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El Che

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Guevara was born in Rosario, Argentina, the eldest of five children in a family of mixed Spanish, Basque[2] and Irish descent. The date of birth recorded on his birth certificate was June 14, 1928, although some sources assert that he was actually born on May 14, 1928 and his birth certificate was falsified to shield the family from a potential scandal resulting from his mother having been three months pregnant when she was married.

One of Guevara's forebears, Patrick Lynch, was born in Galway, Ireland in 1715. He left for Bilbao, Spain, and traveled from there to Argentina. Francisco Lynch (Guevara's great-grandfather) was born in 1817, and Ana Lynch (his beloved grandmother) in 1861. Her son Ernesto Guevara Lynch (Guevara's father) was born in 1900. Guevara Lynch married Celia de la Serna y Llosa in 1927 and they had five children.

In this upper class family with leftist leanings, Guevara became known for his dynamic and radical perspective even as a boy. Though suffering from crippling bouts of asthma that were to afflict him throughout his life, he excelled as an athlete. He was an avid rugby player despite his handicap, and earned the nickname "Fuser"[3] for his aggressive style of play. In 1948, he entered the University of Buenos Aires to study medicine. There, after some interruptions, he completed his medical studies in March of 1953.

While a student, Guevara spent a long time traveling around Latin America. In 1951, Guevara's older friend, Alberto Granado, a biochemist and a political radical, suggested that Guevara take a year off from his medical studies to embark on a trip they had talked about for years, traversing South America. Guevara and the 29-year-old Alberto soon set off from their hometown of Alta Gracia, riding a 1939 Norton 500 cc motorcycle nicknamed La Poderosa II meaning "the mighty one", with the idea of spending a few weeks volunteering at the San Pablo leper colony in Peru on the banks of the Amazon River. Guevara narrated this journey in The Motorcycle Diaries, translated in 1996 and turned into a motion picture of the same name in 2004.

Through his first-hand observations of the severe poverty, oppression, and powerlessness of the masses, Guevara decided that the only remedy for Latin America's economic and social inequities lay in revolution. His travels also inspired him to look upon Latin America not as a collection of separate nations, but as a single cultural and economic entity whose liberation would require an intercontinental strategy. He began to develop his concept of a united Ibero-America without borders, bound together by a common 'mestizo' culture, an idea that would figure prominently in his later revolutionary activities. Upon his return to Argentina, he completed his medical studies as quickly as he could, in order to continue his travels around South and Central America.

The University of Buenos Aires has records of his attendance, but claims to have lost the proof of his doctorate. (Enrique Ros, Che; Mito y Realidad. Ediciones Universal. Miami, 2002)

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Guatemala

Following his graduation from medical school in 1953, Guevara went on to Guatemala, where President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmбn headed a populist government that was attempting to bring about a social revolution through various reforms, particularly land reform. Around this time, Guevara also acquired his famous nickname, "Che", due to his frequent use of the rioplatense word che (pronounced /tʃe/), which is a general interjection meaning approximately "Hey!" or "Well..." The word is quite common in Argentina, but not common in Central American Spanish, so Guevara's frequent use of the word there seemed somewhat odd to his friends and stuck to him as a nickname.

The overthrow of the Arbenz government by a 1954 CIA-backed coup d'йtat cemented Guevara's view of the United States as an imperialist power that would consistently oppose governments attempting to address the socioeconomic inequality endemic to Latin America and other developing countries. This helped strengthen his conviction that socialism was the only true way to remedy such problems. Following the coup, Guevara volunteered to fight, but Arbenz told his foreign supporters to leave the country, and Guevara briefly took refuge in the Argentine consulate before moving on to Mexico.

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Cuba

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Guerrilla fighter

After the battle of Santa Clara (January 1, 1959)

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After the battle of Santa Clara

(January 1, 1959)

Guevara met Fidel Castro and Fidel's brother Raъl in Mexico City, where the two sought refuge after having been jailed, pardoned and exiled from Cuba. The Castro brothers were preparing to return to Cuba with an expeditionary force in an attempt to overthrow General Fulgencio Batista, who had assumed dictatorial powers following a coup d'йtat before the 1952 presidential elections. Guevara joined the "26th of July Movement", named in commemoration of the date of the failed attack on the Moncada barracks that was the cause of Castro's exile.

Castro, Guevara, and 80 other guerrillas departed from Tuxpan, Veracruz aboard the cabin cruiser Granma on November 25, 1956. Guevara was the only non-Cuban aboard. Their landing in Cuba was planned to coincide with an uprising in Santiago de Cuba on November 30th, but the Granma was delayed at sea and the uprising was put down. Castro's expeditionary unit was blown off course and attacked by Batista's forces shortly after disembarking in a swampy area near Niquero in southeastern Cuba on December 2nd. Only 12-17 rebels survived as a viable fighting force, and that was only because of help from local supporters such as Huber Matos, Celia Sanchez, and the Bandit Cresencio Perez. Guevara, the group's physician, self reports that

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