Articles/Biographies/Politicians/Guevara, Ernesto "Che"

Che Guevara was born Ernesto Guevara on June 14, 1928 in Rosario, Argentina. His family owned a ranch and was relatively wealthy. He developed asthma at an early age and, although his family moved to a drier area, it did not improve his condition. He grew up as a sickly child and was unable to play in rough sports like his friends. As a result, he read a lot of books and became something of an intellectual.

He attended college classes at the Buenos Aires University, but didn't participate in the revolutionary students movement. He focused on his studies of medicine, with a specialization in leprosy. During his college years, Che also spent a lot of time playing rugby, his favorite sport.

Late in his college years, Che left with his friend Alberto Granado, a biochemist, for a massive tour of South America on an old motorcycle. They traveled to Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, and Argentina before returning to Argentina, where Che finished medical school. During his travels, he had developed Marxist views and met Fidel Castro during a residency in Mexico City.

He spoke frequently with Castro, learning more about Marxism and pledging his help to the revolution in Cuba, which was controlled by dictator Fulgencio Batista. Guevara, Castro, and other revolutionaries were trained in the art of guerrilla warfare on a farm in Mexico by a captain in the Spanish Republican Army. They gave Guevara his nickname "Che", which is a word often used in Argentina to say "hey" or "wow". The Mexican police arrested Castro and Guevara during their training, but they were released shortly after.

Che was a doctor to the soldiers under him in the Cuban Revolution, but also served as a commander. Che and Castro began to develop differences in opinion, most notably on economic policy, eventually resulting in Che's resignation. Che left for the African Congo with 120 Cuban revolutionaries to initiate a communist revolution there, but it ultimately failed.

Che moved back to South America and took an intense interest in Bolivia, believing that it was weak enough to allow a revolution due to the large poverty rate. He found it very difficult to recruit people and was arrested by the Bolivian Special Forces on October 8, 1967. His arrest was reportedly backed by the CIA, who feared the spread of communism in South America. The next day, he was taken to an abandoned schoolhouse in the town of La Higuera and executed that afternoon. His last words before the execution were reportedly "You are only killing one man". Following his death, his body was dumped in an unknown and has not been found since.

In 2005, the movie "The Motorcycle Diaries" was released, featuring an account of Che's travels throughout South America.