After his execution by the Bolivian army, he was regarded as a martyred hero by generations of leftists worldwide, and his image became an icon of leftist radicalism and anti-imperialism. Top Questions Why was Che Guevara so influential? Che Guevara was a prominent communist figure in the Cuban Revolution —59 and a guerrilla leader in South America who became a powerful symbol for revolutionary action. After his execution by the Bolivian army, he was regarded as a martyred hero by generations of leftists, and his image became an icon of leftist radicalism and anti-imperialism.
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Professor of History and Literature Ph. He also served in the government of Cuba after the communist takeover before leaving Cuba to try to stir up rebellions in Africa and South America. He was captured and executed by Bolivian security forces in Today, he is considered by many to be a symbol of rebellion and idealism, while others see him as a murderer. His family was somewhat aristocratic and could trace their lineage to the early days of Argentine settlement.
The family moved around a great deal while Ernesto was young. He developed severe asthma early in life; the attacks were so bad that witnesses were occasionally scared for his life. He was determined to overcome his ailment, however, and was very active in his youth, playing rugby, swimming, and doing other physical activities. He also received an excellent education.
Medicine In , Ernesto moved to Buenos Aires to care for his elderly grandmother. She died shortly thereafter and he began medical school. Some believe he was driven to study medicine because of his inability to save his grandmother. He remained very close to his mother and stayed fit through exercise, although his asthma continued to plague him.
He decided to take a vacation and put his studies on hold. For the first part of the trip, they had a Norton motorcycle, but it was in poor repair and had to be abandoned in Santiago.
They traveled through Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela, where they parted ways. Ernesto continued to Miami and returned to Argentina from there. Ernesto kept notes during his trip, which he subsequently made into a book, "The Motorcycle Diaries," which was made into an award-winning movie in The trip showed him the poverty and misery all throughout Latin America and he wanted to do something about it, even if he did not know what. Guatemala Ernesto returned to Argentina in and finished medical school.
He left again almost immediately, however, heading up the western Andes and traveling through Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia before reaching Central America. He eventually settled for a while in Guatemala, at the time experimenting with significant land reform under President Jacobo Arbenz. It was about this time that he acquired his nickname "Che," an Argentine expression meaning more or less "hey there.
Che took refuge in the Argentine Embassy before securing safe passage to Mexico. Che had been looking for a way to strike a blow against the imperialism of the United States that he had seen firsthand in Guatemala and elsewhere in Latin America; he eagerly signed on for the revolution, and Fidel was delighted to have a doctor.
At this time, Che also became close friends with fellow revolutionary Camilo Cienfuegos. Transition to Cuba Che was one of 82 men who piled onto the yacht Granma in November The Granma, designed for only 12 passengers and loaded with supplies, gas, and weapons, barely made it to Cuba, arriving on December 2. Che and the others made for the mountains but were tracked down and attacked by security forces. Fewer than 20 of the original Granma soldiers made it into the mountains; the two Castros, Che, and Camilo were among them.
Che had been wounded, shot during the skirmish. In the mountains, they settled in for a long guerrilla war, attacking government posts, releasing propaganda, and attracting new recruits. Che was clever, dedicated, determined, and tough, though his asthma was a constant torture for him. He saw to their training himself and indoctrinated his soldiers with communist beliefs. He was organized and demanded discipline and hard work from his men. He occasionally allowed foreign journalists to visit his camps and write about the revolution.
This strategy was a huge mistake and backfired badly. The rebels knew the mountains well and ran circles around the army. Many of the soldiers, demoralized, deserted or even switched sides. At the end of , Castro decided it was time for the knockout punch.
Santa Clara Che was assigned to capture the strategic city of Santa Clara. On paper, it looked like suicide. There were some 2, federal troops there, with tanks and fortifications. Che himself only had roughly ragged men, poorly armed and hungry. Morale was low among the Cuban soldiers, however, and the populace of Santa Clara mostly supported the rebels. Che arrived on December 28 and the fighting began. By December 31, the rebels controlled the police headquarters and the city but not the fortified barracks.
After the Revolution Che and the other rebels rode into Havana in triumph and began setting up a new government. Che organized hundreds of trials of Batista cronies, most of them in the army or police forces. Most of these trials ended in a conviction and execution. He felt that an example needed to be made of those who had supported tyranny. He was made the head of the Ministry of Industry and head of the Cuban Bank.
His calling was revolution, and he would go and spread it around the world. He disappeared from public life leading to incorrect rumors about a strained relationship with Fidel and began plans for bringing about revolutions in other nations. Congo When Che had left, Fidel read a letter to all of Cuba in which Che declared his intention to spread revolution, fighting imperialism wherever he could find it.
Kabila proved unreliable, Che and the other Cubans failed to duplicate the conditions of the Cuban Revolution, and a massive mercenary force led by South African "Mad" Mike Hoare was sent to root them out.
