Ernesto "Che" Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara de la
Serna was born in Rosario (Argentina) on June 14, 1928. He was trained as a doctor,
earning his degree at the University of Buenos Aires in 1953.
While still in school, Guevara became
involved in agitation against the Argentinean dictator Juan Peron. Afterwards, Guevara traveled to many countries like Peru,
Bolivia, Panama, Costa Rica where he cultivated relations with leftist movements. In 1953,
Guevara joined the leftist regime of Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in Guatemala. After Arbenz was
overthrown by the extreme-right and the CIA (1954), Guevara met Fidel Castro in Mexico and
joined his revolutionary cadre, training Castro's forces in guerrilla
warfare. Guevara fought alongside Castro during the Cuban
revolution, quickly becoming Castro's main adviser. When Castro came to
power in 1959, he conferred Cuban citizenship on Guevara, who then formally adopted his
nickname "Che'' (which means "hey you'').
Guevara held several important posts in the Castro
government. First, he served as president of the National Bank of Cuba
(1959-1961). Then he became minister of industry (1961-65).
He was responsible for land redistribution and for the nationalization of industry. He took more interest, however, in revolutionary warfare to spread communism in
Latin America. Later, Guevara leaded guerrilla warfare activities in Zaire (
former Belgian Congo) and other African countries.
An avid Marxist, Guevara persuaded Castro to align Cuba with
the Communist nations. In 1965 Guevara dropped from public view and
little was heard about him .He had gone to carry on revolutionary activities
elsewhere. Guevara chose Bolivia as a starting point for his
revolutionary war. He planned to trigger a revolution that would overthrow
the government. After this objective was achieved, Bolivia would become a haven for
revolutionary movements in the surrounding countries. However, Guevara did not enjoy the
warm reception he expected. The communist party shunned him, and the peasants of the
region where he started his guerrilla campaign mistrusted him. In
1967 his group was destroyed by Bolivian forces in Vallegrande near Santa Cruz, and
Guevara was captured and hurt in one leg. Inside the Vallegrande High
School, Guevara lay wounded and defeated, a prisoner of the Bolivian Army. There to
interrogate him was a Cuban-American agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),
Felix Rodriguez. Guevara was executed and buried in an unknown
location on October 9, 1967, becoming a martyr of mythical proportions,
especially to left-wing students nations around the world. The failure of his attempt
ended Cuba's hope of revolution in Latin America.
In 1995, Mario Vargas Salinas, a retired general of the
Bolivian Army, decided to end the silence and mystery of where Che and his comrades had
been buried. Excavations were held near Vallegrande, but Guevara's remains were not found.
On June 18, 1997 the remains of Ernesto (Che) Guevara were discovered along with those of
his comrades. Once confirmed that the remains found were those of Guevara, they were
transported to Cuba to receive Christian burial and homage.
Ernesto (Che) Guevara writings include Guerrilla
Warfare (1961) and Guerrilla Warfare: A Method (1966).
Masferrer,"Como la CIA ubico al Che Guevara en Bolivia...desde el cielo", El
Diario/La Prensa, 05-28-1995, pp PG. * Johnson E. Fairchild, GUEVARA, CHE (1928-1967).,
Vol. 11, Colliers Encyclopedia CD-ROM, 02-28-1996. * Luis Escobar," Se rompe el
misterio sobre el cadaver del Che Guevara", El Diario/La Prensa, 11-25-1995, pp PG.*
Gorriti, Gustavo, "Beyond the epics of failure: The post-utopian Left", Vol. 36,
Journal of Interamerican Studies & World Affairs, 04-01-1994, pp 157. *The Academic
American Encyclopedia (1996 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia Version), 1996 Grolier, Inc.