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The most famous doctor in the last 50 years?

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Few readers will guess the identity of the most famous doctor of the last 50 years. A clue. He was an alternative medicine enthusiast with Marxism-Leninism as his medicine and he had a lot of sugar at his disposal to help this medicine go down. The answer is Dr Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

The facts are simple, even if the consequences were complex. Dr Guevara was born on 14 May 1928 in Argentina. Of a middle class family, he went to medical school in Buenos Aires in 1948, and obtained a medical degree in 1953 when aged 25. During his medical training he managed to travel, read, and think and developed a fundamentalist belief that Marxism-Leninism was the key to existence and that this belief justified any means. He became a revolutionary freedom fighter/armed insurrectionist/terrorist/guerrilla, all of which are euphemisms for someone who believes that violence is the best way forward. Dr Guevara arrived in Cuba in 1956 and, along with Fidel Castro, deposed the dictatorial government. They then suppressed counter-revolution using similar strategies as had been used by the deposed dictator, including the abolition of elections—since the people ruled Cuba already there was no need to cast votes.

Later he tried to manage the Cuban economy and, finding this less than fulfilling, departed to fight, first in the Congo and then in Bolivia where, in 1967, he was killed, thereby achieving a temporary form of immortality.

Dr Guevara was a dedicated man who was prepared to die for his beliefs and who showed that dictators could be deposed by men of strong beliefs. However Marxism/Leninism has failed and in retrospect he probably did more harm than good.

On a positive side his image sold a lot of posters, thereby assisting the cause of capitalism!—Philip D Welsby, Edinburgh; P.Welsby{at}ed.ac.uk.

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