Che Guevara

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Ernesto "Che" Guevara

Che Guevara at the La Coubre memorial service.

Taken by Alberto Korda on March 5, 1960

Date of birth: June 14, 1928[1]
Place of birth: Rosario, Argentina
Date of death: October 9, 1967 (aged 39)
Place of death: La Higuera, Bolivia
Major organizations: 26th of July Movement, United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution,[2] National Liberation Army (Bolivia)
Religion: Atheist[3]

Ernesto "Che" Guevara (June 14,[1] 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara, El Che, or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, politician, author, physician, military theorist, and guerrilla leader. After death, his stylized image became a ubiquitous countercultural symbol worldwide.

As a young medical student, Guevara traveled throughout Latin America and was transformed by the endemic poverty he witnessed. His experiences and observations during these trips led him to conclude that the region's ingrained economic inequalities were an intrinsic result of monopoly capitalism, neocolonialism, and imperialism, with the only remedy being world revolution. This belief prompted his involvement in Guatemala's social reforms under President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow solidified Guevara's radical ideology.

Later, in Mexico, he met Fidel Castro and joined his 26th of July Movement. In December 1956, he was among the revolutionaries who invaded Cuba under Castro's leadership with the intention of overthrowing U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Guevara soon rose to prominence among the insurgents, was promoted to Comandante, and played a pivotal role in the successful two year guerrilla campaign that deposed Batista.[4] Following the Cuban revolution, Guevara reviewed the appeals of those convicted as war criminals during the revolutionary tribunals, ratifying sentences which in some cases (the number of death sentences is disputed) involved execution by firing squads.[5] Later he served as minister of industry and president of the national bank, before traversing the globe as a diplomat to meet an array of world leaders on behalf of Cuban socialism. He was a prolific writer and diarist, composing a seminal manual on the theory and practice of guerrilla warfare, along with an acclaimed memoir about his motorcycle journey across South America. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to incite revolutions first in an unsuccessful attempt in Congo-Kinshasa and later in Bolivia, where he was captured with the help of the CIA and executed.

Both notorious as a ruthless disciplinarian who unhesitatingly shot defectors and revered by supporters for his rigid dedication to professed doctrines, Guevara remains a controversial and significant historical figure. As a result of his perceived martyrdom, poetic invocations for class struggle, and desire to create the consciousness of a "new man" driven by "moral" rather than "material" incentives,[6] Guevara evolved into a quintessential icon of leftist-inspired movements. Paradoxically and in contradiction with his ideology, Che's visage was also reconstituted as a global marketing emblem and insignia within popular culture. He has been mostly venerated and occasionally reviled in a multitude of biographies, memoirs, books, essays, documentaries, songs, and films. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century,[7] while an Alberto Korda photograph of him entitled Guerrillero Heroico (shown), was declared "the most famous photograph in the world."[8]


Early life

Ernesto "Che" Guevara's birthplace, in Rosario, Argentina.     (Other view)

Ernesto Guevara was born to Celia de la Serna and Ernesto Guevara Lynch on June 14, 1928[1] in Rosario, Argentina, the eldest of five children in a family of Spanish, Basque and Irish descent.[9] In reference to Che's "restless" nature, his father declared "the first thing to note is that in my son's veins flowed the blood of the Irish rebels."[10] Growing up in a family with leftist leanings, Guevara was introduced to a wide spectrum of political perspectives even as a boy. His father, a staunch supporter of Republicans from the Spanish Civil War, often hosted many veterans from the conflict in the Guevara home.[11]

Though suffering crippling bouts of acute asthma that were to afflict him throughout his life, he excelled as an athlete, enjoying swimming, soccer, and golf.[12] He was an avid rugby union player and earned himself the nickname "Fuser"—a contraction of El Furibundo (raging) and his mother's surname, de la Serna—for his aggressive style of play.[13] His schoolmates also nicknamed him "Chancho" ("pig"), because he rarely bathed, and proudly wore a "weekly shirt."

A teenage Ernesto (left) with his parents and siblings, ca. 1944. Seated beside him, from left to right: Celia (mother), Celia (sister), Roberto, Juan Martín, Ernesto (father) and Ana María.

Guevara learned chess from his father and began participating in local tournaments by age 12. During adolescence and throughout his life he was passionate about poetry, especially that of Pablo Neruda, John Keats, Antonio Machado, Federico García Lorca, Gabriela Mistral, César Vallejo, and Walt Whitman.[14] He could also recite Rudyard Kipling's "If" and José Hernández's "Martín Fierro" from memory.[15] The Guevara home contained more than 3,000 books, which allowed Guevara to be an enthusiastic and eclectic reader, with interests including Karl Marx, William Faulkner, André Gide, Emilio Salgari and Jules Verne.[16] Additionally, he enjoyed the works of Jawaharlal Nehru, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Vladimir Lenin, and Jean-Paul Sartre; as well as Anatole France, Friedrich Engels, H.G. Wells, and Robert Frost.[17]

A 22-year-old Guevara in 1951

As he grew older, he developed an interest in the Latin American writers Horacio Quiroga, Ciro Alegría, Jorge Icaza, Rubén Darío, and Miguel Asturias.[18] Many of these authors' ideas he would catalog in his own handwritten notebooks of concepts, definitions, and philosophies of influential intellectuals. 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. Sigmund Freud's ideas fascinated him as he quoted him on a variety of topics from dreams and libido to narcissism and the oedipus complex.[19] His favorite subjects in school included philosophy, mathematics, engineering, political science, and sociology.[20]

In 1948, Guevara entered the University of Buenos Aires to study medicine. But in 1951, he took a year off from studies to embark on a trip traversing South America by motorcycle 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. Guevara used notes taken during this trip to write an account entitled The Motorcycle Diaries, which later became a New York Times best-seller,[21] and was adapted into a 2004 award-winning film of the same name.

Witnessing the widespread poverty, oppression and disenfranchisement throughout Latin America, and influenced by his readings of Marxist literature, Guevara began to view armed revolution as the solution to social inequality. By trip's end, he came to view Latin America not as collection of separate nations, but as a single entity requiring a continent-wide liberation strategy. His conception of a borderless, united Hispanic America sharing a common 'Latino' heritage was a theme that prominently recurred during his later revolutionary activities. Upon returning to Argentina, he completed his studies and received his medical diploma in June 1953, making him officially "Dr. Ernesto Guevara".[22]


On July 7, 1953, Guevara set out again, this time to Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. On December 10, 1953, before leaving for Guatemala, Guevara sent an update to his Aunt Beatriz from San José, Costa Rica. In the letter Guevara speaks of traversing through the "dominions" of the United Fruit Company, which convinced him "how terrible" the "Capitalist octopuses" were.[23] This affirmed indignation carried the "head hunting tone" that he adopted in order to frighten his more Conservative relatives, and ends with Guevara swearing on an image of the then recently deceased Josef Stalin, not to rest until these "octopuses have been vanquished."[24] Later that month, Guevara arrived in Guatemala where President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán headed a democratically elected government that, through land reform and other initiatives, was attempting to end the latifundia system. Guevara decided to settle down in Guatemala so as to "perfect himself and accomplish whatever may be necessary in order to become a true revolutionary".[25]

Che Guevara's movements between 1953 and 1956, including his trip north to Guatemala, his stay in Mexico and his journey east by boat to Cuba with Fidel Castro and other revolutionaries

