Hero of the Hearts Ernesto Che Guevara

On June 14, 1928, the future symbol of the revolution was born, Comandante Che Guevara, one of the most controversial famous personalities of the past century.

Ernesto Raphael Guevara Lynch de la Serna appeared in a family of aristocrats, lived a bright but short life, and after death became a human icon, a symbol of struggle and protest. At the same time, the majority of young people who decorate themselves with Che's portrait, hardly imagine what kind of person he was, what ideas he professed and fought against whom.

To the birthday of the legendary revolutionary, we present rare archival photos and interesting facts from the life of Comrade Che.


Ernesto Guevara was born on June 14, 1928 in the Argentine city of Rosario, in the family of architect Ernesto Guevara Lynch (1900–1987). Both the father and the mother of Ernesto Che Guevara were Argentine Creoles, among his ancestors were the Irish, the Californian Creoles. Maternal, Che was a descendant of Peru’s last viceroy.

Left photo: Ernesto Che Guevara in the arms of his mother Celia de la Serna, 1928.Right: Ernesto Che Guevara at the age of five in the Alta Gracia Mountains with her sister Celia.

At the age of two years, Ernesto suffered the hardest form of bronchial asthma and this disease has plagued him all his life. To restore his health, the family moved to the Argentine province of Cordoba.

The first two years, Ernesto could not attend school and studied at home (he learned to read at the age of four) because he suffered from daily asthma attacks. After that, he passed with interruptions due to the state of health in high school in Alta Gracia. In addition to Ernesto, whose childhood name was Tete, short for Ernesto, there were four other children in the family: Celia, Roberto, Anna Maria and Juan Martin. All children received a higher education.

In his youth, Che Guevara was fond of football (however, like most of the boys of Argentina), rugby, horse riding, golf, gliding and loved to travel by bike. From the age of four, Guevara was passionately fond of reading, since in Che's parents' house there was a library of several thousand books. Ernesto Che Guevara was very fond of poetry and even wrote poetry himself. Che Guevara was born in Argentina, and he became interested in Cuba at the age of 11, when Cuban chess player Capablanca arrived in Buenos Aires. Ernesto was very passionate about chess.

Ernesto was strong in the exact sciences, especially in mathematics, but chose the profession of doctor. Che Guevara wanted to devote his life to the treatment of lepers of South Americans, like Albert Schweitzer, to whose authority he admired. In 1945 he graduated from college and entered the medical faculty of the University of Buenos Aires.

In 1950, while already a student, Ernesto hired a sailor on an oil cargo ship from Argentina, visited Trinidad Island and British Guiana. Then he traveled on a moped, which was provided to him by Micron for advertising purposes, with partial coverage of travel expenses.

Since childhood, Ernesto Che Guevara wanted to devote his life to the treatment of lepers of South Americans. During a trip to South America with Alberto Granados, a doctor of biochemistry, they earned their living by occasional part-time work: they washed dishes in restaurants, treated peasants, or acted as veterinarians. When Che and Alberto reached Colombia, they were arrested for being suspicious and tired.

But the police chief, being a football fan familiar with Argentina’s football successes, freed them by finding out where they were from, in exchange for a promise to coach the local football team.The team won the district championship, and the fans bought them plane tickets to the capital of Colombia - Bogota. On the photo: the raft "Mambo-tango", which was donated to Ernesto Che Guevara and Alberto Granado by patients with the leprosarium of San Pablo.

From 1953 to 1954, Guevara made his second long journey through Latin America. He visited Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, El Salvador. In Guatemala, he took part in the defense of the government of President Arbens, after the defeat of which he settled in Mexico, where he worked as a doctor. During this period of his life, Ernesto Guevara got his nickname Che for the characteristic interjection of Che in Argentine Spanish, which he abused in oral speech.

During his second major trip to Latin America in 1955 in Mexico, Che Guevara met Fidel Castro. After this meeting, Che Guevara rejected all his medical work and realized that his purpose was revolution. He joined Castro and the revolutionary movement and soon joined his revolutionary squad. In December 1956, a group of 82 revolutionaries arrived on the coast of Cuba in the province of Oriente and began an attack against the Batista regime.

