Despite being one of Argentina’s most famous sons, Ernesto “Che” Guevara is little celebrated in his homeland, with nothing like the number of monuments and museums you might expect for such an international icon. This is no doubt at least in part due to Che fighting his battles elsewhere – primarily, of course, in Cuba, where he is idolized, but also in places like the Congo and Bolivia. It is hard to know whether Argentine authorities ignore his legacy because he was, well, anti-authoritarian, or whether they feel offended that he had the cheek to go and instigate revolution outside of la gran Argentina. Whatever his claims to supra-nationality may be, though, Che was certainly Argentine – a fact reflected even in his nickname (“che” being a common interjection, more or less meaning “hey”, and very characteristic of the River Plate region).

Che was born to a middle-class family in Rosario in 1928, and moved to Alta Gracia with his family at the age of 5, going to Deán Funes college in Córdoba before moving on to the Universidad de Buenos Aires to study medicine. Three years later, he set off on his famous motorbike trip around South America, during which he was exposed to the continent’s poverty and inequalities, as well as the cultural similarities that led him to believe in the need to foster a sense of regional rather than national identity. He did return to Buenos Aires to finish his studies, but a month after graduating he was back on the road, this time heading to Guatemala and a meeting with local radicals which eventually led him to Fidel Castro, Cuba and his status as one of the great revolutionary figures of the twentieth century.

Che, however, saw the Cuban revolution as just the first step in a continent-wide revolt against US control, and in 1965 he formally resigned his Cuban citizenship, ministerial position and rank of comandante, and left the country. After an unsuccessful spell leading a Cuban guerrilla contingent supporting rebels in the Congo, Che set off with a small band of supporters for Bolivia in 1966 with the aim of fomenting a revolution that would spread throughout the neighbouring states, including Argentina. Bolivia, however, proved to be an exceptionally poor choice; it was the only South American country to have carried out radical land reform, and as such the revolutionary potential of its peasants was fairly low.

Che’s group attracted little local support, and soon found itself on the run. On October 8, following a series of gun battles, he was captured by US-trained Bolivian soldiers, and the following day executed in the remote hamlet of La Higuera. According to legend, Che’s last words were: “Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.”

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Argentina features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Mendoza: 9 outdoor activities in Argentina's adventure capital

Mendoza: 9 outdoor activities in Argentina's adventure capital

Travellers on a tour of Argentina often zip through the city of Mendoza, pausing only long enough to down a glass of Malbec at the famed vineyards before rushin…

05 Sep 2018 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
On the trail of Bruce Chatwin in Patagonia

On the trail of Bruce Chatwin in Patagonia

Bruce Chatwin's In Patagonia has served as a bible for those travelling through South America since its publication 40 years ago. Four decades on, Stephen Kee…

08 Nov 2017 • Stephen Keeling insert_drive_file Article
Reaching new heights: what does it take to be a mountain guide?

Reaching new heights: what does it take to be a mountain guide?

For anyone who loves the outdoors, being a mountain guide might seem like the world’s coolest job – in both senses of the word. To find out what it’s rea…

08 Aug 2017 • Ros Walford local_activity Special feature
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs