Years later, Major Larry Bockman of the United States Marine Corps analyzed and described Che's tactical appreciation of this battle as "brilliant". After his execution by the Bolivian army, he was regarded as a martyred hero by generations of leftists, and his image became an icon of leftist radicalism and anti-imperialism. [130] Conflicting views exist of Guevara's attitude towards the executions at La Cabaña. Before 1959 the official literacy rate for Cuba was between 60–76%, with educational access in rural areas and a lack of instructors the main determining factors. [243] Today, some of these belongings, including his flashlight, are on display at the CIA. [112] In total, Guevara had five children from his two marriages. With Demián Bichir, Rodrigo Santoro, Benicio Del Toro, Catalina Sandino Moreno. [61] Consequently, the Armas regime then consolidated power by rounding up and executing suspected communists,[62] while crushing the previously flourishing labor unions[63] and reversing the previous agrarian reforms. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. [94] Guevara's teenage lieutenant, Joel Iglesias, recounts such actions in his diary, noting that Guevara's behavior in combat even brought admiration from the enemy. "[44] Guevara used notes taken during this trip to write an account, titled The Motorcycle Diaries, which later became a New York Times best-seller,[45] and was adapted into a 2004 award-winning film of the same name. Some exiled opposition biographers report that he relished the rituals of the firing squad, and organized them with gusto, while others relate that Guevara pardoned as many prisoners as he could. 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. [134] Months later, in retaliation, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower sharply reduced United States imports of Cuban sugar (Cuba's main cash crop), which led Guevara on 10 July 1960 to address over 100,000 workers in front of the Presidential Palace at a rally to denounce the "economic aggression" of the United States. As revealed in his last public speech in Algiers, Guevara 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. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Guevara, his second-in-command Víctor Dreke, and 12 other Cuban expeditionaries arrived in Congo on 24 April 1965, and a contingent of approximately 100 Afro-Cubans joined them soon afterward. [194] Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had fraternal relations with Che since his 1959 visit, saw Guevara's plan to fight in Congo as "unwise" and warned that he would become a "Tarzan" figure, doomed to failure. His "hunger to explore the world"[40] led him to intersperse his collegiate pursuits with two long introspective journeys that fundamentally changed the way he viewed himself and the contemporary economic conditions in Latin America. [177] 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". He negatively 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". There was no person more feared by the company (CIA) than Che Guevara because he had the capacity and charisma necessary to direct the struggle against the political repression of the traditional hierarchies in power in the countries of Latin America. [197][198] For a time, they collaborated with guerrilla leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila, who had helped supporters of the overthrown president Patrice Lumumba to lead an unsuccessful revolt months earlier. It read "Thanks for Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs). Although Guevara tried to conceal his presence in Congo, the United States government knew his location and activities. In 1953 Guevara went to Guatemala, where Jacobo Arbenz headed a progressive regime that was attempting to bring about a social revolution. On one occasion Iglesias recounts the time he had been wounded in battle, stating "Che ran out to me, defying the bullets, threw me over his shoulder, and got me out of there. He sees only the vastness of a seemingly infinite horizon before him. "[140], Upon Guevara's return to Cuba in September 1959, it became evident that Castro now had more political power. [212] On 3 November 1966, Guevara secretly arrived in La Paz on a flight from Montevideo, under the false name Adolfo Mena González, posing as a middle-aged Uruguayan businessman working for the Organization of American States. [132] A few months later, 17 May 1959, the Agrarian Reform Law, crafted by Guevara, went into effect, limiting the size of all farms to 1,000 acres (400 ha). The U.S.