Guevara later remarked that through his travels of Latin America, he came in "close contact with poverty, hunger and disease" along with the "inability to treat a child because of lack of money" and "stupefaction provoked by the continual hunger and punishment" that leads a father to "accept the loss of a son as an unimportant accident". It was these experiences which Guevara cites as convincing him that in order to "help these people", he needed to leave the realm of medicine, and consider the political arena of armed struggle.[26]

In Guatemala City, Guevara sought out Hilda Gadea Acosta, a Peruvian economist who was well-connected politically as a member of the left-leaning Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (APRA, American Popular Revolutionary Alliance). She introduced Guevara to a number of high-level officials in the Arbenz government. Guevara then established contact with a group of Cuban exiles linked to Fidel Castro through the July 26, 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba.[27] During this period he acquired his famous nickname, due to his frequent use of the Argentine diminutive interjection che, a slang casual speech filler used similarly to "eh" or "pal."[28]

Guevara's attempts to obtain a medical internship were unsuccessful and his economic situation was often precarious. On 15 May 1954 a shipment of Škoda infantry and light artillery weapons was sent from Communist Czechoslovakia for the Arbenz Government and arrived in Puerto Barrios,[29][30] prompting a CIA-sponsored coup attempt.[29] Guevara was eager to fight on behalf of Arbenz and joined an armed militia organized by the Communist Youth for that purpose, but frustrated with the group's inaction, he soon returned to medical duties. Following the coup, he again volunteered to fight, but soon after, Arbenz took refuge in the Mexican Embassy and told his foreign supporters to leave the country. After Hilda Gadea was arrested, Guevara sought protection inside the Argentine consulate, where he remained until he received a safe-conduct pass some weeks later and made his way to Mexico.[31]

The overthrow of the Arbenz regime cemented Guevara's view of the United States as an imperialist power that would oppose and attempt to destroy any government that sought to redress the socioeconomic inequality endemic to Latin America and other developing countries. This strengthened his conviction that Marxism achieved through armed struggle and defended by an armed populace was the only way to rectify such conditions.[32] Gadea wrote later, "It was Guatemala which finally convinced him of the necessity for armed struggle and for taking the initiative against imperialism. By the time he left, he was sure of this."[33]


Riding a mule in Las Villas province, Cuba, November 1958

Guevara arrived in Mexico City in early September 1954, and renewed his friendship with Ñico López and the other Cuban exiles whom he had met in Guatemala. In June 1955, López introduced him to Raúl Castro who subsequently introduced him to his older brother, Fidel Castro, the revolutionary leader who had formed the 26th of July Movement and was now plotting to overthrow the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. During a long conversation with Castro on the night of their first meeting, Guevara concluded that the Cuban's cause was the one for which he had been searching and before daybreak he had signed up as a member of the 26J Movement.[34] By this point in Guevara’s life, he deemed that U.S.-controlled conglomerates installed and supported repressive regimes around the world. In this vein, he considered Batista a "U.S. puppet whose strings needed cutting."[35]

Although he planned to be the group's combat medic, Guevara participated in the military training with the members of the Movement, and, at the end of the course, was called "the best guerrilla of them all" by their instructor, Colonel Alberto Bayo.[36] The first step in Castro's revolutionary plan was an assault on Cuba from Mexico via the Granma, an old, leaky cabin cruiser. They set out for Cuba on November 25, 1956. Attacked by Batista's military soon after landing, many of the 82 men were either killed in the attack or executed upon capture; only 22 found each other afterwards.[37] Guevara wrote that it was during this bloody confrontation that he laid down his medical supplies and picked up a box of ammunition dropped by a fleeing comrade, finalizing his symbolic transition from physician to combatant.

In his trademark olive-green military fatigues, 2 June 1959

Only a small band of revolutionaries survived to re-group as a bedraggled fighting force deep in the Sierra Maestra mountains, where they received support from the urban guerrilla network of Frank País, the 26th of July Movement, and local campesinos. With the group withdrawn to the Sierra, the world wondered whether Castro was alive or dead until early 1957 when the interview by Herbert Matthews appeared in The New York Times. The article presented a lasting, almost mythical image for Castro and the guerrillas. Guevara was not present for the interview, but in the coming months he began to realize the importance of the media in their struggle. Meanwhile, as supplies and morale grew low, and with an allergy to mosquito bites which resulted in agonizing walnut-sized cysts on his body,[38] Guevara considered these "the most painful days of the war."[39]

As the war continued, Guevara became an integral part of the rebel army and "convinced Castro with competence, diplomacy and patience."[4] Guevara set up factories to make grenades, built ovens to bake bread, taught new recruits about tactics, and organized schools to teach illiterate campesinos (peasants) to read and write.[4] The man who three years later would be dubbed by Time Magazine: "Castro's brain", at this point was promoted by Fidel Castro to Comandante (commander) of a second army column.[4]

As the only other ranked Comandante besides Fidel Castro, Guevara was an extremely harsh disciplinarian. Deserters were punished as traitors, and Guevara was known to send execution squads to hunt down those seeking to go AWOL.[40] As a result, Guevara became feared for his brutality and ruthlessness.[41] During the guerrilla campaign, Guevara was also responsible for the execution of a number of men accused of being informers, deserters or spies.[42] Although he maintained a demanding and harsh disposition, Guevara also viewed his role of commander as one of a teacher, entertaining his men during breaks between engagements with readings from the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson, Cervantes, and Spanish lyric poets.[43]

His commanding officer Fidel Castro has described Guevara as intelligent, daring, and an exemplary leader who "had great moral authority over his troops."[44] Castro has further remarked that Guevara took too many risks, even having a "tendency toward foolhardiness".[45]

Guevara was instrumental in creating the clandestine radio station Radio Rebelde in February 1958, which broadcast news to the Cuban people with statements by the 26th of July movement, and provided radiotelephone communication between the growing number of rebel columns across the island. Guevara had apparently been inspired to create the station by observing the effectiveness of CIA supplied radio in Guatemala in ousting the government of Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán.[46]

After the battle of Santa Clara, January 1, 1959

In late July 1958, Guevara would play a critical role in the Battle of Las Mercedes by using his column to halt a force of 1,500 men called up by Batista's General Cantillo in a plan to encircle and destroy Castro's forces. Years later, Major Larry Bockman of the United States Marine Corps would analyze and describe Che's tactical appreciation of this battle as "brilliant."[47] As the war extended, Guevara led a new column of fighters dispatched westward for the final push towards Havana. In the closing days of December 1958, Guevara directed his "suicide squad" in the attack on Santa Clara, that became the final decisive military victory of the revolution.[48][49] In the six weeks leading up to the Battle of Santa Clara there were times when his men were completely surrounded, outgunned, and overrun. Che's eventual victory despite the formidable odds and being outnumbered 10:1, remains in the view of some observers a "remarkable tour de force in modern warfare."[50] Radio Rebelde broadcast the first reports that Guevara's column had taken Santa Clara on New Year's Eve 1958. This contradicted reports by the heavily controlled national news media, which had at one stage reported Guevara's death during the fighting. Batista, upon learning that his generals were negotiating a separate peace with the rebel leader, fled to the Dominican Republic the next day on January 1, 1959.

