Ernesto “Che” Guevara commonly known as El Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia in popular culture.
Very early on in life, Ernestito (as he was then called) developed an “affinity for the poor”. Growing up in a family with leftist leanings, Guevara was introduced to a wide spectrum of political perspectives even as a boy. Despite suffering crippling bouts of acute asthma that were to afflict him throughout his life, he excelled as an athlete, enjoying swimming, football, golf, and shooting; while also becoming an “untiring” cyclist.
In December 1964, Che Guevara had emerged as a “revolutionary statesman of world stature” and thus traveled to New York City as head of the Cuban delegation to speak at the United Nations. On December 11, 1964, during Guevara’s hour-long, impassioned address at the UN, he criticized the United Nations’ inability to confront the “brutal policy of apartheid” in South Africa, asking “Can the United Nations do nothing to stop this?”.
In 1966, he began to try to incite the people of Bolivia to rebel against their government, but had little success. With only a small guerrilla force to support his efforts, Guevara was captured and killed in La Higuera by the Bolivian army on October 9, 1967.
Since his death, Guevara has become a legendary political figure. His name is often equated with rebellion, revolution, and socialism.