Che Guevara Online

Che Guevara Biography

Che GuevaraChe Guevara (whose real name was Ernesto Guevara) was born in Rosario, Argentina in 1928.

After studying medicine at the University of Buenos Aires he worked as a doctor. While in Guatemala in 1954 he witnessed the socialist government of President Jacobo Arbenz overthrown by an American-backed military coup. Disgusted by what he saw, Guevara decided to join the Cuban revolutionary, Fidel Castro, who at the time was in Mexico.

In 1956 Che Guevara, Castro and eighty other men and women arrived in Cuba in an attempt to overthrow the government of General Fulgencio Batista. This group became known as the July 26 Movement. The plan was to set up their base in the Sierra Maestra mountains. On the way to the mountains they were attacked by government troops. By the time they reached the Sierra Maestra there were only sixteen men left with twelve weapons between them. For the next few months Castro's guerrilla army raided isolated army garrisons and were gradually able to build-up their stock of weapons.

When the guerrillas took control of territory they redistributed the land amongst the peasants. In return, the peasants helped the guerrillas against Batista's soldiers. In some cases the peasants also joined Castro's army, as did students from the cities and occasionally Catholic priests.

In an effort to find out information about the rebels people were pulled in for questioning. Many innocent people were tortured. Suspects, including children, were publicly executed and then left hanging in the streets for several days as a warning to others who were considering joining the revolutionaries. The behavior of Batista's forces increased support for the guerrillas. In 1958 forty-five organizations signed an open letter supporting the July 26 Movement. National bodies representing lawyers, architects, dentists, accountants and social workers were amongst those who signed. Castro, who had originally relied on the support of the poor, was now gaining the backing of the influential middle classes.

General Fulgencio Batista responded to this by sending more troops to the Sierra Maestra. He now had 10,000 men hunting for Castro and his 300-strong army. Although outnumbered, Castro's guerrillas were able to inflict defeat after defeat on the government's troops. In the summer of 1958 over a thousand of Batista's soldiers were killed or wounded and many more were captured. Unlike Batista's soldiers, Castro's troops had developed a reputation for behaving well towards prisoners. This encouraged Batista's troops to surrender to Castro when things went badly in battle. Complete military units began to join the guerrillas.

The United States supplied Batista with planes, ships and tanks, but the advantage of using the latest technology such as napalm failed to give them victory against the guerrillas. In March 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower, disillusioned with Batista's performance, suggested he hold elections. This he did, but the people showed their dissatisfaction with his government by refusing to vote. Over 75 per cent of the voters in the capital, Havana, boycotted the polls. In some areas, such as Santiago, it was as high as 98 per cent.

Fidel Castro was now confident he could beat Batista in a head-on battle. Leaving the Sierra Maestra mountains, Castro's troops began to march on the main towns. After consultations with the United States government, Batista decided to flee the country. Senior Generals left behind attempted to set up another military government. Castro's reaction was to call for a general strike. The workers came out on strike and the military were forced to accept the people's desire for change. Castro marched into Havana on January 9,1959 and became Cuba's new leader.

In its first hundred days in office Castro's government passed several new laws. The costs of rent were cut by up to 50 per cent for low wage earners; property owned by Fulgencio Batista and his ministers was confiscated; the telephone company was nationalized and the rates were reduced by 50 per cent; land was redistributed amongst the peasants (including the land owned by the Castro family); separate facilities for blacks and whites (swimming pools, beaches, hotels, cemeteries etc.) were abolished.

After his success in fighting alongside Fidel Castro in the Cuban revolution, Che Guevara went to Africa. He admitted that his attempts to foment revolution in the Democratic Republic of Congo were a disaster.

In 1960 Che Guevara visited China and the Soviet Union. On his return he wrote two books Guerrilla Warfare and Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War. In these books he argued that it was possible to export Cuba's revolution to other South American countries. Che Guevara served as Minister for Industries (1961-65) but in April 1965 he resigned (some say he was fired, actually) and redirected his efforts to being a guerrilla leader in Bolivia.

Che Guevara chose Bolivia because of its central location on the continent, a hub of sorts from which to "radiate" his beliefs outward toward other South American countries. He also believed social and economic conditions were such that Bolivians would be easily won over. Finally, he believed Bolivia, as far as it was from the U.S., was an unlikely place for interference from the "gringo" government.

In 1966 several of his followers purchased a small hacienda prior to his arrival in November in Bolivia, called the Casa de Calamina (which literally means "house with a tin roof"). At first sight, the rugged mountain terrain, deep gorges and impenetrable vegetation around Vallegrande looked something like the Sierra Maestra mountains in eastern Cuba, where the revolution there was born. But Bolivia is not Cuba and the peasant farmers were mistrustful of him. After several months in the inhospitable countryside, Guevara and his men were tired and hungry and did not have the support of the local community they were seeking. He was captured, tired and hungry.

