BBC News
June 15, 2003
Cuba honours Comrade Che

     Cubans have paid tribute to the legendary guerrilla leader Che Guevara on
     what would have been his 75th birthday.

     He played a key role in the revolution which brought Fidel Castro to power in Cuba in
     1959 and went on to become a revolutionary icon for communism.

     Che Guevara's image, with beard and beret, was recognised all over the world.

     Tens of thousands of Cubans marched and took part in ceremonies to mark the
     anniversary of his birth.

     Many gathered in Santa Clara, capital of central Villa Clara province, where Che
     Guevara's remains are in a mausoleum.

     The state-run media had special programming on Che Guevara throughout the day,
     and a cultural festival was held in his memory.

     President Castro recently described his old comrade as "an extraordinary human
     being of great intelligence and culture".

     Cuban grammar school students, called "young pioneers", salute the flag every
     morning with the slogan "pioneers for communism, we will be like Che".

     Foreign campaigns

     The country has promoted "Che" as a symbol of revolutionary virtues, sacrifice and
     internationalism inside and outside the country since his death.

     Che Guevara held key posts during the first years of Fidel Castro's government,
     before leaving to fight guerrilla wars in Africa and Latin America.

     He was killed by the Bolivian army in October 1967 as he attempted to spread the
     Cuban revolution to that country.

     His remains were returned to Cuba in 1997.

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