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guevara
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Che Guevara

Ernesto Guevara de la Serna Lynch (May 14, 1928 – October 9, 1967), commonly known as Che Guevara, el Che, or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, political figure, physician, author, military theorist, and leader of Cuban and internationalist guerrillas. His stylized image also later morphed into a ubiquitous worldwide countercultural symbol.

As a young medical student, Guevara embarked on a journey throughout Latin America and was transformed by the endemic poverty he witnessed. His experiences and observations during these trips led him to the conclusion that the region's socio-economic inequalities were an insidious result of capitalism, neo-colonialism, and imperialism, with the only remedy being world revolution. This belief prompted his involvement in Guatemala's social revolution under President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow solidified Guevara’s radical ideology.

Later while in Mexico he joined and was promoted to commander in Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, playing a pivotal role while being viewed as "Castro's brain", in the successful guerrilla campaign to overthrow the U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. After the Cuban revolution, Guevara served in many prominent governmental positions, including President of the National Bank and “supreme prosecutor” over the revolutionary tribunals and executions of suspected war criminals from the previous regime. Along with traveling around the world meeting important leaders on behalf of Cuban socialism, he was a prolific writer of an assortment of books, including a classic manual on the theory and practice of guerrilla warfare. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to incite revolutions first in an unsuccessful attempt in Congo-Kinshasa and ultimately in Bolivia, where he was captured with help of the CIA and executed.

Both notorious for his harsh discipline and revered for his unwavering dedication to his revolutionary doctrines, Guevara remains a controversial and significant historical figure. Because of his death, invocation to armed class struggle, and romantic visage, Guevara became an inspirational icon of leftist revolutionary movements worldwide, as well as a global merchandising sensation. He has since been venerated and reviled in dozens of biographies, memoirs, books, essays, documentaries, songs, and films. Time Magazine professed him to be one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, while an Alberto Korda photo of him (shown) has been declared "the most famous photograph in the world."


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