In February 1967 Che Guevara led some 30 followers into Vallegrande to try to obtain food; however, the Bolivian Army was alerted to their presence and tried to follow them back to camp, but were unable to. On 11 March two guerrillas defected and turned themselves in to Army Headquarters in Camiri and gave up the location of the guerrilla's camp.

The army sent soldiers from Vallegrande, Camiri and Gutierrez to search for the guerrillas but on the 23rd of March, the Che and his guerrilleros set a trap that killed 5 soldiers and 1 civilian, and wounded 14 others.

Shortly thereafter Che Guevara invited a French and an Argentine journalist to camp and asked them to spread the news about the revolution. His men led them to out of the jungle to the edge of a tiny town called Muyupampa. Before they were able to make their way out of the country to do as they had been asked, they were identified by a deserter and captured. They gave the government valuable information.

The Bolivian government then requested assistance from the US who sent in the CIA to train Bolivian operatives and set up a camp to train Bolivian soldiers.

In 1967 Félix Rodríguez was recruited to train and head a team that would attempt to capture Che Guevara. When Guevara was captured by Bolivian General Gary Prado and several other CIA-backed soldiers in the tiny town of La Higuera, it was Rodriguez who interrogated him before he ordered his execution in October, 1967.

His body was displayed in the laundry room of a local medical center (pictured above) to the press and public before mysteriously disappearing. It was not found again until 1997 when it was found under an airstrip in Vallegrande. It was returned to Che Guevara’s family in Cuba for burial. Since this discovery, a tour has been set up in Bolivia. Visitors can trek the "Ruta del Che" and chronologically follow the events that led up to Guevara's capture and death by visiting the various towns named above, in which monuments and museums have been established.

To tour the region of Bolivia where Guevara and his men lived and worked, the location where he was executed, a museum in his honor, and other tours in Bolivia contact Ruta Verde Bolivia.

Portions of this article were found at

Che Guevara Quotes

10 Che Guevara Quotes That Might Make You Throw Out Your Che Guevara T-Shirt

  1. “Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!”
  2. “Blind hate against the enemy creates a forceful impulse that cracks the boundaries of natural human limitations, transforming the soldier in an effective, selective and cold killing machine. A people without hate cannot triumph against the adversary.”
  3. “To send men to the firing squad, judicial proof is unnecessary … These procedures are an archaic bourgeois detail. This is a revolution!”
  4. “A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate. We must create the pedagogy of the The Wall!” The Wall is a reference to the wall where Che’s enemies stood before his firing squads.
  5. “I am not Christ or a philanthropist, old lady, I am all the contrary of a Christ … I fight for the things I believe in, with all the weapons at my disposal and try to leave the other man dead so that I don’t get nailed to a cross or any other place.”
  6. “If any person has a good word for the previous government that is good enough for me to have him shot.”
  7. Che wanted the result of the Cuban missile crisis to be an atomic war. “What we affirm is that we must proceed along the path of liberation even if this costs millions of atomic victims.”
  8. “In fact, if Christ himself stood in my way, I, like Nietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm.”
  9. “Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.”
  10. “It’s a sad thing not to have friends, but it is even sadder not to have enemies.”

Che Guevara Facts

13 Che Guevara Facts From a Negative Standpoint

  1. Che’s famous motorcycle tour of South American is mostly myth. The motorcycle broke down early in the trek and it was completed with other means of transportation.
  2. Che was nicknamed Chancho (Pig) by his schoolmates because he rarely bathed.
  3. Soon after Batista was overthrown, Guevara had hundreds of Cuban government officials executed. Notice that the phrase “fair trial” was conspicuously absent from the previous sentence.
  4. Che was a brutal murderer. He trained and commanded firing squads that executed thousands of men, women and children deemed enemies by the new Castro regime. He once put a bullet in the head of a fellow guerrilla he suspected of disloyalty.
  5. Che was not a fan of our First Amendment. He opposed freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and protest. Can you say North Korea?
  6. All those college kids wearing their Che T-shirts might be surprised to learn that he supported the repression of rock ‘n roll in Cuba.
  7. Homosexuals did not fare well in Che’s Cuba. He mounted a campaign to have them jailed.
  8. Che opposed free elections.
  9. Che never won a Nobel Prize for Economics with good reason. Castro put him in charge of the Cuban economy, but his strident communism immediately put it on a downward economic death spiral.
  10. Che fled Cuba in the mid-1960s not to spread Communism throughout the hemisphere, but because he had so totally screwed up his private life. He was a profligate adulterer who deserted two wives, countless mistresses and numerous children.
  11. Che hoped that the Cuban missile crisis would lead to an atomic war. “What we affirm is that we must proceed along the path of liberation,” he said, “even if this costs millions of atomic victims.”
  12. Members of the Che cult claim his last words were, “I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.” However, General Ovando, Chief of the Bolivian Armed Forces, reported that Che died in battle and that his last words were considerably less noble, “I am Che Guevara and I have failed.”
  13. Another version of his final words is even more pathetic. Far from bravely facing a martyr’s death, Che’s captors reported that he begged for his life saying, “Do not shoot! I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead.”

