“Che Guevara: originally Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (1928-1967) Theoretician and tactician of guerilla warfare and prominent figure in Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba (1956-59). Born to a middle-class family in Argentina, he completed medical studies in 1953 and subsequently traveled widely in Latin America, eventually settling in Guatemala. The overthrow of Guatemala’s President Jacobo Arbenz persuaded him that the U.S. would always oppose leftist governments and that only violent revolution would end the poverty of the Latin American masses. He left Guatemala for Mexico, where he met Castro and joined his cause. After the Cuban revolution he held several posts as one of Castro’s most trusted aides; handsome and charismatic, he served as one of the revolution’s most effective voices. He left Cuba in 1965 to organize guerilla fighters in the Congo and later Bolivia. Captured and shot by the Bolivian army, he immediately achieved international fame and the status of a martyred hero among leftists worldwide.”
Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.