Ernesto Guevara de la Serna
1.75 m or 5feet 9inches
Death Date: October 9, 1967
Ernesto Che Guevara was an Argentine-born revolutionary, who was a major figure of the Cuban Revolution. Ernesto was born in Rosario, Argentina in 1928, the eldest of five children. The young Ernesto suffered from acute asthma, but despite this he excelled as an athlete. Guevara was introduced to a wide range of literature and political opinions as a young boy through his father, who was a supporter of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.
He entered Buenos Aires University in 1948 to study medicine, and during this time he traveled widely in South and Central America. The first trip in 1950 was a solo 4,500 kilometer journey through Northern Argentina on a bicycle, and the second in 1951 was an 8,000 kilometer journey with his friend Alberto Granado on a motorcycle through most of South America.
During this journey, Guevara was appalled by the widespread poverty, and oppression he witnessed across the South American continent, and he began to consider the idea of armed revolution. He returned to Buenos Aires, and completed his medical studies in 1953, and then set out on another series of journeys, meeting with revolutionary leaders in Guatemala before visiting Mexico in 1954.
Guevara then worked in the general hospital of Mexico City, and the following year he met Raul and Fidel Castro. Guevara joined Castro’s 26th of July Movement, a group who were plotting to overthrow the dictatorship in Cuba, of Fulgencio Batista. Despite differences of opinion with Fidel Castro, Guevara and Castro forged a friendship.
Guevara started out as a combat medic, but began military training with other members, and was made second in command of the rebel forces by Castro. Guevara was a strict disciplinarian who was feared for his brutality and punishments of traitors and deserters. Castro’s forces overthrew Batista’s dictatorship in 1959.
Guevara was made president of the National Bank of Cuba, and he also worked on land reforms in Cuba. He was then made Minister of Industries, and with a small militia seized control of expatriate land in Cuba, and supervise its distribution. 480, 000 acres of this land was owned by US corporations which brought economic sanctions by US President Dwight Eisenhower.
Other western commercial connections became strained. So Guevara began closer relations with the Eastern Bloc countries, guiding the Castro regime towards alignment with the Soviet Union. The Cuban economy begun to falter as a result of US trade sanctions, and unsuccessful economic reforms. The Bay of Pigs Invasion occurred in 1961, and the Cuban missile crises in 1962, and Guevara believed that Cuba was becoming a pon in the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the USA, and began to denounce both sides.
His out spoken speeches had caused him to fallout with the other Cuban leaders, and he left Cuba in 1965, and he began touring the world as a revolutionary statesman. He then spent several months in Africa, particularly the Congo, attempting to train Rebel forces in Guerrilla Warfare. But its efforts ultimately failed, and he returned to Cuba, and then traveled to Bolivia, to lead forces who had rebelled against the government of Rene Barrientos Ortuno.
With assistance from the US, Bolivian troops captured Guevara and his remaining Rebel fighters. He was executed in 1967 by Bolivian soldiers in the Bolivian village La Higuera and was buried in a secret location. In 1997, his remains were found,and his body was exhumed and returned to Cuba, and was placed in a Mausoleum in Santa Clara where the decisive victory in the Cuban revolution had been won.
Guevara has been named as one of the most influential people of the 20th century, and his legacy continues as a symbol of rebellion in popular culture.