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companero che .com - the truth about Ernesto Che Guevara
Argentina South America Mexico Cuba Soviet Union Africa Bolivia
  - Bolivia          
  - Peru          

- Guatemala          


In July 1953 Ernesto left for La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, on a train from the General Belgrano train station in Buenos Aires with his friend Carlos Ferrer Moratel (Calica).It was a 6,000 kilometer long trip. He was wearing fatigues and carried a knapsack. As he walked towards the moving train quite briskly, he turned round to his relatives, who had gone to see him off, and raised the arm with the knapsack and cried: "Here goes a soldier of the Americas!".


"After graduation, due to special circumstances and perhaps, also because of my character, I started to travel the American continent and got to know it all.With the exception of Haiti and Santo Domingo, I've visited all the countries, in some way.And, given the conditions of my travels, first as a student and later as a doctor, I gradually got into close contact with poverty, hunger, diseases, the impossibility to cure a son for lack of doctors, the dehumanizing effect of hunger and continuous punishment to the extent that for a parent, the loss of a child is an unimportant accident, as is often the case with the oppressed classes in our American homeland.And I started to see things that in that time they seemed to me more important than being a famous reseacher or making a substantial contribution to the medical science: this thing was to help these people".


On 11th July 1953 Ernesto and his friend Carlos Ferrer got to La Paz. A little over a year before, there had been a nationalistic revolution in Bolivia. However, the process gradually lost momentum over time. They spent five weeks there. His friend Carlos Ferrer believed that Ernesto?s political coming out of age occurred in Bolivia, together with the development of a powerful anti-American anger. The latter stemmed especially from a visit they undertook to a mine in the mountains outside La Paz, where they witnessed the abuses committed by US supervisors against the local workers. After experiencing this and other sights of injustice Ernesto became irritated by the Bolivian revolution, although he realized its positive aspects as the agrarian reform and the nationalization of the tin and antimony mines. In a letter to Tita Infante dated in Lima in early September he noted:

"Bolivia is a country which has given a really important example to America?Here revolutions are not done as they are in Buenos Aires? the government is supported by the armed people so there is no possibility of its being overthrown by an armed movement from abroad; it can only succumb to its own internal struggles."


He was also angered by governments treatment of native Indians and it stemmed from one incident. Two travelers were in a hall of Ministry of Campesino affairs, waiting for a meeting with minister Nuflo Chafles, along with a group of Indians. As the Indians waited to be received a ministry employee passed among them, spaying them with DDT, a powerful insecticide. Ernesto was naturally horrified and complained to the minister whose response was indifferent.


He did talk at great length with the thinkers and politicians involved in the vast reform movement and devoted long hours to conversation, discussion and learning in the bars and cafes. This was his first genuine experience of the complex and contradictory world of politics, whether traditional or revolutionary. The distortion of the life he experienced on the streets and what the topics of the conversations angered young Ernesto.


A short time later, being disenchanted with what they had seen in La Paz, two friends decided to leave for Peru.

<- Che's adulthood Che in Peru ->

A detailed chronology of Che's life you can find
in this book "A Brave Man" on Cuba Directo website


©2008 Nigel Hunt - All Rights Reserved.

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