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Ernesto Che Guevara

Ernesto Che Guevara biography
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Ernesto Che Guevara biography

Ernesto Che Guevara was a politician, military, doctor, writer and Argentine-Cuban journalist, recognized for being one of the ideologists and commanders of the Cuban Revolution. He was born on May 14, 1928 (June 14 according to his birth certificate, allegedly forged) in Rosario, Argentina and is the son of Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna both, which belonged to families of the upper class and aristocracy from Argentina.

At two years old he suffers his first attack of asthma and by medical recommendations, his family decided to move to the city of Alta Gracia (province of Córdoba) where they lived for 17 years and began his primary school studies and in the city of Córdoba the secondary school. As the asthma attacks were constant, of a severity that he had to stay in bed for days and maintain a constant medical control due to his illness, he was an extraordinary reader, a great chess game enthusiast, which generated in him a strong spirit of discipline and self-control

In 1946, his family moved to Buenos Aires, to a department of his paternal grandmother Ana Isabel when she fell ill, Ernesto took care of her for 17 days and when she died he announced that he would study medicine.

In December 1947, Ernesto Guevara entered the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Buenos Aires, until the year 1953, which received the title of Physician. For 1952 he made his first trip through Latin America (Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela) in the company of his friend Alberto Granados.

After obtaining his university degree as a doctor, he dedicated himself to his career and began working as an assistant in a Specialized Clinic in allergies that was dedicated to the investigation of asthma, directed by Dr. Salvador Pisaní. In the medical school, he had met Berta Gilda Tita Infante. A Cordovan militant communist university student with whom she would maintain a strong friendship for the rest of his life.

While in Buenos Aires, he began to travel by hand, bicycle or motorcycle with little money, these trips meant for him a social and human experience that put him in contact with the workers and the humble people of Argentina and Latin America; which would eventually lead him to join the guerrilla group that would carry out the Cuban Revolution.

In 1953 Ernesto Guevara began with his childhood friend Carlos Calica Ferrer the second of his two international trips across America with the goal of going to Caracas where his friend Alberto Granados who was waiting there. In his tour when he arrived in Guatemala he met Hilda Gadea, a Peruvian exile leader of the APRA (American Revolutionary Popular Alliance) who would later become his first wife. He also met a group of Cuban exiles among whom was Antonio Ñico López with whom he established a solid friendship. It was Ñico who called him “Che.”

“I prefer to die standing, to live to kneel.” Ernesto Che Guevara

In September 1954, Che Guevara left for Mexico, where he defined his political ideas, married, had his first daughter and joined the “26 de Julio Movement” led by Fidel Castro, in order to form a guerrilla group in Cuba to overthrow to the dictator Fulgencio Batista and start a social revolution.

In Mexico, he worked as a photographer for the Argentinean agency Agencia Latina that closed shortly after, he also did it in the general hospital and the children’s hospital as an allergist and researcher.

In 1955 he met Fidel Castro and he offered to join the July 26 movement as a doctor and Che immediately accepted. In 1956 a group of about twenty people began training in guerrilla warfare under the command of Spanish Colonel Alberto Bayo, Che excelled in military training and became one of the leaders of the group. On February 15, his daughter Hilda Beatriz Guevara was born.

Between June 20 and 24, Fidel Castro, his brother Raúl, Che Guevara and most of the group were arrested by the Mexican police.

On November 25 of the same year, a group of 82 guerrillas from the July 26 Movement, including Che Guevara, embarked in the port of Túxpam on their way to Cuba. Three days later, after having disembarked trying to organize, the group was ambushed by the army in Alegría de Pío. Most of the group died in combat, others were arrested. The rest dispersed, Guevara was superficially wounded in the neck.

In 1957 he participated in the first victorious battle of the rebels in La Plata. In the first months of this year, the small guerrilla group remained precariously, followed by a series of small combats.

On April 28, Fidel achieved another strong coup: he gave a press conference for the US radio and television station CBS on the top of the turquino peak, the highest mountain in Cuba. On July 17, Che had a small autonomous army of 26 fighters, Fidel Castro promoted him to the rank of Captain and five days later appointed him commander of the formation so Ernesto would have to be addressed as “Commander Che Guevara.”

 

FROM THE REVOLUTION TO THE POLITICS

The new Revolutionary Regime granted Che Guevara the Cuban nationality and appointed him Chief of the Militia and Director of the Institute of Agrarian Reform in 1959. Then the President of the National Bank and Minister of Economy (1960) and finally, Minister of Industry (1961). In those years, Che represented Cuba in several international forums, in which he denounced US imperialism frontally. In November of 1960, he started a trip through the communist countries: Czechoslovakia, Soviet Union, China, Korea and Democratic Germany.

In the Soviet Union, he was invited to share with Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev and the rest of the Supreme Soviet the main stand in the parade celebrating the anniversary of the Russian Revolution. The trip was successful and both the Soviet Union and China committed themselves to buy most of the Cuban harvest. In China, he met Mao Tse Tun, Zedong and Zhou Enlai. In Democratic Germany, he met Tamara Bunke, an Argentine-German, who later moved to Cuba and was part of the Che guerrilla in Bolivia, with the name of Tania.

In 1963, after an extensive training in Cuba, he sent a guerrilla group to Argentina, but it was a failure, which led him to evaluate other places different to his country and even other continents. At the end of 1964, Che Guevara had decided to leave the government to lead the sending of Cuban troops to other countries in order to support the revolutionary movements underway. At the beginning of 1965, he wrote a letter to Fidel Castro renouncing all his positions and the Cuban Nationality announcing his departure to new battlefields.

After many years of struggle with the group baptized as National Liberation Army, composed of Cuban veterans and Some Bolivian communists found themselves with a lack of support and without any rural support, isolated in a jungle region where his asthmatic problem worsened. Ernesto was betrayed by local peasants and fell in an ambush in the Churo stream (Bolivia), on October 8, 1967, facing government troops, was shot in the left leg and captured along with Simeon Cuba.

The Bolivian military, advised by the CIA, wanted to destroy the revolutionary myth, assassinating him. After his capture, they were taken to the Higuera and taken to the school where they were kept in different classrooms. On October 9th in the morning the Bolivian government announced that Ernesto Che Guevara had died in combat the day before, but shortly after noon, President Barrientos gave the order to execute Che Guevara. It was agent Rodriguez who received the order to shoot him and he, in turn, told Che that he would be shot. Before the shooting Rodriguez agent interrogated him, took him out of the classroom to take several pictures, and then ordered Terán to fulfill the order. Shortly before his companions Simeon and Juan Carlos had run with the same fate.

The afternoon of October 9, 1967, he died at the age of 39 and was taken by helicopter to Vallegrande where he remained on public display all that day and the next. On June 28, 1997, a group of Cuban and Argentine experts discovered a mass grave in Valle Grande with the remains of Che Guevara and six other guerrillas: “People may die, but never their ideas.” Ernesto Che Guevara

On July 12, 1997, the remains of Che were taken to Cuba and received by a crowd to be buried in Santa Clara in the Memorial of Ernesto Guevara.

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