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Che Guevara (1928-1967)

Biography | Photos

Che GuevaraErnesto Guevara, affectionately known as Che, was born in Argentina on June 14, 1928.  He would become an important leader in the Cuban Revolution and would later be an important figure in the Cuban government.

Che Guevara studied medicine at Buenos Aires University, where he became involved in opposition to the Argentine leader Juan Peron.

"At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality."

Later, he left for Guatemala, where he joined the government of Jacabo Arbenz Guzman in 1953.  A coup supported by the CIA overthrew the government, and Guevara left for Mexico.

In 1956, Guevara joined Fidel Castro's revolutionary movement.  He was an important strategist for Castro and led part of the army.  He was aboard the yacht Granma when the revolutionaries made their trip to Cuba.

"When asked whether or not we are Marxists, our position is the same as that of a physicist or a biologist who is asked if he is a 'Newtonian,' or if he is a 'Pasteurian.'"

Che played an important role in Fidel's conversion to Communism, being extremely well read himself in the works of Marx, Engels, Mao Tse-tung, and others.

Guevara took on many important jobs in the Cuban government after the Revolution.  He was Cuba's Minister of Industry from 1961 to 1965, but stepped down when his relationship with Fidel Castro worsened.  Che had favored industrialization and other reforms in Cuba that never occurred, but may have improved the economic conditions today.

He led a force of 120 Cubans into the Congo, but the local revolutionaries were poorly trained, and the mission ended a failure.

Che's last adventure took him to Bolivia.  A small revolutionary movement had begun, so Guevara decided to take himself and a party of Cuban guerillas to whip up support for the movement among the locals.  Unfortunately, Guevara  had overestimated the support they would receive, and the US-trained Bolivian Army killed most of the group.  Guevara was captured and executed by the Bolivian Army and CIA on October 9, 1967.

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