|Birth date:||June 14, 1928.|
|Breakthrough:||Becoming a commander of the 26th of July movement second only to Fidel Castro.|
Commonly called “Ché” or “El Ché”, Ernesto Ché Guevara is one of the easily recognizable faces in the Latin America revolutions immortalized through the famous Ché Guevara T-shirts and a Ché Guevara movie.
A medical doctor by profession, Ernesto was also a prolific writer, military theorist and many described him as the brain behind the success of Fidel Castro-led Cuban revolution.
He was the eldest among five children Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna had. Ché was a white Argentine with Spanish and Irish descent. He grew up in a leftist-leaning family and developed strong affection for the poor early in life.
He suffered from acute asthma attacks throughout his life, he nevertheless excelled in sports and went on to play as rugby union player for the University of Buenos Aires.
He was also fond of cycling, swimming, shooting, and soccer. His father taught him chess, and began competing locally when he was 12 years old.
Guevara’s family had a wide-array of books, more than 3,000 in its collection which made “el Ché” an eclectic reader.
His reading interests were varied and included the writings of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, John Keats, Robert Frost, and Pablo Neruda. He was a poetry lover who could recite Rudyard Kipling’s “If” by memory
Story of the Assasination of Ché Guevara
He entered medical school in 1948 at the University of Buenos Aires and earned his degree in 1953. In-between his studies, his hunger to explore the world led him to embark on two long journeys all over Latin America using a bicycle with a little motor.
“The Motorcycle Diaries” movie portrays his South American road trip in 1952 with his best friend, Alberto Granado on “the Mighty One,” an old tired motorcycle.
These journeys changed his views and he was enlightened on the true state of economic conditions of Latin American countries. On his trips, the famous Hispanic leader was enraged with the poor working conditions of ordinary workers which were further aggravated by the exploitation of capitalists and wealthy landlords.
He saw with his own eyes the helplessness of the poor to combat disease, poverty and hunger. This convinced him to leave his medical practice for the arena of armed struggle.
In 1953, the democratically-elected Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman sparked his genuine desire to redistribute the land to the landless peasants.
He went to Guatemala to help in whatever way he could and met Peruvian Economist Hilda Gadea Acosta who introduced him to the left leaning officials of the Guzman government.
He also joined the crusade of 26th of July movement led by Fidel Castro on their attempt to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista.
In 1954, President Arbenz received an infantry of artillery weapons sent by Communist Czechoslovakia which paved the way for a CIA-sponsored invasion and installed right-wing dictator Carlos Castillo Armas. This fully convinced him that an armed struggle was necessary and he took the initiative to fight imperialism.
He left Guatemala frustrated in 1955 and went to Mexico where he briefly practiced his medical profession. A few months later, Hilda Gadea followed him and they got married in September 1955.
In Mexico, his association with the 26th of July movement became more intense. He joined the Cuban exiles journey back to Cuba, but before the group landed on the shores of Cuba, Batista’s troops trounced it. The survivors sought refuge on the Sierra Maestra Mountains.
With his intelligence and high moral authority, he became second in command on the 26th of July movement next to Fidel Castro. He led successful guerrilla attacks that forced Batista to leave Cuba on the early morning of January 1, 1959.
When Castro became prime minister in February 1959, El Che Guevara was proclaimed a “Cuban citizen by birth” in recognition to his valuable contribution to the triumphant Cuban revolution.
Ernesto was appointed Minister of Industries as well as Minister of Finance simultaneously, and gained world stature as a revolutionary statesman.
The Famous Ché Guevara Posters
These images have traveled the world inspiring thousands of rebels to fight for their cause. In Latin American countries, Guevara is a legend and will continue to be. Our wonderful Central and South American nations are still plagued with dictatorships and unfair conditions for our people.
Here are some of the most representative images of Guevara, when he was a true rebel aiding in the Cuban political process that aimed to improve conditions for all, a process today, that is far from its idealistic beginnings.
In 1965, Ché resigned from his positions in government and went to Africa to help on the ongoing Congo conflict. With very little success and deteriorating health, he left Congo in November 1965 and secretly lived in Prague while recovering from his illness for six months. After he fully recovered, he went to Bolivia to help organized guerrilla warfare against the administration of Bolivian president Rene Barrientos.
On October 9, 1967 the Bolivian forces captured Ché Guevara and executed him two days after. This is not the only Ché Guevara biography that shows Ché’s revolutionary life adored by millions. His ideas still resonate strongly in the minds of those who want to change oppression and poverty in many countries around the world.
Ché Guevara Books
Interested in diving into Ché Guevara’s life even deeper? Check out these books and audio materials that tell the story of Che’s leadership in many facets of his life.