Ernesto 'Che' Guevara Poster


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Overview (5)

Date of Birth 14 June 1928Rosario, Argentina
Date of Death 9 October 1967La Higuera, Bolivia  (execution by firing squad)
Birth NameErnesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna
Nicknames El Fuser
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ernesto Guevara de la Serna was born to a middle-class family in Rosario, Santa Fe Province, Argentina, on June 14, 1928. Disgusted by the corrupt Argentine military dictatorship, Guevara became a dedicated Marxist while in his teens. As a student he vowed to devote his life to revolutionary causes, and in 1953 he received a medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires. He left Argentina later that year to take part in a Communist revolt in Guatemala. There he adopted his revolutionary nickname and nom de guerre of "Che", the local slang for "pal." When the revolution in Guatemala failed the following year, Che fled to Mexico where he was introduced to another Communist revolutionary in exile, Fidel Castro.

Joining Castro's July 26 Movement, named after the date of Castro's aborted 1953 revolution in Cuba, Guevara sailed with Castro and over 80 guerrillas to Cuba, where they landed on December 2, 1956, bent on overthrowing Gen. Fulgencio Batista's government. The invasion force was decimated by a combination of fierce attacks by government troops and air strikes, and Castro, Guevara and about 10 others fled to the Sierra Maestra mountains of southern Cuba and established a base there. In July 1957 Che was assigned command of half of Castro's forces and given the rank of Comandante, a title he shared only with Castro himself. For the next year and a half he led his insurgents against government forces in the province of Las Villas, aided by the growing hatred by the population of Batista's corrupt and brutal government. Castro's forces were bolstered by help in both recruits from and material assistance by the local population. Che's attack against and decisive defeat of government forces in Santa Clara in December 1958 sealed the fate of Batista's crumbling government. He fled into exile on January 1, 1959, and Castro's troops marched unopposed into Havana a week later. After Castro assumed power, Che became one of his most trusted advisers and a leading international revolutionary and was appointed Minister of Agriculture. In 1960 he wrote a book titled "Guerilla Warfare," a manual for Third World insurgents, as part of his plan to spread Communism throughout the world. Che resigned his government post in Cuba in 1965 and traveled widely to Africa and other insurgent hot spots in the world, including the Belgian Congo, where he organized local Communists in revolts against the colonial government and trained Cuban contingents there. The training included taking courses in French, it was the language of Belgium, the Congo's colonial power, and was also spoken by many locals. Guevara wanted to make sure his men were able to effectively communicate with the locals in their own language.

In November 1966 he surfaced in Bolivia to organize a revolt by local Communist insurgents. However, the "revolution" there didn't garner much support from the Bolivian peasantry, most of whom were poorly uneducated (or not educated at all) and spoke mostly local Indian dialects rather than Spanish, which made communication with them difficult. They also preferred to support the Bolivian government rather than a group of mostly foreign revolutionaries they neither knew nor trusted, and they often reported the locations and numbers of Che's forces to Bolivian military authorities. After a long and unsuccessful campaign during which Che's men were relentlessly pursued and whittled down by government troops, his "revolt" in Bolivia came to an abrupt end. On October 7, 1967, he and the surviving members of his group were ambushed and captured by government soldiers. Two days later, on October 9, Che was executed by a Bolivian firing squad, supposedly acting under orders from the CIA, which was training the Bolivian army.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Matthew Patay - Corrected by Jerry Mills

Spouse (2)

Aleida March (22 June 1959 - 9 October 1967) (his death) (4 children)
Hilda Gadea (18 September 1955 - 22 May 1959) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (3)

Black Beret
Thick Beard
Military Fatigues

Trivia (16)

Was of Spanish, Basque and Irish descent.
1953: Received a medical degree from the University of Buenos Aires.
Suffered from asthma.
Though revered by some as a revolutionary freedom fighter, Guevara was in fact considered a hard-line Stalinist by others and supposedly professed great admiration for former Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. In an interview with Maurice Zeitlin of "Root and Branch" magazine in 1962, Guevara defended Cuba's outlawing of dissident factions as a form of revolutionary democracy and a necessary means of retaining power in a totalitarian society. He also praised the "extremely useful hatred that turns men into effective, violent, merciless, and cold killing machines" in his will.
During his guerrilla days with Fidel Castro, he was alleged to have ordered a young boy executed without trial after the boy was caught stealing food. After Castro took power, Guevara issued death sentences on some of his former comrades who refused to accept the Cuban communist system.
1997: His remains, buried in an unmarked grave near an airstrip in Bolivia, were exhumed and relocated to Cuba.
Commenting on the recent merchandizing of Guevara's image, Jaime Suchlicki, an International Relations professor at the University of Miami, commented, "I think what he symbolized is a violent revolution, a pro-Chinese, Marxist line. What is ironic is that the capitalist market economy is selling a revolutionary that was against capitalism."
8/8/60: Featured on the cover of "Time" magazine.
Although his birth date is credited as June 14, 1928 he was allegedly born on May 14, 1928. His parents hid this fact from their families in order to protect themselves from criticism because they weren't married when 'Che' was conceived.
He is a second cousin of Rodrigo De la Serna.
Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre once referred to him as "The most complete human being of our time".
He was nicknamed "Che" by his Cuban comrades because of his frequent used of the Argentinian slang word "che" which can mean "pal" or "Hey!".
His nickname as a youth was "El Fuser," which was a contraction of "El Furibundo Serna" (The Furious Serna). He earned this nickname for his aggressive style of playing rugby.
There has been some confusion over whether Guevara was killed in the initial ambush by Bolivian soldiers of his unit or whether he was captured and then executed later. Most sources familiar with the incident say he was likely captured, then executed.
Was the inspiration for the character Ché in the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical "Evita".
Fidel launched a counterattack to the U.S. campaign in a speech he gave January 21 at the National Palace, comparing the crimes committed during the dictatorship with those judged at Nuremberg and asserting the people's right to see justice done and to carry out the executions. He asked for a show of hands: was justice meted out to the torturers? According to Carlos Franqui, who was editor of Revolución at the time: "Fidel's question was answered by an overwhelming 'Yes!' A private nationwide survey showed 93 percent in favor of the trials and shootings." Che was present at the gathering, but took no part in the demonstration.