-military-backed Bolivian forces For the next half day, Guevara refused to be interrogated by Bolivian officers and only spoke quietly to Bolivian soldiers. [116], To implement a portion of this plan, Castro named Guevara commander of the La Cabaña Fortress prison, for a five-month tenure (2 January through 12 June 1959). [121] Biographers note that in January 1959 the Cuban public was in a "lynching mood",[122] and point to a survey at the time showing 93% public approval for the tribunal process. [233], About 30 minutes before Guevara was killed, Félix Rodríguez attempted to question him about the whereabouts of other guerrilla fighters who were currently at large, but Guevara continued to remain silent. According to Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella, Guevara thought that Africa was imperialism's weak link and so had enormous revolutionary potential. E rnesto (Che) Guevara was born in Rosario in Argentine in 1928. [51] Later that month, Guevara arrived in Guatemala where President Jacobo Árbenz Guzmán headed a democratically elected government that, through land reform and other initiatives, was attempting to end the latifundia system. [249] His diary documented events of the guerrilla campaign in Bolivia,[250] with the first entry on 7 November 1966, shortly after his arrival at the farm in Ñancahuazú, and the last dated 7 October 1967, the day before his capture. [253] There are at least four additional diaries in existence—those of Israel Reyes Zayas (Alias "Braulio"), Harry Villegas Tamayo ("Pombo"), Eliseo Reyes Rodriguez ("Rolando")[214] and Dariel Alarcón Ramírez ("Benigno")[254]—each of which reveals additional aspects of the events. [19], Ernesto Guevara was born to Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna y Llosa, on 14 June 1928,[4] in Rosario, Argentina. He taught me to think. Different sources cite differing numbers of executions attributable to Guevara, with some of the discrepancy resulting from the question of which deaths to attribute directly to Guevara and which to the regime as a whole. Desde chico, el pequeño Ernesto sufría ataques de asma y, por recomendación médica, en 1932 la familia se mudó a las sierras de la provincia de Córdoba. Guevara was not present for the interview, but in the coming months he began to realize the importance of the media in their struggle. At 3 am on 1 January 1959, upon learning that his generals were negotiating a separate peace with Guevara, Fulgencio Batista boarded a plane in Havana and fled for the Dominican Republic, along with an amassed "fortune of more than $300,000,000 through graft and payoffs". The merit of Marx is that he suddenly produces a qualitative change in the history of social thought. Perón warned Guevara that his plans for implementing a communist revolution throughout Latin America, starting with Bolivia, would be suicidal and futile, but Guevara's mind was already made up. "[166], On 17 April 1961, 1,400 U.S.-trained Cuban exiles invaded Cuba during the Bay of Pigs Invasion., Spartacus Educational - Biography of Che Guevara, Che Guevara - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). "[168] In response to United States 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". He was an excellent athlete and scholar. In an effort to eliminate social inequalities, Guevara and Cuba's new leadership had moved to swiftly transform the political and economic base of the country through nationalizing factories, banks, and businesses, while attempting to ensure affordable housing, healthcare, and employment for all Cubans. In one of them, wealth is concentrated in the hands of a fortunate few, the friends of the government, the best wheeler-dealers. In the letter Guevara speaks of traversing the dominion of the United Fruit Company, a journey which convinced him that the Company's capitalist system was a terrible one. The diary tells how the guerrillas were forced to begin operations prematurely because of 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. Whatever the merits or demerits of Guevara's economic principles, his programs were unsuccessful,[162] and accompanied a rapid drop in productivity and a rapid rise in absenteeism. The first expedition in 1950 was a 4,500-kilometer (2,800 mi) solo trip through the rural provinces of northern Argentina on a bicycle on which he installed a small engine. [177] This "epic", Guevara declared, would be written by the "hungry Indian masses, peasants without land, exploited workers, and progressive masses". United States policy towards their black population, Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War, "Poetry of Che is presented with great success in Guatemala", "Documental sobre el Che Guevara, doctor en México", "BIOGRAFIA DE ERNESTO CHE GUEVARA Fundación Che Guevara, FUNCHE", "FIDEL Y HANK: PASAJES DE LA REVOLUCIÓN". Guevara's life and legacy remain contentious. [9] Guevara set up factories to make grenades, built ovens to bake bread, and organized schools to teach illiterate campesinos to read and write. 