After the revolution

(right to left) Rebel leader Camilo Cienfuegos, Cuban President Manuel Urrutia, and Guevara (January 1959)

On January 8, 1959, Castro's army rolled victoriously into Havana. In February, the revolutionary government proclaimed Guevara "a Cuban citizen by birth" in recognition of his role in the triumph.[51] When Hilda Gadea arrived in Cuba in late January, Guevara told her that he was involved with another woman, and the two agreed on a divorce,[52] which was finalized on May 22.[53] On June 2, 1959, he married Aleida March, a Cuban-born member of the 26th of July movement with whom he had been living since late 1958.[54]

During the rebellion against Batista's dictatorship, the general command of the rebel army, led by Fidel Castro, introduced into the liberated territories the 19th century penal law commonly known as the Ley de la Sierra.[55] This law included the death penalty for extremely serious crimes, whether perpetrated by the dictatorship or by supporters of the revolution. In 1959, the revolutionary government extended its application to the whole of the republic and to those it considered war criminals, captured and tried after the revolution. According to the Cuban Ministry of Justice, this latter extension was supported by the majority of the population, and followed the same procedure as those in the Nuremberg Trials held by the Allies after World War II.[56] To implement this plan, Castro named Guevara commander of the La Cabaña Fortress prison, for a five-month tenure (January 2 through June 12, 1959).[57] Guevara was charged with purging the Batista army and consolidating victory by exacting "revolutionary justice" against those considered to be traitors, chivatos (informants) or war criminals.[58] Serving in the post as commander of La Cabaña, Guevara reviewed the appeals of those convicted during the revolutionary tribunal process.[59] On some occasions the penalty delivered by the tribunal was death by firing squad.[60] Raúl Gómez Treto, senior legal advisor to the Cuban Ministry of Justice, has argued that removing restrictions on the death penalty were justified in order to prevent citizens themselves from taking justice into their own hands, as happened twenty years earlier in the anti-Machado rebellion.[61] With 20,000 Cubans estimated to have been killed at the hands of Batista's accomplices,[62] and a survey at the time showing 93% public approval for the tribunal process,[63] the newly empowered Cuban government along with Guevara concurred. Although the exact numbers differ, it is estimated that several hundred people were executed during this time.[64]

Meeting with French existentialist philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in March 1960. Guevara was fluent in French.[65]

On June 12, 1959, as soon as Guevara returned to Havana, Castro sent him out on a three-month tour of 14 countries, most of them Bandung Pact members in Africa and Asia. Sending Guevara from Havana allowed Castro to appear to be distancing himself from Che and his Marxist sympathies, that troubled both the United States and some of Castro's 26th of July Movement members.[66] He spent 12 days in Japan (July 15–27), participating in negotiations aimed at expanding Cuba's trade relations with that nation. During this visit, Guevara secretly visited the city of Hiroshima, where the American military had detonated an atom-bomb 14 years earlier. Guevara was "really shocked" at what he witnessed and by his visit to a hospital where A-bomb survivors were being treated.[67]

Upon returning to Cuba in September 1959, it was evident that Castro now had more political power. The government had begun land seizures included in the agrarian reform law, but was hedging on compensation offers to landowners, instead offering low interest "bonds", which put the U.S. on alert. At this point the affected wealthy cattlemen of Camagüey mounted a campaign against the land redistributions, and enlisted the newly disaffected rebel leader Huber Matos, who along with the anti-Communist wing of the 26th of July Movement, joined them in denouncing the "Communist encroachment."[68] During this time Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo was offering assistance to the "Anti-Communist Legion of the Caribbean" who was training in the Dominican Republic. This multi-national force comprised mostly of Spaniards and Cubans, but also of Croatians, Germans, Greeks, and right-wing mercenaries, were plotting to topple Castro.[68]

These developments prompted Castro to further clean house of "counter-revolutionaries", and appoint Guevara as Director of the Industrialization Department of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform on October 7, 1959 and as President of the National Bank of Cuba on November 26, 1959. This allowed him to retain his military rank.[69]

Guevara being received in China by Chairman Mao Zedong, at an official ceremony in the Government palace, November 1960

On March 4, 1960, the French freighter La Coubre, carrying munitions from the port of Antwerp, exploded twice while being unloaded in Havana Harbor, killing well over 100 people.[70] Guevara provided first aid to victims. It was at the memorial service for the victims of this explosion the following day that Alberto Korda took the famous photograph now known as Guerrillero Heroico.

Guevara desired to see a diversification in Cuba's economy, as well as an elimination of material incentives in favor of moral ones. He viewed capitalism as a "contest among wolves" where "one can only win at the cost of others," and thus desired to see the creation of a "new man and woman".[71] An integral part of fostering a sense of "unity between the individual and the mass", Guevara believed, was volunteer work and will. To display this, Guevara "led by example", working "endlessly at his ministry job, in construction, and even cutting sugar cane" on his day off.[72] He was known for working 36 hours at a stretch, calling meetings after midnight, and eating on the run.[73] Alongside his work schedule he wrote several publications advocating a replication of the Cuban revolutionary model, promoting small rural guerrilla groups (foco theory) as an alternative to massive armed insurrection. During this time his wife Aleida encouraged him to explore classical music, which he came to love, with Beethoven as his favorite.[74] Other luxuries which he afforded himself were maté, his favorite beverage, and Montecristo No. 4's, his cigar of choice.[74]

Guevara did not participate in the fighting of the 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion, having been ordered by Castro to a secretly prearranged command post in Cuba's western Pinar del Río province, where he fended off a decoy force.[75] During this deployment, he suffered a bullet grazing to the cheek when his pistol fell out of its holster and accidentally discharged.[76]

In August 1961, during an economic conference of the Organization of American States in Punta del Este, Uruguay, Che Guevara sent a note of "gratitude" to U.S. President John F. Kennedy through Richard N. Goodwin, a young secretary of the White House. It read "Thanks for Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs). Before the invasion, the revolution was shaky. Now it's stronger than ever."[77] In response to U.S. Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon presenting the Alliance for Progress for ratification by the meeting, Guevara antagonistically attacked the United States claim of being a "democracy", stating that such a system was not compatible with "financial oligarchy, discrimination against blacks, and outrages by the Ku Klux Klan."[78] Guevara continued, speaking out against the "persecution" that in his view "drove scientists like Oppenheimer from their posts, deprived the world for years of the marvelous voice of Paul Robeson, and sent the Rosenbergs to their deaths against the protests of a shocked world."[78]

Guevara, who was practically the architect of the Soviet-Cuban relationship,[79] played a key role in bringing to Cuba the Soviet nuclear-armed ballistic missiles that precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. During an interview with the British Communist newspaper The Daily Worker a few weeks after the crisis, Guevara still fuming, stated that if the missiles had been under Cuban control, they would have fired them off.[80] Sam Russell, the British correspondent who spoke to Guevara at the time came away with "mixed feelings", calling him "a warm character" and "clearly a man of great intelligence", but "crackers from the way he went on about the missiles."[80]

Leaves Cuba

In December 1964, Che Guevara traveled to New York City as head of the Cuban delegation to speak at the United Nations. During his impassioned address, he criticized the United Nations inability to confront the "brutal policy of apartheid" in South Africa, proclaiming "can the United Nations do nothing to stop this?"[81] Guevara then denounced the United States policy towards their black population, stating:

"Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?"[81]

