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Che Guevara

Guevara, Che (Ernesto Guevara)chā gāväˈrä, ārnĕsˈtō, 1928–67, Cuban revolutionary and political leader, b. Argentina. Trained as a physician at the Univ. of Buenos Aires, he took part (1952) in riots against the dictator Juan Perón in Argentina, joined agitators in Bolivia, and worked in a leper colony. In 1953 he went to Guatemala, joined the leftist regime of Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, and when Arbenz was overthrown (1954) fled to Mexico, where he met Fidel Castro and other Cuban rebels. Guevara became Castro's chief lieutenant soon after the rebel invasion of Cuba in 1956, in which he proved to be a resourceful guerrilla leader. As president of the national bank after the fall (Jan., 1959) of Fulgencio Batista he was instrumental in cutting Cuba's traditional ties with the United States and in directing the flow of trade to the Communist bloc. He served (1961–65) as minister of industry. At heart a revolutionary rather than an administrator, he left Cuba in 1965 to foster revolutionary activity in the Congo and other countries. In 1967, directing an ineffective guerrilla movement in Bolivia, he was wounded, captured, and executed by government troops. Guevara wrote Guerrilla Warfare (1961), Man and Socialism in Cuba (1967), Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War (1968), and The African Dream (2001), a forthright account of the failed Congo rebellion. His Diary of a Combatant, describing his role in the Cuban revolution, was published in Cuba in 2011.

See his diaries, ed. by R. Scheer (1968) and by D. James (1968); his speeches and writings, ed. by J. Gerassi (1968) and D. Deutschmann (1987); biography by J. L. Anderson (1997); D. James, Che Guevara (1969); M. Ebon, Che: The Making of a Legend (1969); L. J. González and G. A. Sánchez Salazar, The Great Rebel (tr. 1969); R. Harris, Death of a Revolutionary (1970); L. Sauvage, Che Guevara: The Failure of a Revolutionary (1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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