Che Guevara never lived in San Cristobal de las Casas or Chiapas, but his image is everywhere. In Che the Zapatistas of Chiapas have found a hero whose image is known around the world. As far as international counter culture iconic images go, I would say the list is;
- 1. Bob Marley
2. Che Guevara
3. The Zapatista girl wearing a kerchief.
You could make a good argument for #1 and #2 to be reversed. My attendance at an unlimited number of music festivals in my life might be skewing my perception slightly towards Bob Marley. Here in San Cristobal de Las Casas the Zapatista Girl is definitely number one followed closely by images of Emiliano Zapata. When you get further out of San Cris into Chiapas, Bob mostly falls off the list, but you can find images in Che’s likeness at even tiny indigenous Mayan villages way off the beaten path.
Che did live in Mexico City for awhile, in fact that is where he had his destiny altered when he met Raul and Fidel Castro. In Che the Castros saw a man who was intellectual, he was a doctor, and had seen much more of the world than most of the members of their movement back in Cuba. I think the popular perception of Che, which I don’t know to be wrong, is that he was truly a man of the people who stood up for the little guy against governments and corporations.That is what attracts the Zapatistas to him so much as they try to preserve their way of life and property against the same groups. I was at a rally in the center of Comitan de Domingez marking the anniversary of the assassination of Zapata and Che’s image was everywhere, even prominently featured next to Zapata on the groups largest banner. “In Che We Trust”, may not actually be any one here’s slogan, but it might as well be. The truth is that in Chiapas and most of the Mayan world, “In Jesus We Trust” is much more of an actual slogan, “En Jesus Comfiamos”. I wonder what Che would say about that?