An indignant Guevara ended his speech by reciting the Second Declaration of Havana, decreeing Latin America a "family of 200 million brothers who suffer the same miseries."[81] This "epic", Guevara declared, would be written by the "hungry Indian masses, peasants without land, exploited workers, and progressive masses." To Guevara the conflict was a struggle of mass and ideas, which would be carried forth by those "mistreated and scorned by imperialism" whom were previously considered "a weak and submissive flock." With this "flock", Guevara now asserted, "Yankee monopoly capitalism" now terrifyingly saw their "gravediggers."[81] It would be during this "hour of vindication" Guevara pronounced, that the "anonymous mass" would begin to write its own history "with its own blood", and reclaim those "rights that were laughed at by one and all for 500 years." Guevara ended his remarks to the United Nations general assembly by hypothesizing that this "wave of anger” would "sweep the lands of Latin America", and that the labor masses who "turn the wheel of history", for the first time were "awakening from the long, brutalizing sleep to which they had been subjected.[81]

While in New York City, Guevara also appeared on the CBS Sunday news program Face the Nation[82] and met with a range of people, from U.S. Senator Eugene McCarthy[83] to associates of Malcolm X. Malcolm X expressed his admiration, declaring Guevara "one of the most revolutionary men in this country right now" while reading a statement from him to a crowd at the Audubon Ballroom.[84]

On December 17, Guevara left for Paris and embarked on a three-month tour that included the People's Republic of China, the United Arab Republic (Egypt), Algeria, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Dahomey, Congo-Brazzaville and Tanzania, with stops in Ireland and Prague. During this voyage, he wrote a letter to Carlos Quijano, editor of a Uruguayan weekly, which was later re-titled Socialism and Man in Cuba.[85] Outlined in the treatise was Guevara's summons for the creation of a new consciousness, status of work, and role of the individual. Guevara ended the essay by declaring that "the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love" and beckoning on all revolutionaries to "strive every day so that this love of living humanity will be transformed into acts that serve as examples", thus becoming "a moving force".[85]

In Algiers on February 24, 1965, he made what turned out to be his last public appearance on the international stage when he delivered a speech at an economic seminar on Afro-Asian solidarity.[86] He specified the moral duty of the socialist countries, accusing them of tacit complicity with the exploiting Western countries. He proceeded to outline a number of measures which he said the communist-bloc countries must implement in order to accomplish the defeat of imperialism.[87] Having criticized the Soviet Union (the primary financial backer of Cuba) in such a public manner, he returned to Cuba on March 14 to a solemn reception by Fidel and Raúl Castro, Osvaldo Dorticós and Carlos Rafael Rodríguez at the Havana airport.

Two weeks later, in 1965 Guevara dropped out of public life and then vanished altogether. His whereabouts were a great mystery in Cuba, as he was generally regarded as second in power to Castro himself. His disappearance was variously attributed to the failure of the industrialization scheme he had advocated while minister of industry, to pressure exerted on Castro by Soviet officials disapproving of Guevara's pro-Chinese Communist stance on the Sino-Soviet split, and to serious differences between Guevara and the pragmatic Castro regarding Cuba's economic development and ideological line. Castro had grown increasingly wary of Guevara's popularity and considered him a potential threat. Castro's critics sometimes say his explanations for Guevara's disappearance have always been suspect.

Walking through Red Square in Moscow, November 1964

The coincidence of Guevara's views with those expounded by the Chinese Communist leadership was increasingly problematic for Cuba as the nation's economy became more and more dependent on the Soviet Union. Since the early days of the Cuban revolution, Guevara had been considered by many an advocate of Maoist strategy in Latin America and the originator of a plan for the rapid industrialization of Cuba which was frequently compared to China's "Great Leap Forward". According to Western observers of the Cuban situation, the fact that Guevara was opposed to Soviet conditions and recommendations that Castro pragmatically saw as necessary, may have been the reason for his disappearance. However, both Guevara and Castro were supportive publicly on the idea of a united front.

Following the Cuban Missile Crisis and what Guevara perceived as a Soviet betrayal when Nikita Khrushchev withdrew the missiles from Cuban territory, Guevara had grown more skeptical of the Soviet Union. As revealed in his last speech in Algiers, he had come to view the Northern Hemisphere, led by the U.S. in the West and the Soviet Union in the East, as the exploiter of the Southern Hemisphere. He strongly supported Communist North Vietnam in the Vietnam War, and urged the peoples of other developing countries to take up arms and create "many Vietnams".[88]

Pressed by international speculation regarding Guevara's fate, Castro stated on June 16, 1965 that the people would be informed when Guevara himself wished to let them know. Still, rumors spread both inside and outside Cuba. On October 3, Castro revealed an undated letter purportedly written to him by Guevara some months earlier: in it, Guevara reaffirmed his enduring solidarity with the Cuban Revolution, but declared his intention to leave Cuba to fight for the revolutionary cause abroad. Additionally, he resigned from all his positions in the government and party, and renounced his honorary Cuban citizenship.[89] Guevara's movements continued to be a closely guarded secret for the next two years.


A 37-year-old Guevara, in the Congo, 1965

In 1965, Guevara decided to venture to Africa and offer his knowledge and experience as a guerrilla to the ongoing conflict in the Congo. According to Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella, Guevara thought that Africa was imperialism's weak link and therefore had enormous revolutionary potential.[90] Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had fraternal relations with Che dating back to his 1959 visit, saw Guevara's plans to fight in the Congo as "unwise" and warned that he would become a "Tarzan" figure, doomed to failure.[91] Despite the warning, Guevara led the Cuban operation in support of the Marxist Simba movement, which had emerged from the ongoing Congo Crisis. Guevara, his second-in-command Victor Dreke, and 12 other Cuban expeditionaries arrived in the Congo on April 24, 1965 and a contingent of approximately 100 Afro-Cubans joined them soon afterward.[92][93] They collaborated for a time with guerrilla leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila, who had previously helped supporters of the slain Patrice Lumumba lead an unsuccessful revolt months earlier. Disillusioned with the discipline of Kabila's troops, Guevara would dismiss him, stating "nothing leads me to believe he is the man of the hour."[94]

South African mercenaries, led by Mike Hoare in concert with Cuban exiles and the CIA, worked with the Congo National Army to thwart Guevara. They were able to monitor his communications, and so pre-empted his attacks and interdicted his supply lines. Despite the fact that Guevara sought to conceal his presence in the Congo, the U.S. government was aware of his location and activities: The National Security Agency was intercepting all of his incoming and outgoing transmissions via equipment aboard the USNS Pvt Jose F. Valdez (T-AG-169), a floating listening post that continuously cruised the Indian Ocean off Dar es Salaam for that purpose.[95]

Listening to a Zenith Trans-Oceanic shortwave receiver are (seated from the left) Rogelio Oliva, José María Martínez Tamayo (known as "Mbili" in the Congo and "Ricardo" in Bolivia), and Guevara. Standing behind them is Roberto Sánchez ("Lawton" in Cuba and "Changa" in the Congo).

