The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey

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Seven Stories Press
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About the Author

In 1952, the year he turns 24, while still in medical school, Ernesto Che Guevara embarks on the journey he describes in The Motorcycle Diaries--which is also the first chapter in the short and very eventful life of this icon of the century, as Time magazine refers to him. After returning to Argentina and graduating medical school in 1953, he almost immediately embarks on a second Latin America voyage, one which takes him through Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala. In Bolivia, he is witness to the Bolivian Revolution. And in Guatemala, the experience of seeing the democratically elected government of Jacobo Árbenz overthrown by U.S.-backed forces profoundly radicalizes him. This second trip is described in Latin America Diaries.
After escaping to Mexico, Guevara meets a group of Cuban revolutionaries exiled in Mexico City led by Fidel Castro and enlists in their planned expedition to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. The Cubans nickname him Che, a popular form of address in his native Argentina. The group sets sail for Cuba on November 25, 1956, aboard the yacht Granma, with Che as the group's doctor. Within several months, Fidel appoints him a commander of the Rebel Army, though he also continues to minister to wounded guerrilla fighters and captured Batista soldiers. After General Batista flees Cuba on January 1st, 1959, Che becomes one of the key leaders of the new revolutionary government. He is also the most important representative of the Cuban Revolution internationally, heading numerous delegations and earning a reputation as a passionate and articulate spokesperson for Third World peoples.