Biography of Ernesto Che Guevara.



Ernesto Guevara de la Serna borns in June 14th, 1928 in Rosario, Argentina. He's the first son of the marriage of Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna, both originating from aristicratic families. The father, Ernesto Gueavara Lynch, with Irish roots by the motherly route and owner of a long tradition of more than 10 generations by the paternal. The mother, Celia de la Serna, owner of a good culture and an anticlerical behavior with An asthmatic child which she would educate her children.

They lived in Caraguatay, Misiones province, where the family had a dull herb property, a in touch direct childhood with nature. At the end of 1929 his sister Celia borns. In May 1930, after swiming in a nearby river to the house, suffers his first asthma crisis; they would have diagnosed him a severe asthmatic affection.

In 1932, they change their domicile to San Isidro, an elegant suburb of the federal capital Buenos Aires, where his brother Roberto would be born. However, in May 1933 the asthmatic crisis compel the family to be moved to a most dry weather: they choose Alta Gracia, a town of the Córdoba sees where they would have live 10 years. In 1934 his sister Ana borns. His childhood is a little imprisoned due to the cares that his asthmatic condition was requiring. Learns to read and write with his mother during the first years. However, this scholastic irregularity contrasts with an extremely free and versatile socialization. Grows in the street, and demonstrates a great pleasure by the reading: Verne, Quiroga, Salgari, Baudelaire, García Lorca, etc. In 1937 it is given his first approximation to the policy due to the fact that his uncle, Cayetano Córdova Iturburu is going as a war correspondent to the Spanish civil war.

Finishes his studies of secondary in 1943 and mets the Granado brothers and the Ferrer brothers, friends for all his life. That year Juan Martín borns, who would be his minor brother. In spite of his asthma, Ernesto always performed an active sports life that made him to earn mottoes as "Fuser" (of "furious Serna"), the "Chancho" because was capable of using the same clothes up to a week, "Pitecantropus Erectus" by his bulky front. He used to eat very good.

After the nationalistic coup d'état of Juan Domingo Perón in 1943, the middle class and the burgois were expressed opposite to the peronism and the Guevara-De la Serna's were not the exception; however, Ernesto seems more involved with external conflicts. During this era the USA ambassador in Argentina is Spruille Braden, who thereinafter would act deceitfully in Guatemala.


In 1945 they move again to the federal capital and he works to finance his career in the medical school of the University of Buenos Aires where knows his friend Tita Infante. Cares also until her death, to his motherly grandmother, Ana.

The decade of 50's arrives labeled by Europe's reconstruction and an ardent peronism in Argentina. It's in the1950s when he parts with his friend Alberto Granado to undertake a trip of almost 4500 kilometers by Argentina's north provinces aboard of a small bicycle to the one which they attach a motor. During School daysthis trip Ernesto is preparing exams and learning more from the places that they visit, exercises in recital and writes his dairy, a literary beginning that would peak with the take leave of letter to Fidel Castro, in 1965. Ernesto and Granado have their first experience with sicks when they arrive to the Chañar's leper house.

When he returns to Buenos Aires, continues his investigations and in spite of not being a pupil with high notes, arrives to invent an insecticide. In October meets María del Carmen Ferrerira, "Chinchina", girl of the Córdoba aristocracy with who he would set a relationship; he stresses his irony and his sarcastic personality with the family of the girl.

In December 29th, 1951 undertakes a new trip with his friend Alberto Granado, this time by Latin America in a motorcycle. They will touch Chile, Bolivia, Perú, Colombia, Venezuela. It's in Chile where the motorcycle is decomposed; they will know the poor mining communities of Antofagasta and the staunch reflex of the development on the Chilean faces. In Perú, he climbs "Huayna Picchu", and they travel without money as rejection to bourgeois; in Lima, they make social work in the local leper house, know Ollantaytambo, go to the Amazonian Iquitos, to the San Pablo's leper house where help and are joined in solidarity with the sick, who will build them a boat called "Mambo - Tango" to navigate by the Amazonas; arrive to Colombia during the Laureano Gómez's regime but spend little time; touch Venezuelan land and it's here where the friends continue each one their course: Alberto is contracted by a leper house and Guevara returns to Argentina in a load plane to end his studies.

In June 12th, 1953 finally, he is graduated as medical. In July 7th begins another trip by Latin America, accompanied of other childhood friend, Carlos "Calica" Ferrer; they make it by train and course to Bolivia. Before departing, Ernesto says good-by to his parents with the famous phrase: "¡Here goes an America's soldier!". They arrive to La Paz on July 12th, in moments of political agitation, with civil war risk. There, they will meet the argentinian Ricardo Rojo, political prisoners attorney and a Perón's opposer. Narrates Rojo on Ernesto: "he used to speak little, he prefered to listen the conversation of the others and suddenly, with a relaxing smile, unloaded on the speaker a smashing phrase".

