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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          


On 20th December 1953 with the Beveraggi brothers and "Gualo" Garcia, Ernesto reached Guatemala. Here, he would experience his true political rite of passage. His days were filled with various occupations: politics, as he followed the outcome of the Guatemalan drama, his unsuccessful search for a job as a doctor or anything relating to his profession, his perennial struggle against illness and the beginning of his relationship with Peruvian Hilda Gadea who would become his first wife. Trying to improve his financial situation, he tried to find work as a doctor, but was frustrated by bureaucracy which didn?t allow foreigners to work in that profession. There he contacted Latin American exiles and met other Cubans who had been involved in revolutionary actions on July 26, 1953 in the island's eastern region. He intensified his political discussions as well as his relationship with Hilda. Che first mentioned Hilda in his letter to his mother date April 1954:


"She has a heart of platinum, to say the least. I feel her support in all the actions of my daily life, beginning with the rent."


Hilda helped Ernesto to increase his circle of friends. Through her he met Myrna Torres, daughter of a Nicaraguan exile, who introduced him to Antonio Lpez (ico), a young Cuban, one of the attackers against the Bayamo garrison in eastern Cuba on July 26 , 1953. The meeting took place in a house at 3 Escuintlia Street, and from then on, a great friendship developed between Ernesto and "ico" Lpez.


Much of Ernesto?s life in Guatemala revolved around Hilda; she took care of him, lent him books and talked endlessly with him about psychoanalysis, the Soviet Union, the Bolivian revolution and daily events in Guatemala. It was a period of political awakening. Indeed, Guatemala marked a crucial time in Che?s life and in the history of the entire region, inaugurating Cold War in Latin America. In 1954 Washington launched a policy of harassment toward the Arbenz regime and Ernesto Guevara declared his readiness to defend the Guatemalan government.

"No, I never held any position in that government. The US invasion took place, I tried to muster a group of young men like me to fight against the United Fruit adventurers. In Guatemala it was necessary to fight but hardly anybody fought. It was necessary to resist and hardly anybody wanted to do that."


26th June 1954 saw the toppling of the Jacobo Arbenz government and the situation became extremely difficult for Latin American exiles living in Guatemala. The great lesson for the young Argentine revolutionary was to be on the spot, experiencing the ruthless opposition USA showed to any attempt at social and economic reform in Latin America. He soon joined Guatemalan guerrilla led by Rolando Moran, although he did not help defend the regime, arms in hand. A few days after the president?s resignation, Ernesto requested asylum at the Argentine Embassy after a friend who worked there warned him that he was in danger. His activities were for the first time detected by the CIA. David Atlee Phillips, the CIA chief in Guatemala in those days recalls:


"A company gave me a sheet of paper a few days after the coup. It contained biographical information about an Argentinian doctor, age 25, who had requested asylym. I suppose we had better open a file, I said. Though his name meant little to me at the time, the file on Ernesto Guevara would one day be one of the thickest in the CIA."


When the things had quieted down at the end of August 1954, Ernesto made plans with Hilda to meet up in Mexico. By mid-September 1954 he arrived in Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City), the world capital of corruption, as he wrote to his aunt Beatriz.

<- Che in Peru First year in Mexico ->

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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