These travel diaries capture the essence and exuberance of the young legend, Che Guevara. In January 1952, Che set out from Buenos Aires to explore South America on an ancient Norton motorcycle. He encounters an extraordinary range of people -- from native Indians to copper miners, lepers and tourists -- experiencing hardships and adventures that informed much of his later life.
This expanded, new edition from Ocean Press, published with exclusive access to the Che Guevara Archives held in Havana, includes a preface by Che's daughter, Aleida Guevara. It also features previously unpublished photos (taken by Che on his travels), as well as new, unpublished parts of the diaries, poems and letters.
In January 2004, the film by the same name, The Motorcycle Diaries, will have its world premiere at the Sundance International Film Festival, in Park City, Utah. Directed by Walter Salles (Central Station, Behind the Sun), produced by Robert Redford and with a screenplay by José Rivera, the film stars the up-and-coming Mexican actor Gael García Bernal (Amores Perros, Y Tu Mamá También, The Crimes of Father Amaro).
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ERNESTO CHE GUEVARA: "The enormity of our endeavor escaped us in those moments; all we could see was the dust on the road ahead and ourselves on the bike, devouring kilometers in our flight northward."
The young Che Guevara’s lively and highly entertaining travel diary. This new, expanded edition features exclusive, unpublished photographs taken by the 23-year-old Ernesto on his journey across a continent, and a tender preface by Aleida Guevara offering a highly insightful perspective on her father – the man and the icon.
"A journey, a number of journeys. Ernesto Guevara in search of adventure, Ernesto Guevara in search of America, Ernesto Guevara in search of Che. On this journey of journeys, solitude found solidarity, ‘I’ turned into ‘we’." —Eduardo Galeano
"Our film is about a young man, Che, falling love with a continent and finding his place in it." – Walter Salles, Director of "The Motorcycle Diaries"About the Author:
ERNESTO CHE GUEVARA One of Time magazine’s "icons of the century," Ernesto Guevara de la Serna was born in Rosario, Argentina, on June 14, 1928. He made several trips around Latin America during and immediately after his studies at medical school in Buenos Aires, including his 1952 journey with Alberto Granado, on the unreliable Norton motorbike described in this travel diary.
He was already becoming involved in political activity and living in Guatemala when, in 1954, the elected government of Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown in a CIA-organized military operation.
Ernesto escaped to Mexico, profoundly radicalized.
Following up on a contact made in Guatemala, Guevara sought out the group of exiled Cuban revolutionaries in Mexico City. In July 1955, he met Fidel Castro and immediately enlisted in the guerrilla expedition to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. The Cubans nicknamed him "Che," a popular form of address in Argentina.
On November 25, 1956, Guevara set sail for Cuba aboard the yacht Granma as the doctor to the guerrilla group that began the revolutionary armed struggle in Cuba’s Sierra Maestra mountains. Within several months, he became the first Rebel Army commander, though he continued ministering medically to wounded guerrilla fighters and captured soldiers from Batista’s army. In September 1958, Guevara played a decisive role in the military defeat of Batista after he and Camilo Cienfuegos led separate guerrilla columns westward from the Sierra Maestra.
After Batista fled on January 1, 1959, Guevara became a key leader of the new revolutionary government, first as head of the Industrial Department of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform; then as president of the National Bank. In February 1961 he became minister of industry. He was also a central leader of the political organization that in 1965 became the Communist Party of Cuba.
Apart from these responsibilities, Guevara represented the Cuban revolutionary government around the world, heading numerous delegations and speaking at the United Nations and other international forums in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the socialist bloc countries. He earned a reputation as a passionate and articulate spokesperson for Third World peoples, most famously at the conference at Punta del Este in Uruguay, where he denounced U.S. President Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress.
As had been his intention since joining the Cuban revolutionary movement, Guevara left Cuba in April 1965, initially to lead a guerrilla mission to support the revolutionary struggle in the Congo. He returned to Cuba secretly in December 1965, to prepare another guerrilla force for Bolivia.
Arriving in Bolivia in November 1966, Guevara’s plan was to challenge that country’s military dictatorship and eventually to instigate a revolutionary movement that would extend throughout the continent of Latin America. He was wounded and captured by U.S.-trained and run Bolivian counterinsurgency troops on October 8, 1967. The following day he was murdered and his body hidden.
Che Guevara’s remains were finally discovered in 1997 and returned to Cuba. A memorial was built at Santa Clara in central Cuba, where he had won a major military battle during the revolutionary war.
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