Ironic, isn’t it, that Che’s last words were as wrong as his entire philosophy of life. As T-shirt vendors around the world have discovered, he has actually been worth far more dead than alive.

10 Che Guevara Facts That Che-Haters Hate

  1. Che was named one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century by Time Magazine, and listed as a "Saint and Icon". 
  2. Che's famous image entitled: "Guerrillero Heroico" has been declared the most famous and reproduced image in the world. 
  3. Che Guevara is prayed to as "Saint Ernesto" in Bolivia and seen as an equal figure to Christ and the Virgin Mary by rural campesinos. 
  4. In September of 2007, Che was voted "Argentina's greatest historical and political figure", and this Summer they erected a giant statue of him in Rosario. 
  5. In Argentina schools are named after Che. 
  6. In Cuba, Che is on the 3 dollar Peso, and school children begin every morning reciting "we will be like Che". 
  7. Che oversaw the revolutionary tribunals of convicted War criminals from the U.$. Supported Batista dictatorship. These rapists, torturers, and goons ran Batista's dungeons and killed 20,000 people. Che simply reviewed the appeals of those sentenced to death. A decision supported by 93 % of Cubans at the time. 
  8. Cuba under Batista was a Mafia ran casino and hooker haven for American tourists, where mostly US companies owned 75 % of the arable land. This is the context that Fidel and Che rose to power in. 
  9. Che's radicalism was spawned from living in Guatemala during the 1953 overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz by the CIA at the behest of the United Fruit Co. 
  10. Later, U.S. Imperialism would follow this practice up by overthrowing Mossadeq, Allende etc and propping up Brutal dictators like the Shah, Suharto, Marcos, Pinochet, and Saddam Hussien (Just like they did with Batista). 

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Che Guevara Movies

Che Guevara Movie: Guerrilla to the End


The True Story of Che Guevara Part 1




Che Guevara Books: On the Origin of Species

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life [Paperback]

Even to those without Marxist sympathies, Che Guevara (1928-67) was a dashing, charismatic figure: the asthmatic son of an aristocratic Argentine family whose sympathy for the world's oppressed turned him into a socialist revolutionary, the valued comrade-in-arms of Cuba's Fidel Castro and a leader of guerilla warfare in Latin America and Africa. Journalist Jon Lee Anderson's lengthy and absorbing portrait captures the complexities of international politics (revolutionary and counter); his painstaking research has unearthed a remarkable amount of new material, including information about Guevara's death at the hands of the Bolivian military.


Che: The Diaries of Ernesto Che Guevara [Paperback]

The book of the new, two-part epic movie on Che Guevara starring Benicio Del Toro as the legendary revolutionary.

Director Steven Soderbergh has based his two-part movie "Che" (Part 1: The Argentine and Part 2: Guerrilla) on two classic diaries written by Che Guevara: Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War (an account of the guerrilla movement led by Fidel Castro that overthrew the Batista dictatorship in 1959) and Bolivian Diary (Che’s famous, unfinished diary discovered in his backpack when he was captured and killed in Bolivia in October 1967).

Che includes a selection from each book, showing the young Argentine’s evolution from the wide-eyed medical student of the Motorcycle Diaries-era to the revolutionary hero the world knows as Che.


Exposing the Real Che Guevara: And the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him [Paperback]

The perfect conservative contrast to the upcoming movie about Che.

Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the mainstream media celebrate Ernesto “Che” Guevara as a saint, a sex symbol, and a selfless martyr. But their ideas about Che — whose face adorns countless T-shirts and posters — are based on the lies of Fidel Castro’s murderous dictatorship.

Che’s hipster fans are classic “useful idiots,” the name Stalin gave to foolish Westerners who parroted his lies about communism. And their numbers will only increase after a new biopic is released this fall, starring Benicio Del Toro.

But as Humberto Fontova reveals in this myth-shattering book, Che was actually a bloodthirsty executioner, a military bumbler, a coward, and a hypocrite. In fact, Che can be called the godfather of modern terrorism.

Fontova reveals:

• How he longed to destroy New York City with nuclear missiles.
• How he persecuted gays, blacks, and religious people.
• How he loved material wealth and private luxuries, despite his image as an ascetic.

Are Che fans like Angelina Jolie, Jesse Jackson, Carlos Santana, and Johnny Depp too ignorant to realize they’ve been duped? Or too anti-American to care?


Che Guevara Links