza on an oil-spitting Rocinante, until they discover their destiny, which is to trade their bourgeois future for a life devoted to the poor.
I also loved the soulful performances of the two stars, Gael Garcia Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna, and of all the other actors and non-actors who grace the screen. In the best sense, this is not Hollywood.
But it is also not true. Maybe Ernesto "Che" Guevara was brave, kind, and loving when young. But he didn't stay that way. In a 1967 address to his fellow communists, he highlighted the importance of "hatred as an element of the struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine."
To place this remark into the context of Guevara's actual career, see this article by Peruvian historian Alvaro Vargas Llosa in the current New Republic. After reading that essay, you may want to retire your Che T-shirt and pick up your Cervantes.