Guevara's aim was to export the revolution by instructing local anti-Mobutu Simba fighters in Marxist ideology and foco theory strategies of guerrilla warfare. In his Congo Diary, he cites the incompetence, intransigence and infighting of the local Congolese forces as key reasons for the revolt's failure.[96] Later that year, ill with dysentery, suffering from acute asthma, and disheartened after seven months of frustrations, Guevara left the Congo with the Cuban survivors. (Six members of his column had died.) At one point Guevara considered sending the wounded back to Cuba, and fighting in Congo alone until his death, as a revolutionary example; however, after being urged by his comrades and pressed by two emissaries sent by Castro, at the last moment he reluctantly agreed to retreat. A few weeks later, when writing the preface to the diary he kept during the Congo venture, he began: "This is the history of a failure."[97]

Guevara was reluctant to return to Cuba, because Castro had made public Guevara's "farewell letter" —a letter intended to only be revealed in the case of his death—wherein he severed all ties in order to devote himself to revolution throughout the world.[98] As a result, Guevara spent the next six months living clandestinely in Dar es Salaam and Prague. During this time he compiled his memoirs of the Congo experience, and wrote drafts of two more books, one on philosophy and the other on economics. He then visited several Western European countries to test his new false identity papers, created by Cuban Intelligence for his later travels to South America.


In rural Bolivia shortly before his death (1967)

Guevara's location was still not public knowledge. Representatives of Mozambique's independence movement, the FRELIMO, reported that they met with Guevara in late 1966 or early 1967 in Dar es Salaam regarding his offer to aid in their revolutionary project, which they ultimately rejected.[99] In a speech at the 1967 International Workers' Day rally in Havana, the Acting Minister of the armed forces, Major Juan Almeida, announced that Guevara was "serving the revolution somewhere in Latin America". The persistent reports that he was leading the guerrillas in Bolivia were eventually shown to be true.

At Castro's behest, a parcel of montane dry forest in the remote Ñancahuazú region had been purchased by native Bolivian Communists for Guevara to use as a training area and base camp.

Training at this camp in the Ñancahuazú valley proved to be more hazardous than combat to Guevara and the Cubans accompanying him. Little was accomplished in the way of building a guerrilla army. Former Stasi operative Haydée Tamara Bunke Bider, better known by her nom de guerre "Tania", who had been installed as his primary agent in La Paz, was reportedly also working for the KGB and is widely inferred to have unwittingly served Soviet interests by leading Bolivian authorities to Guevara's trail.[100][101]

Location of Vallegrande in Bolivia

Guevara's guerrilla force, numbering about 50 and operating as the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional de Bolivia; "National Liberation Army of Bolivia"), was well equipped and scored a number of early successes against Bolivian regulars in the difficult terrain of the mountainous Camiri region. But in September, the Army managed to eliminate two guerrilla groups in a violent battle, reportedly killing one of the leaders.

Guevara's plan for fomenting revolution in Bolivia failed, apparently because it was based on three primary misconceptions:

  • He had expected to deal only with the Bolivian military, who were poorly trained and equipped. However, Guevara was unaware that the U.S. government had sent a team of the CIA's Special Activities Division commandos and other operatives into Bolivia to aid the anti-insurrection effort. The Bolivian Army would also be trained, advised, and supplied by U.S. Army Special Forces including a recently organized elite battalion of Rangers trained in jungle warfare that set up camp in La Esperanza, a small settlement close to the location of Guevara's guerrillas.[102]
  • Guevara had expected assistance and cooperation from the local dissidents which he did not receive, nor did he receive support from Bolivia's Communist Party, under the leadership of Mario Monje, which was oriented toward Moscow rather than Havana. In Guevara's own diary captured after his death, he would bristle with complaints about the Communist Party of Bolivia, which he characterized as "distrustful, disloyal and stupid."[103]
  • He had expected to remain in radio contact with Havana. However, the two shortwave transmitters provided to him by Cuba were faulty; thus the guerrillas were unable to communicate with and be resupplied, leaving them isolated and stranded.

In addition, Guevara's known preference for confrontation rather than compromise, which had previously surfaced during his guerrilla warfare campaign in Cuba, contributed to his inability to develop successful working relationships with local leaders in Bolivia, just as it had in the Congo.[104] This tendency had existed in Cuba, but had been kept in check by the timely interventions and guidance of Fidel Castro.[105]

Capture and execution

The day after his execution on October 10, 1967, Guevara's corpse was displayed to the World press in the laundry house of the Vallegrande hospital. (photo by Freddy Alberto)
        Face     Side angle    Shoes

Félix Rodríguez, a Cuban exile turned CIA Special Activities Division operative, headed the hunt for Guevara in Bolivia.[106] On October 7, an informant apprised the Bolivian Special Forces of the location of Guevara's guerrilla encampment in the Yuro ravine. They encircled the area, and Guevara was wounded and taken prisoner while leading a detachment with Simeón Cuba Sarabia. Che biographer Jon Lee Anderson reports Bolivian Sergeant Bernardino Huanca's account: that a twice wounded Guevara, his gun rendered useless, shouted "Do not shoot! I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead."[107]

Guevara was tied up and taken to a dilapidated mud schoolhouse in the nearby village of La Higuera on the night of October 7. For the next day and a half Guevara refused to be interrogated by Bolivian officers and would only speak quietly to Bolivian soldiers. One of those Bolivian soldiers, helicopter pilot Jaime Nino de Guzman, describes Che as looking "dreadful". According to De Guzman, Guevara was shot through the right calf, his hair was matted with dirt, his clothes were shredded, and his feet were covered in rough leather sheaths. Despite his haggard appearance, he recounts that "Che held his head high, looked everyone straight in the eyes and asked only for something to smoke." De Guzman states that he "took pity" and gave him a small bag of tobacco for his pipe, with Guevara then smiling and thanking him.[108] Later on the night of October 8, Guevara, despite having his hands tied, kicked Bolivian Officer Espinosa into the wall, after the officer entered the schoolhouse in order to snatch Guevara's pipe from his mouth as a souvenir.[109] In another instance of defiance, Guevara spat in the face of Bolivian Rear Admiral Urgateche shortly before his execution.[109]

The following morning on October 9, Guevara asked to see the "maestra" (school teacher) of the village, 22-year-old Julia Cortez. Cortez would later state that she found Guevara to be an "agreeable looking man with a soft and ironic glance" and that during their conversation she found herself "unable to look him in the eye", because his "gaze was unbearable, piercing, and so tranquil."[109] During their short conversation, Guevara complained to Cortez about the poor condition of the schoolhouse, stating that it was "anti-pedagogical" to expect campesino students to be educated there, while "government officials drive Mercedes cars" ... declaring "that's what we are fighting against."[109]

Later that morning on October 9, Bolivian President René Barrientos ordered that Guevara be killed. The executioner was Mario Terán, a sergeant in the Bolivian army who had drawn a short straw after arguments over who would get to shoot Guevara broke out among the soldiers. To make the bullet wounds appear consistent with the story the government planned to release to the public, Félix Rodríguez ordered Terán to aim carefully to make it appear that Guevara had been killed in action during a clash with the Bolivian army.[110]

Moments before Guevara was executed he was asked if he was thinking about his own immortality. "No", he replied, "I'm thinking about the immortality of the revolution."[111] Che Guevara then told his executioner, "I know you've come to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man."[112] Terán hesitated, then opened fire with his semiautomatic rifle, hitting Guevara in the arms and legs. Guevara writhed on the ground, apparently biting one of his wrists to avoid crying out. Terán then fired several times again, wounding him fatally in the chest at 1:10 pm, according to Rodríguez.[113] In all Guevara was shot nine times. This included five times in the legs, once in the right shoulder and arm, once in the chest, and finally in the throat.[109]