Che wanted to remain and die fighting as a martyr, but his Cuban companions convinced him to escape. All in all, Che was in Congo for about nine months and he considered it one of his greatest failures. Bolivia Back in Cuba, Che wanted to try again for another communist revolution, this time in Argentina.
Fidel and the others convinced him that he was more likely to succeed in Bolivia. Che went to Bolivia in From the start, this effort was also a fiasco. Che and the 50 or so Cubans who accompanied him were supposed to get support from clandestine communists in Bolivia, but they proved unreliable and possibly were the ones who betrayed him. He was also up against the CIA, which was in Bolivia training Bolivian officers in counterinsurgency techniques.
The End Che and his ragged band scored some early victories against the Bolivian army in mid In August, his men were caught by surprise and one-third of his force was wiped out in a firefight; by October, he was down to only about 20 men and had little in the way of food or supplies. That was a lot of money in those days in rural Bolivia. By the first week of October, Bolivian security forces were closing in on Che and his rebels.
Death On October 7, Che and his men stopped to rest in the Yuro ravine. Local peasants alerted the army, who moved in. A firefight broke out, killing some rebels, and Che himself was injured in the leg. On October 8, he was captured alive, allegedly shouting out to his captors "I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead. With his capture, the rebel movement he headed was essentially over. Legacy Che Guevara had a huge impact on his world, not only as a major player in the Cuban Revolution but also afterward, when he tried to export the revolution to other nations.
He achieved the martyrdom that he so desired, and in doing so he became a larger-than-life figure. Che is one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century. Many revere him, especially in Cuba, where his face is on the 3-peso note and every day schoolchildren vow to "be like Che" as part of a daily chant. Around the world, people wear t-shirts with his image on them, usually portraying a famous photo taken of Che in Cuba by photographer Alberto Korda more than one person has noted the irony of hundreds of capitalists making money selling a famous image of a communist.
His fans believe that he stood for freedom from imperialism, idealism, and a love for the common man and that he died for his beliefs. Many despise Che, however. They see him as a murderer for his time presiding over the execution of Batista supporters, criticize him as the representative of a failed communist ideology and deplore his handling of the Cuban economy. Around the world, people love or hate Che Guevara.
Either way, they will not soon forget him. New York: Vintage Books, Coltman, Leycester. The Real Fidel Castro.
Sabsay, Fernando. Buenos Aires: Editorial El Ateneo,
Che Guevara (1928 - 1967)
In spite of a six-year age difference, Guevara and Granado, a year-old biochemist, had been friends for nearly a decade. The duo shared an intellectual curiosity and a hunger for adventure as they embarked on an odyssey up the spine of South America. Ernesto "Che" Guevara circa Plagued by his chronic asthma, Guevara had a rough start to the trip as he contracted the flu and nursed a broken heart after receiving a break-up letter from his girlfriend. They forged northward, however, through deserts and rainforests by hitching rides, walking, riding horses and even stowing away on a ship. The pair slept in garages, barns and police stations as well as under the stars. There, Guevara witnessed the exploitation of the mine workers.
He was the eldest of five children in a middle-class Argentine family of Spanish including Basque and Cantabrian descent, as well as Irish by means of his patrilineal ancestor Patrick Lynch. Wells and Robert Frost. These included composing analytical sketches of Buddha and Aristotle , along with examining Bertrand Russell on love and patriotism, Jack London on society and Nietzsche on the idea of death. His "hunger to explore the world"  led him to intersperse his collegiate pursuits with two long introspective journeys that fundamentally changed the way he viewed himself and the contemporary economic conditions in Latin America. For the latter, he took a year off from his studies to embark with his friend Alberto Granado , with the final goal of spending a few weeks volunteering at the San Pablo leper colony in Peru , on the banks of the Amazon River. A motorcycle journey the length of South America awakened him to the injustice of US domination in the hemisphere, and to the suffering colonialism brought to its original inhabitants. By the end of the trip, he came to view Latin America not as collection of separate nations, but as a single entity requiring a continent-wide liberation strategy.
A photograph of him by Alberto Korda became an iconic image of the 20th century. In he went to Mexico and the following year he met Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. Castro overthrew Batista in and took power in Cuba. From , Guevara was president of the National Bank of Cuba, and then minister of industry. In this position, he travelled the world as an ambassador for Cuba.
Biography of Ernesto Che Guevara, Revolutionary Leader
Who Was Che Guevara? Guevara studied medicine before traveling around South America, observing the conditions that spurred his Marxist beliefs. Guevara later engaged in guerrilla action elsewhere, including in Bolivia, where he was captured and executed in He was plagued by asthma in his youth but still managed to distinguish himself as an athlete. After graduating from high school with honors, Guevara studied medicine at the University of Buenos Aires, but in he left the school to travel around South America with a friend. The poor living conditions he witnessed on their nine-month journey had a profound effect on Guevara, and he returned to medical school the following year, intent on providing care for the needy. He received his degree in