Guevara, Ernesto ‘Che’ (Cuba)

Reference work entry


Argentine-born Ernesto Guevara, commonly known as El Che or Che, was a key figure in the success of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and subsequently a member of the government of Fidel Castro. His exploits in Cuba and engagement with revolutionary guerrilla movements across South America and Africa contributed to his status as a counter-cultural icon.

Early Life

Ernesto Guevara, the eldest of five children, was born on 14 June 1928 in Rosario, Argentina, to a middle-class family of Spanish and Irish descent. Exposed to politically-leftist thought from an early age by his father (who was an ardent supporter of the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War), the young Guevara developed an interest in Marxism. This was reinforced by his experiences travelling in South America as a student doctor, where he witnessed the extreme poverty faced by much of the population.

Convinced that armed struggle represented the only solution to the region’s problems, he joined Cuba’s...

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