They visit Machu Picchu in Perú; in Ecuador know Guayaquil and survive eating bananas and due to the little money that their temporary projects people offered them. They decide to depart to Árbenz's Guatemala to have contact with a " social left revolution". Before taking the steam to Central America a bet borns in which Ernesto beats his friends, according to Rojo's account. He assures that he has two months without changing the trouserss and that these can be maintained in foot, full with dirt. In front of the boys, Ernesto is stripped and literally poses in soil the pledge, that remains in fact taut before everybody amazement.

Meanwhile, in Cuba, Fidel Castro and others revolutionaries assault the Moncada headquarter trying, in vain, to overthrow the Fulgencio Batista's pro yankee dictatorship.

Before touching Guatemalan land they spend some few days in San José, Costa Rica, where Ernesto would personally meet Venezuelan Rómulo Betancourt and Dominican writer Juan Bosch, who would be in the future presidents of their respective countries. It's there where he takes his first contacts with Cuban revolutionaries. Travels paradoxically with a United Fruit Company's freighter free passage and months afterwards would know the prepotent reactions of this company upon seeing affected its interests by the agrarian reform of president Jacobo Árbenz. In December 20th arrives to Guatemala and three days after knows a Peruvian exile called Hilda Gadea and who would be his first wife and mother of his first daughter, Hilda. Ernesto works in a hospital ad honorem.

Meets Fidel Castro

During this 9 months stay in Árbenz country, Gadea introduces him to some Movement 26 de Julio exiles, among other, Ñico López, who forge that nick that would carry him to the immortality: "Che". In the intellectual Nicaraguan Edelberto Towers house, joins with some moncadistas insurgents that had obtained asylum in the Guatemalan embassy in The Havana. He knows live the United States intromissions in the local policy, since in June is accomplished a deceit invasion of this country through the frontier with Honduras. Due to the previous tensions and to those of the moment, Che is enlisted as voluntary for the popular defense that cannot stop the invader and that does not count with the Guatemalan Army's support.

Rojo accounts that, during the coup d'état days the Argentine ambassador Nicasio Sánchez Toranzo, a really friendly guy that supplyied them dull herb, went to the Guevara's pension to notify him: "You are coming right now with me. I have been notified of the fact that there is an Argentine in the agitators list that will be executed, and the Argentine is you". Known the links between the Perón and Árbenz governments, many moncadistas exiles were seeking refuge in the Argentine mission. Here it starts his political maturity and it doesn't lose the written communication with his parents.

Around the end of 1954 arrives to Mexico, knows Palenque, Uxmal, Chichén Itzá, Toluca, the Popocatépetl, the Federal District. Meets Raúl Castro Ruz, Fidel's brother who travels to the United States and arrives to Mexico on July 8th, the same month of the presentation between Che and Fidel. After a conversation, Che decides to be added to the expedition to Cuba directed by Fidel Castro. On August 18th, 1955 he gets married with Hilda Gadea due to the fact that she surprises him with the news of the pregnancy; menwhile, it works as a street photographer and collaborates as chronicler of the PanAmerican Games for the Latin Agency.

His daughter, Hilda Beatriz, borns on February 15th, 1956 and during this year are adjusted the preparations for the trip to Cuba and the physical trainings and fight begin in Chalco, State of Mexico, under the orders of an ex high military of the Spanish Republican Army, exiled in Latin America, Alberto Bayo. The soldier defines Che as the most disciplined and tenacious of his wards. On July 6th he announces to his parents that he will be participating in the expedition. Suddenly, on June 24th the Mexican policeman arrest some of the Movement 26 de Julio in the Miguel Schultz prison, however, the Batista regime is losing allies. It's freed on July 31th and continues his trainings. During the first hours of November 25th, 82 men depart toward Cuba from the veracruzan port of Tuxpan aboard of the Granma, a yacht with capacity for 25 persons that Fidel had bought to a USA entrepreneur. They spend a week of stirrings in the Gulf of Mexico, suffering diarrhea, dizzinesss and pains. Finally they touch a swamps zone on December 2th where receive support from the rebellious peasant leadership. Three days after it's registered the first combat where 21 pro-Castro men die in Alegría del Pío.

Combats in Cuba

The first victory of the Rebel Army would be registered until January 17th, 1957 in the headquarters of La Plata, at the bottom of mount Turquino. There emerges the Che's first heroic action of when he runs without coverage under the shoots and achieves set fire to a hangar. Thereinafter he ascends the mentioned mountain, 2000 meters height, lethal for the asthmatic guerrilla. This victory gives them safety to launch their second assault on Arroyo del Infierno where Che will kill his first enemy and he's rewarded with the privilege of participating in the large decisions of the technical committee, together Raúl Castro and Almeida. On May 28th they triumph in El Uvero, on the coast, that it's according to Guevara the hardest combat of all the campaign of the Sierra Maestra and where the legend of Che's equanimity in the medical care of both two sides injured grows. July 21th, Fidel ascends che to commander and entrusts him the creation of the Fourth Column of the Rebel Army. Che earns the gilded star. This military symbol apprehended in the typical beret will mean the reputation, the iconographic eternity, and also a subsequent commercial manipulation after his death. On August 30th leads the victory of El Hombrito. In November founds the newspaper "The Free Cuban".