Personal Quotes (27)

I am one of those people who believes that the solution to the world's problems is to be found behind the Iron Curtain.
Man really attains the state of complete humanity when he produces, without being forced by physical need to sell himself as a commodity.
Hatred is an element of struggle; relentless hatred of the enemy that impels us over and beyond the natural limitations of man and transforms us into effective, violent, selective, and cold killing machines. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy.
The question is one of fighting the causes and not just the effects. This revolution is bound to fail if it doesn't succeed in reaching deep inside them, stirring them right down to the bone, and giving them back their stature as human beings. Otherwise, what's the use?
It is better to die standing than to live on your knees.
Let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.
Passion is needed for any great work, and for the revolution passion and audacity are required in big doses.
We made friends with a Chilean worker couple who were communists. The couple numb with cold, huddling together in the desert night... They didn't have a single miserable blanket to sleep under, so we gave them one of ours and Alberto [Alberto Granado] and I wrapped the other one around us as best as we could. It was one of the coldest experiences I have ever had; but also one which made me feel a little closer to this strange, for me, human species.
This journey has only served to confirm this belief, that the division of America into unstable and illusory nations is complete fiction. We are one single mestizo race with remarkable ethnographic similarities, from Mexico down to Magellan Straits.
When I began to study medicine most of the concepts I now have as a revolutionary were then absent from my warehouse of ideals. I wanted to be successful, as everyone does. I used to dream of being a famous researcher, of working tirelessly to achieve something that could, decidedly, be placed at the service of mankind, but which was at that time all about personal triumph. I was, as we all are, a product of my environment.
I now know by an unbelievable coincidence of fate that I am destined to travel.
Our first experience on unpaved roads was alarming: nine spills in a single day. However, lying on camp beds, the only beds we'd know from now on, beside La Poderosa ["The Powerful One", the name of companion Alberto Granado's motorbike], our snail-like abode, we looked into our future with impatient joy. We seemed to breathe more freely, a lighter air, an air of adventure. Faraway countries, heroic deeds, beautiful women whirled round and round in our turbulent imaginations.
Against brute force and injustice the People will have the last word, that of Victory.
[on women fighters] In the tough life of the fighter, a woman is a comrade who brings the qualities peculiar to her gender but with the ability to work just as hard as a man. She can fight, she is weaker, but no less resistant than a man.
How easy it is to govern when one follows a system of consulting the will of the people and one holds as the only norm all the actions which contribute to the well being of the people.
The people's heroes cannot be separated from the people, cannot be elevated onto a pedestal, into something alien to the lives of that people.
The only passion that guides me is for the truth...I look at everything from this point of view.
This revolution has always relied on the willingness of the Cuban people.
If you can tremble with indignation every time an injustice is committed in the world, then we are comrades.
Our efforts are focused on the push for unity amongst the world's underdeveloped nations in order to present a coherent front.
[in 1961, on the Cuban revolution] We are face to face with history and quite simply we must not be afraid! We must maintain the same enthusiasm and faith that we have up to now.
And if it were said of us that we're almost romantics, that we are incorrigible idealists, that we think the impossible: then a thousand and one times we have to answer 'yes we are'.
[in 1964, on the Cuban revolution] Revolutions, accelerated radical social changes, are made of circumstances; not always, almost never, or perhaps never can science predict their mature form in all its detail. They are made of passions, of man's fight for social vindication, and are never perfect. Neither was ours.
It's one of those times when one has to take big decisions; this type of struggle affords us the chance to become revolutionaries, the highest stage of human development, and it also gives us the chance to graduate as men.
To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary. These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate. We execute from revolutionary conviction!
[while addressing the U.N. General Assembly on December 9, 1964] Executions? Certainly we execute! And we will continue executing as long as it is necessary! This is a war to the death against the revolution's enemies!
[on his mission in the Congo in 1965] The human element for the revolution in the Congo failed. The people have no will to fight. The revolutionary leaders are corrupt. In a word... there was nothing to do. We cannot, all by ourselves, liberate a country that does not want to fight.

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