Che Guevara, the myth of the revolution

Che Guevara, the myth of the revolution

The life of Ernesto « Che » Guevara, born in Argentina and a universal symbol from Cuba to Bolivia.

Ernesto Guevara

With the exception of the Che’s pictures found in the stores along Florida Street, nobody in Buenos Aires remembers that Ernesto Guevara is the Argentinean best known around the world, as if the myth was no longer Argentinean but universal. Argentina deprived so much of this hero that some admirer thought he was Cuban (anyway, he had both personalities).

In October 2007 celebrating the 40th anniversary of his death, he was paid tribute: in Bolivia, where he was killed and in Cuba where he participated in the revolution but nothing happened in Argentina. One of the most important icons of all times does not even have a street with his name in the capital city of the country, despite the several requests to the city principals.

There was a private museum for many years but it was finally closed down. However, in 2007, the audience of the TV program Gen Argentino (Argentine Gen) chose Ernesto Che Guevara as one of the five most important figures in Argentine history.

To go after the footprints of Ernesto Guevara, you should go to Rosario where he was born. At the 80th anniversary of his birth, in June 2008, the city put up a sculpture by Andrés Zerneri in the square that is now called after him: a 4-meter-high bronze statue made thanks to the contributions of thousands of people.

Che Guevara museum in Alta Gracia

Guevara lived a few years in Rosario, his family was from Buenos Aires. He was the eldest of the five children of Ernesto Rafael Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna, an aristocratic Argentine family. He spent the first years of his life between the capital city and Caraguatay, province of Misiones, where his parents had a yerba mate plantation. As Ernesto suffered from asthma, his family moved to the province of Córdoba in search of a healthier climate.

The Guevara family settled down in Alta Gracia, in Villa Nydia, now turned into a museum. Ernesto lived there as a child and as a teenager. He had two good friends: Carlos Calica Ferrer and Alberto Granado, with whom he would travel along Latin America some years later. After finishing high school, the Guevara family moved back to Buenos Aires in 1947 and Ernesto got in the School of Medicine and graduated in 1953.

La Poderosa

In 1950, he started his first inauguration trip along the continent. He went along the poor provinces of the Argentine NOA region: Santiago del Estero, Tucumán, Salta, Jujuy, etc. In 1952, together with Alberto Granado and his motorbike Poderosa II, he went along South America for nine months. What committed him to revolutionary movements was the meeting with a member of a Peruvian communist party in a leper center.

After his stay in Mexico from 1954 to 1956, he was part of the Cuban 26 de Julio Revolutionary Movement in charge of Fidel Castro. What happened then is well-known by everybody: the Cuban Revolution, the victory of the urban guerrilla in January 1959, the participation of Che Guevara in the new government imposing the farm reform, the nationalizations and the centralized planning.

Guevara was a member of the organization for armed struggles through the guerrilla movement. In 1963, he sent a group to Argentina. In charge of Jorge Masetti, the People’s Guerrilla Army settled down in Salta. It was a total failure. As from 1964, Che headed the revolutionary troops: firstly in Congo, where he was defeated and then he arrived in Bolivia in 1966.

Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos

After some months of wandering around and random unsupported struggles, Che and some survivors of the group were imprisoned on October 8, 1967 in the city of La Higuera. The following day he was executed in front of CIA agents. They were buried in an ordinary clandestine grave. The body of Che was found in 1997 and transferred to Cuba where he has a funerary monument in Santa Clara.

The ideology of Che Guevara, inspired in Marxism and Communism, and organized in the middle of guerrilla and farmers’ wars, created its own trend: Guevara followers. Several intellectuals and politicians and many young people around the world vindicate his legacy and ideals. The photography taken by Alberto Korda in 1960 was the most famous one around the world, a picture of a romantic hero that has made the myth last in time.

What to visit:
Che Guevara Museum in Alta Gracia.
Open every day Avellaneda 501, Alta Gracia, Córdoba.