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Guevara de la Serna, Ernesto (Che Guevara, El Che)

Born: 1928 AD
Died: 1967 AD, at 39 years of age.

Nationality: Argentinian
Categories: Activists, Military Officer


1928 - Born in Rosario, Argentina on the 14th of June this year to Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna.


1929-1931 - Between these years, he had asthmatic conditions forcing his parents to move to Alta Gracia, Cordoba where the climate was drier.


1934-1940 - Was home-schooled from 1934 up to 1940.


1941 - Enrolled at Colegio Nacional Dean Funes, Cordoba Argentina for high school.


         - While growing up, he encountered Marx and Freud and their ideologies mostly from his father's collection of books.


1948 - Took up medicine at the University of Buenos Aires. As a student, he spent long periods traveling around Latin America. In his late teens, he developed a keen interest in photography and spent many hours photographing people, places and, during later travels, archaeological sites.


1951 - His older friend, biochemist Alberto Granado, suggested that he take a year off from his medical studies to embark on a trip they had been talking about for years. Guevara and Granado set off from their hometown of Alta Gracia on a 1939 Norton 500 cc motorcycle they named La Poderosa II. They had the idea of spending a few weeks volunteering at the San Pablo Leper colony in Peru which was on the banks of the Amazon River. Guevara narrated this journey in The Motorcycle Diaries.


1953 - Graduated from the University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina. On the 7th of July, he se out on a trip through Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. He arrived in Guatamela in the final days of December.


1954 - Guevara moved to Mexico in early September. He renewed his friendship with Ñico López and the other Cuban exiles he knew in Guatemala.


1955 - On June of this year, he was introduced to Raul Castro by López. Several weeks later, Fidel Castro arrived in Mexico City after he was amnestied from prison in Cuba. On the 8th of July, Raúl introduced Guevara to Fidel. Hilda Gadea arrived from Guatemala. In the summer of this year, she informed Guevara that she was pregnant, and he immediately suggested that they marry. On the 18th of August, Gadea and Guevara married.


1656 - On the 15th of February, Guevara and Gadea's daughter, Hilda Beatriz, was born. Guevara joined Fidel Castro's revolutionary 26th of July Movement. On the 25th of November, the cabin crusier Granma set out from Tuxpan, Veracruz for Cuba. Guevara was on of only four non-Cubans aboard. The cruiser was attacked by Batista's military soon after landing and it was during this confrontation that Guevara laid down his medical supplies to fight against Batista's military. 15-20 rebels survived and they re-grouped and fled into the mountains of the Sierra Maestra to wage guerrilla warfare against the Batista Regime.


1958 - On March of this year, he was tasked to direct a training camp in the Sierra Maestra at Minas del Frio, one of the military schools set up by the 26th of July Movement. On December of this year, he directed his "suicide squad" in the attack on Santa Clara.


1959 - The 26th of July Movement seized power in Cuba this year. On the 2nd of June, he was appointed commander of the La Cabaña Fortress prison. He oversaw the trial and execution of many people, among whom were former Batista regime officials and members of the "Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities." The estimated people who were executed on Guevara's extra-judicial ofders were 156 to 550 people. On the 7th of February, the government proclaimed him "a Cuban citizen by birth" in recognition of his role in the triumph of the revolutionary forces. He then initiated divorce proceedings to put a formal end to his marriage with Gadea. On the 2nd of June, he married Aleida March, a Cuban-born member of the 26th of July Movement with whom he had been living with since late 1958. On the 7th of October, he emerged as director of the Industrialization Program of the National Agrarian Reform Institute (INRA). On November of this year, he became the President of the National Bank of Cuba.

1960 - Provided medical assistance to the victims of the freighter La Coubre when the vessel exploded in Havana harbor.


         - Served as Minister of Industries, in which he helped formulate Cuban socialism and became one of the country's most prominent figures.


         - He wrote Guerilla Warfare which advocated replicating the Cuban model of revolution initiated by a small group of guerrillas without the need for big organizations to precede armed insurrections.

1961 - The Bay of Pigs Invasion, Guevara did not participate as he was ordered by Castro to command a post in Cuba's westernmost Pinar del Rio province where he was involved in fending off a decoy force. In this mission, he suffered a bullet wound to the face by the accidental discharge of his own gun.


1964 - Went to New York for a speaking engagement in the United Nations as the head of the Cuban delegation in December of this year. On the 17th of December, he flew to Paris and from there, he embarked on a three-moth international tour during which he visited the People's Republic of China, UAE, Algeria, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Dahomey, Congo-Brazzaville and Tanzania.


1965 - On the 24th of February, he made in Algiers his last public appearance on the international stage when he delivered a speech to the "Second Economic Seminar on Afro-Asian Solidarity." He returned to Cuba on the 14th of March to a solemn reception by Fidel and Raul Castro, Osvaldo Dorticós, and Carlos Rafael Rodríguez at the Havana airport. During their all-night meeting on 14th of March, Guevara and Castro had agreed that the former would personally lead Cuba's first military action in Sub-Saharan Africa. Two weeks later, Guevara dropped out of public life and then vanished altogether. His whereabouts were the great mystery of 1965 in Cuba, as he was generally regarded as second in power to Castro himself. He left Cuba to stir up the revolutions in Congo-Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo) then in Bolivia.


         - Castro received Guevara's "farewell letter" to him, a letter that was intended to be revealed in case he dies. He wrote in the letter that he was severing all ties to Cuba in order to devote himself to revolutionary activities in other parts of the world. During this time, he compile his memoirs of the Congo experience, and wrote the drafts of two more books, on on philosophy and the other on economics. He also visited several countries in Western Europe in order to "test" his new false identity and the corresponding documentation created for him by the Cuban Intelligence. Throughout this period, Castro continued to tell Guevara to return to Cuba. Guevara only agreed to do so when it was understood that he would be there on a strictly temporary basis for the few months needed to prepare a new revolutionary effort somewhere in Latin America, and that his presence on the island would be cloaked in the tightest secrecy.


1966-1967 - Speculations of Guevara's whereabouts continued throughout these years. Representatives of the Mozambican independence movement reported meeting with Guevara sometime in these years at which point they rejected their offer of aid in their revolutionary project. In a speech at the 1967 May 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". The persistent reports that he was leading the guerrillas in Bolivia were eventually shown to be true.


         - The numerous photographs taken by and of Guevara and other members of his guerrilla group that they left behind at their base camp after the initial clash with the Bolivian army in March 1967 provided President René Barrientos with the first proof of his presence in Bolivia; after viewing them, Barrientos allegedly stated that he wanted Guevara's head displayed on a pike in downtown La Paz. He thereupon ordered the Bolivian Army to hunt Guevara and his followers down.


         - When he was in Bolivia, he was captured in a military operation supported by the CIA and U.S. Army Special Forces.


1967 - Executed in La Higuera by the Bolivian Army on the 9th of October, 1967.


Page last updated: 9:16am, 19th May '07

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