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 Árbenz Guzmán. Still, rumors spread both inside and outside Cuba concerning the missing Guevara's whereabouts. [9], Following the Cuban Revolution, Guevara performed a number of key roles in the new government. Guevara then established contact with a group of Cuban exiles linked to Fidel Castro through the 26 July 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago de Cuba. "[274], Conversely, Jacobo Machover, an exiled opposition author, dismisses all praise of Guevara and portrays him as a callous executioner. [13][14] Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to foment continental revolutions across both Africa and South America,[15] first unsuccessfully in Congo-Kinshasa and later in Bolivia, where he was captured by CIA-assisted Bolivian forces and summarily executed. At this stage, Guevara acquired the additional position of Finance Minister, as well as President of the National Bank. Nacido el 14 de junio de 1928 en Rosario, Argentina, hijo de Ernesto Guevara y Celia de la Serna, el "Che", eligió un camino distinto al que muchos … [226] Che's biographer Jon Lee Anderson reports Bolivian Sergeant Bernardino Huanca's account: that as the Bolivian Rangers approached, a twice-wounded Guevara, his gun rendered useless, threw up his arms in surrender and shouted to the soldiers: "Do not shoot! Che Guevara - Che Guevara - The Congo, Bolivia, and death: In December 1964 Guevara traveled to New York City, where he condemned U.S. intervention in Cuban affairs and incursions into Cuban airspace in an address to the United Nations General Assembly. Guevara had initially come along as the force’s doctor, but he had also trained in weapons use, and he became one of Castro’s most-trusted aides. [134][need quotation to verify] Under Guevara's command, INRA established its own 100,000-person militia, used first to help the government seize control of the expropriated land and supervise its distribution, and later to set up cooperative farms. Guevara's first base camp was located in the montane dry forest in the remote Ñancahuazú region. [288] Despite this polarized status, a high-contrast monochrome graphic of Che's face, created in 1968 by Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, became a universally merchandized and objectified image,[289][290] found on an endless array of items, including T-shirts, hats, posters, tattoos, and bikinis,[291] contributing to the consumer culture Guevara despised. Demonstrations in protest against his "assassination" occurred throughout the world, and articles, tributes, and poems were written about his life and death. [84][146] Unlike many of Guevara's later economic initiatives, this campaign was "a remarkable success". "[53], 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). [118] As commander of La Cabaña, Guevara reviewed the appeals of those convicted during the revolutionary tribunal process. "The University" he said, "must paint itself black, mulatto, worker, and peasant." [85] Then in late July 1958, Guevara played 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. Immediately detected by Batista’s army, they were almost wiped out. These included reviewing the appeals and firing squads for those convicted as war criminals during the revolutionary tribunals,[10] instituting agrarian land reform as minister of industries, helping spearhead a successful nationwide literacy campaign, serving as both national bank president and instructional director for Cuba's armed forces, and traversing the globe as a diplomat on behalf of Cuban socialism. Upon returning to Argentina, he completed his studies and received his medical degree in June 1953, making him officially "Dr. Ernesto Guevara". [223] In addition, the 2007 documentary My Enemy's Enemy alleges that Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie advised and possibly helped the CIA orchestrate Guevara's eventual capture. Betrayed by local peasants, he was wounded and captured by U.S.-trained Bolivian troops on October 8, 1967, and forcibly retiredmurdered the following day. [241], A declassified memorandum dated 11 October 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". [57], In May 1954, a shipment of infantry and light artillery weapons was dispatched from Communist Czechoslovakia for the Arbenz Government and arrived in Puerto Barrios. His experiences and studying of Marxism–Leninism led him to posit that the Third World's underdevelopment and dependence was an intrinsic result of imperialism, neocolonialism and monopoly capitalism, with the only remedy being proletarian internationalism and world revolution. From the start Guevara was Alberto Bayo's "prize student" among those in training, scoring the highest on all of the tests given. [230] During their short conversation, Guevara pointed out to Cortez 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"; Guevara said "that's what we are fighting against. El Che Guevara escribía en su diario de viajes por América Latina durante su primer viaje en 1951-1952: "Degollaré a todos mis enemigos", lo que da una idea de la patología de ese hombre. The result was a multi-national search for the remains, which lasted more than a year. «El Che Guevara es un asesino y un criminal»: El vídeo viral que le calla la boca a Monedero, a Iglesias y a la extrema izquierda internacional. [196] He led the Cuban operation in support of the Marxist Simba movement, which had emerged from the ongoing Congo crisis. We would (have) given our life for him. While pictures of the dead Guevara were being circulated and the circumstances of his death were being debated, Che's legend began to spread. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The final death toll from the two years of revolutionary fighting was 2,000 people. [65] 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.[66]. During the early 1960s, he defined Cuba’s policies and his own views in many speeches and writings, notably “El socialismo y el hombre en Cuba” (1965; “Man and Socialism in Cuba,” 1967)—an examination of Cuba’s new brand of communism—and a highly influential manual, La guerra de guerrillas (1960; Guerrilla Warfare, 1961). [44] Later on his journey, Guevara was especially impressed by the camaraderie among those living in a leper colony, stating, "The highest forms of human solidarity and loyalty arise among such lonely and desperate people. "[234] A few minutes later, Sergeant Terán entered the hut to shoot him, whereupon Guevara reportedly stood up and spoke to Terán what were his last words: "I know you've come to kill me. Durante su niñez el joven Ernesto fue diagnosticado con la enfermedad de asma, lo que llevó a su familia a mudarse a Córdoba, donde transcurrió su infancia y adolescencia devorando libros. In Guevara's case, many people of Irish descent will add "Lynch" to emphasize his Irish relations. "[148] According to Guevara, the "practical revolutionaries" of the Cuban Revolution had the goal of "simply fulfill(ing) laws foreseen by Marx, the scientist. [192], —Che Guevara, in February 1965, after meeting with various African liberation movement leaders in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania[193], In early 1965, Guevara went to Africa to offer his knowledge and experience as a guerrilla to the ongoing conflict in the Congo. In this vein, he considered Batista a "U.S. puppet whose strings needed cutting". [287] In contrast, Guevara remains a hated figure amongst many in the Cuban exile and Cuban-American community of the United States, who view him as "the butcher of La Cabaña". He interprets history, understands its dynamic, predicts the future, but in addition to predicting it (which would satisfy his scientific obligation), he expresses a revolutionary concept: the world must not only be interpreted, it must be transformed. [190] His whereabouts were a great mystery in Cuba, as he was generally regarded as second in power to Castro himself. 29 de octubre de 1960. 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, partly because the guerrilla group had learned Quechua, unaware that the local language was actually a Tupí–Guaraní language. They were later sent to Cuba.[245]. In Spanish a person may carry the surname of his or her father as well as that of his or her mother, albeit in that order. [157] Such behavior was emblematic of Guevara's new program of moral incentives, where each worker was now required to meet a quota and produce a certain quantity of goods. [189] Disagreeing with this incrementalist approach, Guevara criticized the Soviet Manual of Political Economy, correctly predicting that if USSR did not abolish the law of value (as Guevara desired), it would eventually return to capitalism.[189]. El Che. [6][7] His burgeoning desire to help overturn what he saw as the capitalist exploitation of Latin America by the United States prompted his involvement in Guatemala's social reforms under President Jacobo Árbenz, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow at the behest of the United Fruit Company solidified Guevara's political ideology. [156], 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". 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,[17] Guevara has evolved into a quintessential icon of various leftist movements. During this speech he declared that the main concern of the new Cuban government was "the social justice that land redistribution brings about". [113], The first major political crisis arose over what to do with the captured Batista officials who had perpetrated the worst of the repression. La figura de Ernesto Guevara ha sido motivo de una gran cantidad de obras artísticas, tanto en Argentina y Cuba como en el resto del mundo. [211] 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". [5], As a young medical student, Guevara traveled throughout South America and was radicalized by the poverty, hunger, and disease he witnessed. The overthrow of the Arbenz regime in 1954 in a coup supported by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) persuaded Guevara that the United States would always oppose progressive leftist governments. 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