Hasta La Victoria Siempre

Hasta La Victoria Siempre Ernesto Guevara de la Serna y Lynch (June 14, 1928 - October 9, 1967), more commonly known as Che Guevara or El Che, was an Argentinian Marxist revolutionary, medic, political figure and leader of Cuban and international guerrillas.

Che was born in Rosario, Argentina, both of his parents being of Basque descent. As a child and teen, he excelled in the rugby union, despite his asthma, and earned himself the nickname “Fuser”, a contraction of “El Furibundo” (The Raging; describing his playing style) and his mother’s surname - Serna.

In 1951, Guevara (at the time studying medicine at the University of Buenos Aires, he would later go on to specialize in leprosy) and an older biochemist friend, Alberto Granado, set off on a trip through all of South America. They had spoken of this trip for years, and they took off on a 1939 Norton 500 cc motorcycle which they named La Poderosa II, the Mighty One, the Second. He kept a diary during this period, which was later published under the title The Motorcycle Diaries, as a book, compiled by his daughter, and then, in 2004, as a movie.

His nickname was given while he was on his motorcycle journey - “Che” was a name for Argentinians, to symbolize their accent - the way they pronounced “ch”.

Che married his sweetheart, Hilda Gadea Acosta, on August 18, 1955, and their daughter, Hilda Beatríz, was born on February 15, 1956.

Che was a key figure in the Cuban Revolution. One of just four non-Cubans sailing with Fidel Castro on the Granma in 1956, he became a rebel Comandante (Major) and after the revolution, was key in severing Cuba’s trade ties with the United States. These ties were redirected to the Soviet Union.

General Fulgencio Batista, the man Castro was trying to overthrow, fled to the Dominican Republic in early 1959 as he realized that many of his generals were striking up peace treaties with the ruthless Guevara - which he became after executing a number of men during the guerrilla campaign for being deserters, informers, or spies.

In 1959, Guevara divorced his wife after splitting with her before leaving on the Granma. On June 2 of the same year, he married a Cuban woman, Aleida March, with whom he had been living for nearly a year.

In December of 1964, Ernesto traveled to New York City to speak at the UN. He flew to Paris on December seventeenth, and from there continued into a three-month international tour during which he visited the People’s Republic of China, the United Arab Republic (Egypt), Algeria, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Dahomey, Congo-Brazzaville and Tanzania, stopping also in Ireland and Prague.

Two weeks after his return to Cuba in March, Guevara dropped out of public life, and then vanished altogether. In November Fidel Castro confirmed that the man was still alive, in fact in perfect health, but refused to reveal where exactly he was.

On the eighth of October, 1967, Guevara was captured by the Bolivian Special Forces (according to records). He was taken to a dilapidated schoolhouse nearby for overnight. Early the next afternoon, he was executed. Allegedly as his executioner was about to shoot, Che told him, “I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.” His body was flown to Vallegrande, where he was displayed to the press.

After a military doctor surgically removed his hands, the Bolivian army transferred Guevara’s cadaver to an undisclosed location and has since refused to reveal where his remains had been buried or cremated.

The very common photograph taken by Alberto Korda has become one of the century’s most ubiquitous images, displayed on T-shirts all over the world. This is probably the most famous picture of El Che ever to be taken.

There is much controversy over the death of Ernesto Guevara. Some people believe that it was the CIA which assassinated the man; that it was they who hid his body.

The reality of the situation is that the world will probably never know exactly who killed this key figure in the Cuban Revolution. The information may remain hidden forever.

I don’t care if I fall as long as someone else picks up my gun and keeps on shooting - Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

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