Guevara's body was then lashed to the landing skids of a helicopter and flown to nearby Vallegrande where photographs were taken, showing a figure described by some as "Christ-like" lying on a concrete slab in the laundry room of the Nuestra Señora de Malta hospital.[114]

A declassified memorandum dated October 11, 1967 to United States President Lyndon B. Johnson from his National Security Advisor, Walt Whitman Rostow, called the decision to kill Guevara "stupid" but "understandable from a Bolivian standpoint."[115] After the execution, Rodríguez took several of Guevara's personal items, including a watch which he continued to wear many years later, often showing them to reporters during the ensuing years.[116] Today, some of these belongings, including his flashlight, are on display at the CIA.[117] After a military doctor amputated his hands, Bolivian army officers transferred Guevara's body to an undisclosed location and refused to reveal whether his remains had been buried or cremated. The hands were preserved in formaldehyde to be sent to Buenos Aires for fingerprint identification. (His fingerprints were on file with the Argentine police.) They were later sent to Cuba. On October 15, Castro acknowledged that Guevara was dead and proclaimed three days of public mourning throughout the island.[118] On October 18, Castro addressed a crowd of almost one million people in Havana and spoke about Guevara's character as a revolutionary.[119]

French intellectual Régis Debray, ‎who was captured in April 1967 while with Guevara in Bolivia, gave a jailhouse interview in August 1968, where he extrapolated on the reasons for Guevara's demise. Debray, who had lived with Guevara's band of guerrillas for a short time, espoused that in his view they were "victims of the forest" and thus "eaten by the jungle."[120] Debray described a destitute situation where Guevara's men suffered malnutrition, lack of water, absence of shoes, and only possessed six blankets for 22 men. Debray recounts that Guevara and the others had been suffering an "illness" which caused their hands and feet to swell into "mounds of flesh" to the point where you could not discern the fingers on their hands.[120] Despite the futile situation, Debray described Guevara as "optimistic about the future of Latin America" and remarked that Guevara was "resigned to die in the knowledge that his death would be a sort of renaissance", noting that Guevara perceived death "as a promise of rebirth" and "ritual of renewal."[120]

Che Guevara's Monument and Mausoleum in Santa Clara, Cuba

In late 1995, retired Bolivian General Mario Vargas revealed to Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, that Guevara's body was located near a Vallegrande airstrip. The result was a multi-national search for the remains, which would last more than a year. In July 1997, a team of Cuban geologists and Argentine forensic anthropologists discovered the remnants of seven bodies in two mass graves, including one man with amputated hands (like Guevara). Bolivian government officials with the Ministry of Interior later identified the body as Guevara when the excavated teeth "perfectly matched" a plaster mold of Che's teeth, made in Cuba prior to his Congolese expedition. The "clincher" then arrived when Argentine forensic anthropologist Alejandro Inchaurregui inspected the inside hidden pocket of a blue jacket dug up next to the handless cadaver and found a small bag of pipe tobacco. Nino de Guzman, the Bolivian helicopter pilot who had given Che a small bag of tobacco, later remarked that he "had serious doubts" at first and "thought the Cubans would just find any old bones and call it Che"; however he stated "after hearing about the tobacco pouch, I have no doubts."[108] On October 17, 1997, Guevara's remains, with those of six of his fellow combatants, were laid to rest with military honors in a specially built mausoleum in the city of Santa Clara, where he had commanded over the decisive military victory of the Cuban Revolution.[121]

Removed when Guevara was captured was his 30,000-word, hand-written diary, a collection of his personal poetry, and a short story he authored about a young Communist guerrilla who learns to overcome his fears.[122] His diary documented events of the guerrilla campaign in Bolivia[123] with the first entry on November 7, 1966 shortly after his arrival at the farm in Ñancahuazú, and the last dated October 7, 1967, the day before his capture. The diary tells how the guerrillas were forced to begin operations prematurely due to discovery by the Bolivian Army, explains Guevara's decision to divide the column into two units that were subsequently unable to re-establish contact, and describes their overall unsuccessful venture. It also records the rift between Guevara and the Communist Party of Bolivia that resulted in Guevara having significantly fewer soldiers than originally expected and shows that Guevara had a great deal of difficulty recruiting from the local populace, due in part to the fact that the guerrilla group had learned Quechua, unaware that the local language was actually Tupí-Guaraní.[124] As the campaign drew to an unexpected close, Guevara became increasingly ill. He suffered from ever-worsening bouts of asthma, and most of his last offensives were carried out in an attempt to obtain medicine.[125]

The Bolivian Diary was quickly and crudely translated by Ramparts magazine and circulated around the world.[126] There are at least four additional diaries in existence—those of Israel Reyes Zayas (Alias "Braulio"), Harry Villegas Tamayo ("Pombo"), Eliseo Reyes Rodriguez ("Rolando")[100] and Dariel Alarcón Ramírez ("Benigno")[127]—each of which reveals additional aspects of the events. In July 2008, the Bolivian government of Evo Morales unveiled Guevara's formerly sealed diaries composed in two frayed notebooks, along with a logbook and several black-and-white photographs. At this event, Bolivia's vice minister of culture, Pablo Groux, expressed that there were plans to publish photographs of every handwritten page later in the year.[128]


Over forty years after his execution, Che's life and legacy still remain a contentious issue. The contradictions of his ethos at various points in his life have created a complex character of unending duality, polarized in the collective imagination.

Some view Che Guevara as a hero;[129] for example, Nelson Mandela referred to him as "an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom" while Jean-Paul Sartre described him as "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age."[130] Guevara remains a beloved national hero to many in Cuba, where his image adorns the $3 Cuban Peso and school children begin each morning by pledging "We will be like Che."[131] In his native homeland of Argentina, where high schools bear his name,[132] numerous Che museums dot the country, which in 2008 unveiled a 12 foot bronze statue of him in his birth city of Rosario.[133] Additionally, Guevara has been sanctified by some Bolivian campesinos as "Saint Ernesto", to whom they pray for assistance.[134]

Conversely, others view him as a spokesman for a failed ideology and as a ruthless executioner. Detractors have theorized that in much of Latin America, Che-inspired revolutions had the practical result of reinforcing brutal militarism and internecine conflict for many years.[135] Guevara remains a hated figure amongst many in the Cuban exile community, who view him with animosity as "the butcher of La Cabaña."[136]

A high-contrast monochrome graphic of his face has become one of the world's most universally merchandized and objectified images,[137][138] found on an endless array of items, including t-shirts, hats, posters, tattoos, and bikinis,[139] ironically contributing to the consumer culture he despised. Yet, Guevara still remains a transcendent figure both in specifically political contexts[140] and as a wide-ranging popular icon of youthful rebellion.[141]


Archival footage

  • Guevara interviewed in 1964 on a visit to Dublin, Ireland, (2:53),   English translation, from RTÉ Libraries and Archives, Video Clip
  • Guevara reciting a poem, (1:00),   English subtitles, from El Che: Investigating a Legend - Kultur Video 2001, Video Clip
  • Guevara showing support for Fidel Castro, (0:22),   English subtitles, from El Che: Investigating a Legend - Kultur Video 2001, Video Clip
  • Guevara speaking about labor, (0:28),   English subtitles, from El Che: Investigating a Legend - Kultur Video 2001, Video Clip
  • Guevara speaking about the Bay of Pigs, (0:17),   English subtitles, from El Che: Investigating a Legend - Kultur Video 2001, Video Clip
  • Guevara speaking out against imperialism, (1:20),   English subtitles, from El Che: Investigating a Legend - Kultur Video 2001, Video Clip

