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Ché (Ernesto) Guevara: 1928-1967: Revolutionary Leader

Motorcycled Through South America

Despite atypical political views, the family was in many ways typical of the country's upper-middle class, and it was expected that Guevara would attend college and pursue a career. Influenced by his struggle with chronic asthma and his grandmother's death from cancer, Guevara chose medicine as his profession. After graduating from high school with honors at the age of 19, he enrolled in medical school at the University of Buenos Aires. Restless and adventuresome, Guevara left his studies in 1952 to motorcycle and hitchhike across South America with his friend Alberto Granados, a biochemist.

The 24-year-old Guevara and his 29-year-old companion traveled through Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. The two funded their adventure by taking on odd jobs as truck drivers, porters, doctors, and dishwashers, and landed in jail at least twice. Guevara was deeply affected by the conditions of poverty, hunger, and disease that he saw across the continent. In San Pablo, Venezuela, he worked as a nurse in a leper colony, and there discovered the deep solidarity among the outcasts as well as the painful isolation of their existence.

Eventually Guevara decided to return to Argentina, vowing to return to work at Granados in the leprosarium after completing his medical studies. With no money for passage home, Guevara made his way home via Miami, Florida, after a relative offered to purchase an airline ticket for him. By October of 1952 Guevara was back at the university in Buenos Aires.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Bob Graham (1942-) Biography - Awards to Francis Hendy Biography - Born to SewChé (Ernesto) Guevara: 1928-1967: Revolutionary Leader Biography - Childhood Influences, Motorcycled Through South America, Introduced To Marxism, Fidel Castro And The Cuban Revolution