A timeline of Ernesto “Che” Guevara's life

A timeline of Ernesto “Che” Guevara's life

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Ernesto "Che" Guevara fought alongside Fidel Castro to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959.
Photo: AFP

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was killed 50 years ago but to this day, he is still an icon of leftist revolutionary struggle and anti-capitalism. Next Monday, October 9 is the 50th anniversary of his execution. Here is a timeline of his life:

Argentina, travels in Latin America

Guevara is born on June 14, 1928, in Rosario, Argentina. In 1945 his family moves to the capital Buenos Aires where “Che” - a nickname linked to his Argentinian origins - enrolls to study medicine at university.

In 1950 he starts his formative journeys of exploration across Latin America, including a nine-month motorbike trip undertaken in 1951 that he wrote up as The Motorcycle Diaries.

Despite taking time off for his travels, he completes his medical studies in 1953.


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The Cuban revolution

In July 1955 Guevara meets Fidel Castro in Mexico, where the young Cuban is preparing a rebellion. In December the following year he heads to Cuba with Castro and 80 other revolutionaries. After several victorious battles against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, Guevara is promoted to commander.

He enters Havana - before Castro - in January 1959, signalling the end of Batista’s regime.

“Che” is appointed president of the Cuban central bank and then minister of industry.

The African adventure

In 1964, by now with an international reputation, Guevara undertakes a trip of three months to various countries, including China and some in Africa.

In April the following year he arrives in the Congo, today the Democratic Republic of Congo, in an attempt to start up a revolutionary war in Africa, which fails horribly.


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A last stand in Bolivia

“Che” quietly returns to Cuba in 1966 and works on a plan to spread the revolution into Latin America, starting with Bolivia.

By 1967 he is secretly leading a guerrilla group in Bolivia. On October 8 he is wounded in a clash with the Bolivian army and captured.

The following day he is executed in the southeastern village of La Higuera. He is 39 years old.

His remains, found in an unmarked mass grave in July 1997, would be returned to Cuba 30 years after his death and buried with military honors.

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