List of works

Originally written in Spanish by Ernesto "Che" Guevara, later translated into English

  • A New Society: Reflections for Today's World,   Ocean Press, 1996, ISBN 1875284060
  • Back on the Road: A Journey Through Latin America,   Grove Press, 2002, ISBN 0802139426
  • Che Guevara, Cuba, and the Road to Socialism,   Pathfinder Press, 1991, ISBN 0873486439
  • Che Guevara on Global Justice,   Ocean Press (AU), 2002, ISBN 1876175451
  • Che Guevara: Radical Writings on Guerrilla Warfare, Politics and Revolution,   Filiquarian Publishing, 2006, ISBN 1599869993
  • Che Guevara Reader: Writings on Politics & Revolution,   Ocean Press, 2003, ISBN 1876175699
  • Che Guevara Speaks: Selected Speeches and Writings,   Pathfinder Press (NY), 1980, ISBN 0873486021
  • Che Guevara Talks to Young People,   Pathfinder, 2000, ISBN 087348911X
  • Che: The Diaries of Ernesto Che Guevara,   Ocean Press (AU), 2008, ISBN 1920888934
  • Colonialism is Doomed,   Ministry of External Relations: Republic of Cuba, 1964, ASIN B0010AAN1K
  • Critical Notes on Political Economy: A Revolutionary Humanist Approach to Marxist Economics   Ocean Press, 2008, ISBN 1876175559
  • Episodes of the Cuban Revolutionary War, 1956–58,   Pathfinder Press (NY), 1996, ISBN 0873488245
  • Guerrilla Warfare: Authorized Edition   Ocean Press, 2006, ISBN 1920888284
  • Latin America: Awakening of a Continent,   Ocean Press, 2005, ISBN 1876175737
  • Marx & Engels: An Introduction,   Ocean Press, 2007, ISBN 1920888926
  • Our America And Theirs: Kennedy And The Alliance For Progress,   Ocean Press, 2006, ISBN 1876175818
  • Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War: Authorized Edition   Ocean Press, 2005, ISBN 1920888330
  • Self Portrait Che Guevara,   Ocean Press (AU), 2004, ISBN 1876175826
  • Socialism and Man in Cuba,   Pathfinder Press (NY), 1989, ISBN 0873485777
  • The African Dream: The diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo   Grove Press, 2001, ISBN 0802138349
  • The Argentine,   Ocean Press (AU), 2008, ISBN 1920888934
  • The Bolivian Diary of Ernesto Che Guevara   Pathfinder Press, 1994, ISBN 0873487664
  • The Diary of Che Guevara: The Secret Papers of a Revolutionary,   Amereon Ltd, ISBN 0891902244
  • The Great Debate on Political Economy,   Ocean Press, 2006, ISBN 1876175540
  • The Motorcycle Diaries: A Journey Around South America   London: Verso, 1996, ISBN 1857023994
  • To Speak the Truth: Why Washington's "Cold War" Against Cuba Doesn't End,   Pathfinder, 1993, ISBN 0873486331