In February, 1958 founds Radio Rebelde that transmits in a long distance band and will help him to create liaisons between the insurgents and the continent. They also found the first regular recruitment and guerrillas training school in El Hombrito. They also will install there a school where peasant and rebels are alphabetized, an armory with wheel, a shoes factory, a saddlery. The month of August marks the beginning of the "invasion" of Cuba's western part by Che and Camilo Cienfuegos columns in which they travel 554 kilometers in 47 days. In October, Che commands the different opposer Batista groups in the Escambray while is planning the agrarian reform. In December knows Aleida March, who would be his second wife. While Fidel advances on Santiago of Cuba, Che starts the decisive offensive. December 31th, Che takes Santa Clara in a decisive battle for the Revolution, marks also the popular and militar consecration of Che, who is very friendly greeted by the population and a hard blow to the dictatorship.

Overthrow to Batista, new government

The first day of 1959 Fulgencio Batista flees from Cuba and is exiled Che and his daughter Hilda in the Leónidas Trujillo's Dominican Republic, letting the command to General Eulogio Cantillo. On January 3th Camilo Cienfuegos arrives to La Habana under a general strike. Che arrives on January 4th to the Cuban capital. January 8th, Fidel arrives from East to La Habana. On day 9 Che's parents arrive to Cuba in a plane sent by Cienfuegos to Buenos Aires. On January 21th, Hilda Gadea and her daughter arrive; Che and his wife decide to get an agreement and be divorced. Che has the command of La Cabaña where batistian informers and torturers are executed, a perfect pretext for Washington. During the first February days, the Ministers Council issued a decree that conceded Cuban citizenship to those foreigners that might have fought against the dictatorship; it's as well as on the septh day of that month Che obtains the Cuban citizenship. In March starts to draft the Law of the Agrarian Reform. On June 2nd, he finally gets married with Aleida March, it's his second marriage; on 12th starts a tour by Third World countries and also visits Japan: on July 7th arrives to New Delhi and it's received by Jawarlahal Nehru, on July 17th interviews Tito in Yugoslavia and tries to open economic possibilities to Cuba, diversify markets. On October 8th is nominated chief of the Industries Department of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA) that's entrusted with confiscating the large neglected landed estates and to nationalizing the sugar cane and tobacco plantations, in large part property of USA's citizens. On October 28th Cuba loses the valuable Camilo Cienfuegos in an aviation accident, without letting tracks. On November 28th, Guevara is nominated president of the National Bank of Cuba, therefore he must delegate his INRA functions in someone and chooses Orlando Borrego; he signs the new currency with his motto. In spite of his activities as official, takes advantage of weekends in order to enter the voluntary work sessions participating with an ardent patriotism. All this year marks a definitive course toward the socialistic ideas installation, combatting the individualism by considering it a burgess aspiration and forging the idea of the New Man, he begins to be a statesman, an ideologist that pours in writings his thoughts and encourages the release of Albizu in Puerto Rico, armed struggles or the revolt of the French May. Around the end of 1959, injects vitality to the news agency Latin Press with the goal of combatting the partiality in the emanated or controlled information by Washington; it's directed by Jorge Masetti and summons youths Latin America journalists.

In 1960 the links of the Cuban government with the USSR are already very clear. On March 4th in the port of La Habana, explodes a Belgian vessel, "La Coubre" that carries weapons to Cuba, is spoken of a probable attempt of the CIA. On the following day, during the homage to the victims born the legendary phrase of Fidel Castro: "Motherland or death. We will win!" and the photographer Alberto Korda takes the famous photograph of Che that would immortalize him internationally. In April directs the Instruction Department of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and dedicates his book "War of guerrilla" to Cienfuegos. On August 8th launches the slogan "Cuba yes, yankees no" in a hard speech before the First Latin American Youths Congress, hardly two days after have nationalized oil industry. Response comes and on October 19th United States decrees a commercial embargo that compels Cuba to seek sugar buyers all over the world and from 22th Che is the superintendent of this economic and political mission that carries him to the USSR, Czechoslovakia, China, Korea and the German Democratic Republic. In Moscow he's given an ovation during the feasts of the October anniversary and reaches to sell 3 million of tons. In Berlin meets Tamara Bunke. On November 24th, during his stay in China, his first daughter, Aleida, borns of the marriage with March.

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Most recent revision: Februar 21th, 2002