Ernesto Che Guevara, an Argentinean doctor and revolutionary who was instrumental in the Cuban Revolution, lived from June 14, 1928, until October 9, 1967. After the communist takeover, he worked in the Cuban administration as well before emigrating to try to incite uprisings in Africa and South America. Bolivian security agents apprehended him and put him to death in 1967. He is now viewed as a murderer by some, while others see him as a symbol of defiance and idealism.
Ernesto was born in Rosario, Argentina, into a middle-class family. He could trace his family’s ancestry back to the earliest Argentine settlers, making his family somewhat aristocratic. During Ernesto Che Guevara’s early years, the family relocated frequently. Early in boyhood, he was diagnosed with severe asthma; periodically, the attacks were so severe that people nearby feared for his life. He was highly active as a young man, playing rugby, swimming, and engaging in other physical sports. Nevertheless, he was determined to recover from his illness. He also had a very good education.
Ernesto relocated to Buenos Aires in 1947 to take care of his old grandma. Soon after, she passed away, and he started medical school. Some people think that his inability to save his grandmother inspired him to pursue a career in medicine. He firmly believed that a patient’s mental health is just as essential as the medication they are given. Even though his asthma persisted, he continued to exercise, remained very close to his mother and maintained his fitness. He made a choice to forgo his academics in favor of a holiday.
Norton Motorcycle Diaries
Together with his close friend Alberto Granado, Ernesto embarked on a journey through South America’s north at the end of 1951. They had a Norton motorcycle for the initial leg of the journey, but it was in bad shape and had to be abandoned at Santiago. They journeyed through Chile, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela before splitting up. Ernesto carried on to Miami before making his way back to Argentina. Throughout his journey, Ernesto Che Guevara wrote a journal that he later turned into a book called “The Motorcycle Diaries,” which was turned into a critically acclaimed film in 2004. After seeing the poverty and suffering in Latin America, he wanted to do something about it even though he had no idea what.
Mexico And Fidel
Raul Castro, one of the organizers of the 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks in Cuba, was someone Ernesto Che Guevara met and became friends with in Mexico. The head of the 26th of July movement, which attempted to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, Raul quickly brought his new companion to his brother Fidel. Che quickly joined the revolution because he wanted to fight American imperialism, which he had witnessed firsthand in Guatemala and other parts of Latin America; Fidel was happy to have a doctor on board. At this time, Che also grew close with Camilo Cienfuegos, another revolutionary.
Perhaps second only to Fidel Castro himself, Che was a significant figure in the Cuban Revolution. Though his asthma was a continual source of suffering, Che was intelligent, devoted, tough and determined. As a comandante, he received his own command. He oversaw their instruction personally and brainwashed his troops with communist ideologies. He was well-organized and he expected his troops to work hard and with discipline. On rare occasions, he welcomed foreign reporters to his camps so they could report on the uprising. Che’s column was extremely active, taking part in a number of clashes with the Cuban army in 1957 and 1958.
Che The Revolutionary
Che made the decision in 1965 that working for the government, even in a high position, was not his calling. He would travel the world to spread the revolution which was his calling. He vanished from the public eye and started making plans to start revolutions in other countries. Che chose to travel to the Congo to support a revolution there that was being headed by Laurent Desire Kabila because the communists thought that Africa was the weak link in the western capitalist/imperialist stranglehold on the world.
Midway through 1967, Che and his ragtag group of fighters began to win several battles with the Bolivian army. By October, he had only about 20 men left and had no access to food or supplies. After his men were ambushed in August and one-third of his squad was decimated in a gunfight. The Bolivian government had already put up a reward of $4,000 for information that might lead to Che. In rural Bolivia at the time, that was a substantial sum of money. The Bolivian security forces were closing in on Che and his rebels by the first week of October.
Death Of Che Guevara
Che and his troops halted to rest at the Yuro ravine on October 7. Peasants in the area informed the soldiers, which entered. Che suffered a leg injury during the ensuing shootout, which resulted in the deaths of other rebels. He was taken alive on October 8 and is said to have said to his captors, “I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead.” That evening, he was questioned by the army and CIA personnel, but he did not have anything to divulge. The insurgent movement he led was effectively put to rest after his capture. On October 9, the order was granted, and Sergeant Mario Terán of the Bolivian Army shot Che to death.
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