On June 5, 1957, Fidel Castro singled out a column led by Che Guevara, consisting of 75 fighters. Che was given the title Comandante (Major). During the period of the revolution in Cuba in 1956-1959, the Comandante was the highest rank among the rebels, who deliberately did not assign each other higher military officials. The most famous team members are Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Camilo Cienfuegos.

During his life, Che, leading the partisan detachments, was wounded in battle twice. He wrote to his parents after the second injury: “I spent two, five left,” meaning that he, like a cat, has seven lives.

In November 1958, Guevara led a partisan attack on the government troops in the province of Oriente, and in December the Guevara column captured a strategic point in the province - the city of Santa Clara in the center of Cuba. In 1959, Batista fled the country that came under the control of the revolutionaries.

From the moment Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, repressions began against his political opponents. After the rebel occupation of the city of Santiago de Cuba, on January 12, 1959, a demonstration trial was held over 72 police officers and persons connected in one way or another with the regime and accused of “war crimes”.All 72 were shot. The executions in the Habana fortress-prison of La Cabana were personally administered by Che Guevara, who was appointed as the commandant of the prison and headed the appeals tribunal. After the advent of Castro's supporters to power in Cuba, more than eight thousand people were shot, many without trial.

Photo 1959. From left to right: Raul Castro, Antonio Nuñez Jimenez, Ernesto Che Guevara, Juan Almeida.

After the victory of the revolution, Che Guevara received Cuban citizenship, was the head of the garrison of the fortress of La Cabana (Havana), director of the Office of Industrial Development of the country, participated in the preparation of agrarian reform.

In November 1959 - February 1961, Ernesto Che Guevara was president of the National Bank of Cuba. In February 1961, Ernesto was appointed Minister of Industry and Head of the Central Planning Council of Cuba. This picture is a famous photograph of Che in the Ministry of Industry of Cuba, 1963. Author: Swiss photographer Rene Burri (René Burri / Magnum)

In 1960, Che Guevara, at the head of Cuba’s economic mission, visited the countries of the socialist bloc, including the Soviet Union.

Being a Marxist, Ernesto Che Guevara reproached the "fraternal" socialist countries of the USSR and China inthe imposition of barter conditions on the poorest countries, similar to those dictated by imperialism in the world market.

In April 1965, Ernesto Che Guevara sent a letter to Fidel Castro about his decision to continue to participate in the revolutionary movement of one of the countries of the world and left Cuba.

In addition to the Latin American continent, Ernesto Che Guevara led guerrilla activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries of the world (the data are still classified). Photo: Democratic Republic of Congo, 1965. Che holds the child in his arms, while the Congolese partisan holds his finger on the trigger of a rifle. Photo: AFP

In November 1966, Che Guevara arrived in Bolivia to organize a partisan movement. The partisan detachment he had created on October 8, 1967 was surrounded and destroyed by government forces. Ernesto Che Guevara was wounded, captured and killed the next day.

On October 11, 1967, his body and the bodies of six more of his comrades were secretly buried near the airport in Vallegrand. In July 1995, the location of Guevara’s tomb was discovered. And in July 1997, the remains of Comandante were returned to Cuba, and in October of the same year they were reburied in the mausoleum of the city of Santa Clara in Cuba.

Many people in Latin America, after Che's death, began to consider him holy and turned to him San Ernesto de La Higuera. No wonder many people say that not one dead was as much like Christ as Che in a photograph familiar to the whole world, where he lies on a desk in school, surrounded by the Bolivian military.

Che Guevara is a national hero of Cuba, his portrait is on Cuban pesos, in schools daily classes begin with the song “We will be like Che”. In Argentina, the birthplace of a revolutionary, there are many museums dedicated to him, and in 2008, a bronze 4-meter statue of Che Guevara was installed in the city of Rosario. Among the Bolivian workers, Che Guevara has the status of a saint - he is called so - Saint Ernesto, when they ask for intercession and assistance. The Catholic Church in these parts strongly opposes such an order, but it cannot do anything in this situation.

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