Life of Che Guevara Early Years

Life of Che Guevara Early Years


That Ernesto was born in Rosario instead of Misiones, where his parents l ived, was sort of a fluke. Ernesto and Celia had started out for Buenos Aires several days earlier, but since Celia was not feel ing well, they decided to stay in Rosario at 480 Entre Ríos Street. Several days after the unexpected birth in Rosario, Ernesto's parents returned with their newborn son to their mate plantat ion in Misiones, Port Caraguatay, near the borders of Brazil and Paraguay.

At the age of two, during a rather cool day with his parents at the San Isidro Nautical Club, Ernestito - as he was then called to differentiate him from his father - had his first asthma attack. For the next several years, Ernesto's parents moved to different places in Argentina searching for a climate that would attenuate the frequent asthma crises the small child suffered. This disease would continue to haunt him all his l ife, but never became a true obstacle to his endeavours.

Life of Che Guevara Early YearsThe family first lived in Buenos Aires and then moved to Alta Gracia in the province of Cordoba. His asthma bouts, which worsened in 1931 after navigating with his parents along the Paraná River, became more frequent. Because of his asthma, Ernesto (or Teté as he was called by his nanny Carmen Arias) did not start school at the age most children do and was at first home schooled by his mother, even with the birth of his brother, Roberto, in 1931.

One of Ernestito's first letters was sent to his Aunt Beatriz on January 22, 1933.

"Dear Beatriz, the surprise is that I can swim, precisely on your birthday I learned how to swim.

Kisses from Ernestico

His mother also began teaching him French, again despite the birth of his second sibling, Ana Maria, (born January 28th, 1934).

The growing family went on excursions in the hills near Alta Gracia where Ernesto began his lifelong love for the countryside, nature and animals. He began school in second grade at José de San Martín School in Alta Gracia.

Soon after Ernesto turned eight, Spanish Republicans began fighting the aggression of the fascists and General Franco. The events in Spain awakened the interest of the Guevara family and that of their friends. The involvement of his uncle-in-law, Cayetano Córdoba Iturburu, as a war correspondent exerted a special influence on the young boy. His father, a staunch supporter of Republicans in the Spanish Civil War, often hosted Ernesto "Che" Guevara de la Serna was born to Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna y Llosa, a middle-class family of Spanish-Irish descent, on June 14, 1928 in the city of Rosario, Argentina. Life of Che Guevara Part 1 of a four-part series - Early Years 16 many veterans from the conflict in the Guevara home.

Young Ernesto used to listen attentively to talks on the development of the civil war in Spain and even put small flags on a map to follow developments in the war. In his games with other children in the backyard of the Guevara home, Ernesto emulated the actions of Spanish patriots. The children dug foxholes and cried "Onward militia! Long live the Spanish Republ ic!" in imaginary battles.

Although he continued to l ive in Alta Gracia, Ernesto was enrolled in the Dean Funes National School in Cordoba; a very l iberal school where discrimination was not permitted. He commuted over 35 kilometres daily from Alta Gracia to Cordoba until the family moved there. At that school he met Tomás, Alberto and Gregorio Granado and Gustavo Roca and continued his passion for reading developed when confined to bed with bouts of asthma. He read Sigmund Freud, Pablo Neruda, Horacio Quiroga, José Ingenieros, Anatole France, Jack London, Carlos Gustavo Jung, Alfredo Adler and even a version of Karl Marx' Capital.

When he turned fourteen, Ernesto obtained his father's permission for him and his younger brother, Roberto, to work in the grape harvest at a nearby vineyard during the holidays. There Ernesto learned of the abuse suffered by the workers. However, the brothers were only able to harvest for several days because Ernesto had to return home due to continuous asthma attacks. He had to argue with the farm owner who refused to pay them their wages for the days worked, alleging the youngsters had not honoured their commitment to work all the days planned.

Ernesto excelled as an athlete, part icipat ing in swimming, soccer, golf, and shooting. He was an avid rugby union player, and played at fly-half (crucial position for a team's game plan) for the University of Buenos Aires First XV. His rugby playing earned him the nickname "Fuser" - a contraction of El Furibundo (raging) and his mother's surname, de la Serna- for his aggressive playing style.

In 1947, his paternal grandmother, Ana Isabela Lynch, fell terminally ill and Ernesto immediately left for Buenos Aires. He spent 17 days by her side. After witnessing her grandmother's agony and death, he decided not to continue studying engineering, begun a year earlier, and instead enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Buenos Aires (record #59345).

The family moved to the Argentine capital and lived in the home formerly occupied by Ernesto's grandmother on Arenales and Uriburu Streets. The medical student studied between 12 and 14 hours a day at the library in order to finish his studies early. He attained this the following year when he passed all his first year subjects in May, and in June, those of the second year, and by December, he finished the third year.


"... And when I took my first steps to become a doctor, when I began studying medicine, most of the concepts I now have as a revolutionary were absent from the storehouse of my ideas. I wanted to be successful, l ike everybody else; I dreamed of being a famous researcher; I dreamed of working tirelessly to achieve something that, ultimately, would not be made available to the whole of mankind, but at that moment it would have been a personal victory. I was, as we all are, a child of my milieu ..."