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".
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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