by Andrea Stachnik

Here is a picture of Che, probably taken when he was in his twenties, at the height of his revolutionary work.

In the Beginning

Ernesto Guevara de la Serna was born on June 14, 1928 in Rosario, Argentina. His mother was Celia de la Serna and his father was Ernesto Guevara Lynch. She was of Irish and Spanish descent, and his father was Irish. He was a civil engineer who held many jobs, including farming yerba mate. Yerba mate is a drink similar to tea in Argentina. They were a middle class liberal family, who slightly favored communism over a dictatorship (they were slightly to the left).

Ernesto was always sick, even in the beginning. He had his first asthma attack when he was only two. When he was four years old, the whole family moved to Altagracia, because the weather and climate were better for his illness.

When he was younger, his mother homeschooled him for most of his life, and he spent some time in a regular school. He enjoyed reading Freud, French poetry, Boudelaireis, and Neruda. Later Ernesto went on to the University of Buenos Aires and studied medicine. It is generally thought that he studied medicine because of how sick he had always been as a child. After that, he decided to travel through Argentina with a friend, Alberto Granado. They hitch-hiked, travelled on motorized bikes, and Ernesto worked on a merchant ship. While on these trips, he began to learn about poverty. This is when he began to understand the ways of the world, and how poor some people were. He became determined to wipe out world hunger and become a political activist.

A Political Activist

A friend of his invited him on a revolutionary demonstration in Guatemala. Here he met Hilda Gadea who had escaped from Peru, who would be his future wife, and, in 1954, had his child. While making speeches in Guatemala, he used the word "che" a lot, which is Spanish for "hey". This became his new name, and began the legacy of Che Guevara.

Che then traveled to Mexico in 1955, where he met Fidel Castro. He decided to join Fidel and help lead the Cuban revolution. They led several riots in Cuba to help fight for a revolution in Cuba. He fought in this rebellion until 1959, when the rebels won. Che became a second in command to Fidel, and organized the economy. In 1961, the United States broke off from Cuba, and had nothing to do with it anymore. During this revolution, Che divorced Hilda and married Aleida March, a fellow revolutionary.

Che believed in guerrilla warfare, a revolutionary strategy. This strategy depended on three main principles:

1.) the popular forces, or the way of the people, can defeat the govermnent

2.) there does not have to be war "conditions" in order to hold a revolution, the additude of the people is enough

3.) the countryside is the basic area for fighting in underdeveloped countries

These principles are further discussed in the book written by Che about guerrilla warfare.

The End of a Great Leader

Che soon made the decision to leave Cuba. He wrote a leter of farewell to Fidel, and made his way to Africa. He joined the army in the African Congo, but then he decided to rebel in Bolivia. He travelled wherever he thought that people weren't getting the respect they deserved.This was the beginning of what led to the death of Ernesto "Che" Guevara. He was near Higueras, and had been working for a free government in Bolivia. He was hunted and tracked down by the Bolivian government, and they shot him to death on October 9, 1967. The United States government gave Bolivia satellite pictures to help them track him. Cuba was in mourning for weeks. Memorials of all types were erected. Even today his memory is strongly preserved. You don't have to look very hard to find T-shirts, websites, and all kinds of memorials to this heroic leader. Che Guevara led the Cuban revolution, and he will be remembered in all the world as a servant of the people.



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