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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 June, 2003, 04:32 GMT 05:32 UK
Cuba honours Comrade Che
Che Guevara with his mother soon after his birth in 1928
Born in Argentina, South America's most famous revolutionary
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.

An extraordinary human being of great intelligence and culture
President Fidel Castro

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.

Cuba's phoney war
25 Apr 03  |  Americas
Country profile: Cuba
04 Jun 03  |  Country profiles

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