  1. ^ a b c The date of birth recorded on his birth certificate was June 14, 1928, although one tertiary source, (Julia Constenla, quoted by Jon Lee Anderson), asserts that he was actually born on May 14 of that year. Constenla alleges that she was told by an unidentified astrologer that his mother, Celia de la Serna, was already pregnant when she and Ernesto Guevara Lynch were married and that the date on the birth certificate of their son was forged to make it appear that he was born a month later than the actual date to avoid scandal. (Anderson 1997, pp. 3, 769.)
  2. ^ Partido Unido de la Revolución Socialista de Cuba, aka PURSC
  3. ^ Hall 2004
  4. ^ a b c d "Castro's Brain" 1960.
  5. ^ Taibo 1999, p. 267.
  6. ^ Guevara 2005
  7. ^ Dorfman 1999.
  8. ^ Maryland Institute of Art, referenced at BBC News May 26, 2001
  9. ^ Che's last name "Guevara" derives from the Castilianized form of the Basque "Gebara", a habitational name from the province of Álava. Through his grandmother, Ana Lynch, he was a descendant of Patrick Lynch, an emigrant from Galway, Ireland in the 1740s.
  10. ^ Lavretsky 1976
  11. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 22-23.
  12. ^ Sandison 1996, p. 8.
  13. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 28.
  14. ^ Hart 2004, pg 98.
  15. ^ Hart 2004, pg 98.
  16. ^ Haney 2005, p. 164.
  17. ^ (Anderson 1997, p. 37–38)
  18. ^ (Anderson 1997, p. 37–38)
  19. ^ (Anderson 1997, p. 37–38)
  20. ^ Sandison 1996, p. 10.
  21. ^ NYT bestseller list: #38 Paperback Nonfiction on 2005-02-20, #9 Nonfiction on 2004-10-07 and on more occasions.
  22. ^ Anderson 1997, pp. 98.
  23. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 126.
  24. ^ Taibo 1999, p. 31.
  25. ^ Guevara Lynch 2000, p. 26.
  26. ^ Ernesto Che Guevara: On Revolutionary Medicine Speech to the Cuban Militia on August 19, 1960.
  27. ^ Radio Cadena Agramonte 2006.
  28. ^ Ignacio 2007, p. 172.
  29. ^ a b U.S. Department of State 2008.
  30. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 144.
  31. ^ Taibo 1999, p. 39.
  32. ^ Che Guevara 1960–67 by Frank E. Smitha
  33. ^ Sinclair, Andrew (1970). Che Guevara. The Viking Press. p. 12. 
  34. ^ Taibo 1999, p. 55.
  35. ^ Sandison 1996, p. 28.
  36. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 194.
  37. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 213.
  38. ^ Sandison 1996, p. 32.
  39. ^ DePalma 2006, pp. 110–111.
  40. ^ Anderson 1997, pp. 269–270.
  41. ^ Castañeda 1998, pp. 105, 119.
  42. ^ Anderson 1997, pp. 269–270, 277–278.
  43. ^ Sandison 1996, p. 35.
  44. ^ Ignacio 2007, p. 177.
  45. ^ Ignacio 2007, p. 193.
  46. ^ Moore, Don. "Revolution! Clandestine Radio and the Rise of Fidel Castro". Patepluma Radio. 
  47. ^ Bockman 1984.
  48. ^ Castro 1972, pp. 439–442.
  49. ^ Dorschner 1980, pp. 41–47, 81–87.
  50. ^ Sandison 1996, p. 39.
  51. ^ Anderson 1997, 397.
  52. ^ Anderson 1997, pp. 400–401.
  53. ^ Anderson 1997, pp. 424.
  54. ^ Guevara had children from both his marriages, and one illegitimate child, as follows: With Hilda Gadea (married August 18, 1955; divorced May 22, 1959), Hilda Beatriz Guevara Gadea, born February 15, 1956 in Mexico City; died August 21, 1995 in Havana, Cuba; with Aleida March (married June 2, 1959), Aleida Guevara March, born November 24, 1960 in Havana, Cuba, Camilo Guevara March, born May 20, 1962 in Havana, Cuba, Celia Guevara March, born June 14, 1963 in Havana, Cuba, and Ernesto Guevara March, born February 24, 1965 in Havana, Cuba; and with Lilia Rosa López (extramarital), Omar Pérez, born March 19, 1964 in Havana, Cuba (Castañeda 1998, pp. 264–265).
  55. ^ Gómez Treto 1991, p. 115. "The Penal Law of the War of Independence (July 28, 1896) was reinforced by Rule 1 of the Penal Regulations of the Rebel Army, approved in the Sierra Maestra February 21, 1958, and published in the army's official bulletin (Ley penal de Cuba en armas, 1959)" (Gómez Treto 1991, p. 123).
  56. ^ Gómez Treto 1991, pp. 115–116).
  57. ^ Anderson 1997, pp. 372, 425.
  58. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 376.
  59. ^ Taibo 1999, p. 267.
  60. ^ Niess 2007, p. 60
  61. ^ Gómez Treto 1991, p. 116).
  62. ^ Niess 2007, p. 61
  63. ^ Taibo 1999, p. 267.
  64. ^ Different sources cite different numbers of executions. Anderson (1997) gives the number specifically at La Cabaña prison as 55 (p. 387.), while also stating that as a whole "several hundred people were officially tried and executed across Cuba" (p. 387.). This is supported by Lago who gives the figure as 216 documented executions across Cuba in two years.
  65. ^ Dumur 1964 shows Che Guevara speaking French.
  66. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 423.
  67. ^ Niwata 2007. Guevara requested that the Japanese government arrange for him to visit Hiroshima. When they refused, he covertly left his Osaka hotel to visit Hiroshima by night train, along with his aide Omar Fernández.
  68. ^ a b Anderson 1997, p. 435.
  69. ^ Sierra, J.A.. "Che Guevara Timeline". Retrieved on 2008-12-19. 
  70. ^ Cuban Information Archives.
  71. ^ Socialism and man in Cuba by Che Guevara, March 1965
  72. ^ PBS: Che Guevara, Popular but Ineffective
  73. ^ Sandison 1996, p. 62.
  74. ^ a b Sandison 1996, p. 66.
  75. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 506.
  76. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 507.
  77. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 509.
  78. ^ a b "Economics Cannot be Separated from Politics" speech by Che Guevara to the ministerial meeting of the Inter-American Economic and Social Council (CIES), in Punta del Este, Uruguay on August 8, 1961
  79. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 492.
  80. ^ a b Anderson 1997, p. 545.
  81. ^ a b c d e "Colonialism is Doomed" speech to the 19th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City by Cuban representative Che Guevara on December 11, 1964
  82. ^ Snow 2007.
  83. ^ Hart 2004, pg 271.
  84. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 618.
  85. ^ a b "Socialism and Man in Cuba" A letter to Carlos Quijano, editor of Marcha, a weekly published in Montevideo, Uruguay; published as "From Algiers, for Marcha: The Cuban Revolution Today" by Che Guevara on March 12, 1965
  86. ^ Guevara 1969, p. 350.
  87. ^ Guevara 1969, pp. 352–59.
  88. ^ Guevara 1967a, p. ???.
  89. ^ Guevara 1965.
  90. ^ Ben Bella 1997.
  91. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 624.
  92. ^ Gálvez 1999, p 62.
  93. ^ Gott 2004 p. 219.
  94. ^ BBC News January 17, 2001.
  95. ^ "The intercept operators knew that Dar-es-Salaam was serving as a communications center for the fighters, receiving messages from Castro in Cuba and relaying them on to the guerrillas deep in the bush (Bamford 2002, p. 181).
  96. ^ Ireland's Own 2000.
  97. ^ Guevara 2000, p. 1.
  98. ^ Castañeda 1998, p. 316.
  99. ^ Mittleman 1981, p. 38.
  100. ^ a b Selvage 1985.
  101. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 693.
  102. ^ U.S. Army 1967 and Ryan 1998, pp. 82–102, inter alia. "U.S. military personnel in Bolivia never exceeded 53 advisers, including a sixteen-man Mobile Training Team (MTT) from the 8th Special Forces Group based at Fort Gulick, Panama Canal Zone" (Selvage 1985).
  103. ^ "Bidding for Che", Time Magazine, Dec 15 1967
  104. ^ Guevara 1972.
  105. ^ Castañeda 1998, pp. 107–112; 131–132.
  106. ^ Shadow Warrior: The CIA Hero of 100 unknown battles, Felix Rodriguez and John Weisman, Publisher: Simon & Schuster, October 1989,
  107. ^ Anderson 1997, p.733.
  108. ^ a b "The Man Who Buried Che" by Juan O. Tamayo, Miami Herald, September 19, 1997
  109. ^ a b c d e Ray, Michèle (March 1968). "In Cold Blood: The Execution of Che by the CIA". Ramparts Magazine: 33. 
  110. ^ Grant 2007. René Barrientos has never revealed his motives for ordering the summary execution of Guevara.
  111. ^ Time magazine 1970.
  112. ^ Anderson 1997, p. 739.
  113. ^ Anderson 1997, pp. 739.
  114. ^ Almudevar 2007 and Gott 2005.
  115. ^ Lacey 2007a.
  116. ^ After the Cuban revolution, seeing that Guevara had no watch, his friend Oscarito Fernández Mell gave him his own gold watch. Sometime later, Che handed him a piece of paper; a receipt from the National Bank declaring that Mell had "donated" his gold wristband to Cuba's gold reserve. Guevara was still wearing his watch, but it now had a leather wristband (Anderson 1997, p. 503).
  117. ^ Kornbluh 1997.
  118. ^ Anderson 1997, pp. 740.
  119. ^ Anderson 1997, pp. 741.
  120. ^ a b c Nadle, Marlene (August 24, 1968). "Régis Debray Speaks from Prison". Ramparts Magazine: 42. 
  121. ^ Cuba salutes 'Che' Guevara: Revolutionary Icon Finally Laid to Rest CNN, October 17, 1997 CNN VIDEO
  122. ^ "Bidding for Che", Time Magazine, Dec 15 1967
  123. ^ Guevara 1967b.
  124. ^ Ryan 1999, p. 45
  125. ^ Ryan 1999, p. 104
  126. ^ Ryan 1999, p. 148
  127. ^ Ramírez 1997.
  128. ^ Bolivia unveils original Che Guevara diary by Eduardo Garcia, Reuters, July 7, 2008
  129. ^ Che's Second Coming? by David Rieff, November 20, 2005, New York Times
  130. ^ Moynihan 2006.
  131. ^ People's Weekly 2004.
  132. ^ Argentina pays belated homage to "Che" Guevara by Helen Popper, Reuters, June 14, 2008
  133. ^ Statue for Che's '80th birthday' by Daniel Schweimler, BBC News, June 15, 2008
  134. ^ Schipani 2007.
  135. ^ Vargas Llosa 2005.
  136. ^ D'Rivera 2005.
  137. ^ BBC News May 26, 2001
  138. ^ see also Che Guevara (photo)
  139. ^ Lacey 2007b.
  140. ^ BBC News 2007.
  141. ^ O'Hagan 2004.


External links

NAME Guevara, Che
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, el Che
SHORT DESCRIPTION Argentine-born Marxist, politician, and leader of Cuban and internationalist guerrillas
DATE OF BIRTH May 14, 1928
PLACE OF BIRTH Rosario, Argentina
DATE OF DEATH October 9, 1967
PLACE OF DEATH La Higuera, Bolivia

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