Che Guevara (June 14th 1928 - October 9, 1967)By: Julianne Capati
Che Guevara is famously known for The Motorcycle Diaries that tell of his travels and depicts the change in his character. In October 1951, Ernesto "Che" Guevara and Albert Granado venture to North America. Guevara takes another trip to Latin America once he graduates as a doctor. He travels to Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Through this trip, his political views are shaped when he visits Guatemala after witnessing the overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz by U.S. backed forces. Che escaped to Mexico to contact a group of Cuban Revolutionary exiles. From this, Che meets Fidel Castro and joins the group. The group is ordered to wage a guerrilla war against the Batista dictatorship. In December 1958, he leads the Rebel Army to victory over Batista's forces at Santa Clara in central Cuba. After being declared an official Cuban citizen, Che traveled to the Soviet Union., the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, China and North Korea. He also denounces President Kennedy's Alliance for Progress. Che also took part in an international mission to the Congo to support the liberation movement founded by Patrice Lumumba. Through all of this, Che's whereabouts are unknown to Fidel Castro but is only confirmed when Che writes a farewell letter to Fidel Castro and the Cuban Communist Party (The Motorcycle Diaries). As spoken by Che, "I became aware, then, of a fundamental fact: To be a revolutionary doctor or to be a revolutionary at all, there must first be a revolution. The isolated effort of one man, regardless of its purity of ideals, is worthless. If one works alone in some isolated corner of Latin America because of a desire to sacrifice one's entire life to noble ideals, it makes no difference because one fights against adverse governments and social conditions that prevent progress. To be useful it is essential to make a revolution as we have done in Cuba, where the whole population mobilizes and learns to use arms and fight together. Cubans have learned how much value there is in a weapon and in the unity of the people. So today one has the right and the duty of being, above everything else, a revolutionary doctor, that is, a man who uses his professional knowledge to serve the Revolution and the people" (Spartacus Educational). Through Che's words, he is a man that understood revolution did not happen through one person. He organized the United Party of the Cuban Socialist Revolution in order to create the revolution he wanted in the world. Che's journey helped mold his ideals to be this revolutionary doctor to serve a revolution of his liking.
Guevara, Ernesto. The Motorcycle Diaries. New York: Ocean Press, 2008. Print.Ernesto Guevara. Spartacus Educational. Spartacus Educational, n.d. Web. 6 Jan. 2011.


Alberto Granada (1922-Present)
By: Natty Untiveros

Alberto Granada is the second main character in Che’s The Motorcycle Diaries. Grenada, a 29-year-old biochemist at the time, plays Che’s loyal companion and best friend through Che’s Guevera’s journey through South America. He is the author of his own book called Traveling with Che Guevara: The Making of a Revolutionary. The Motorcycle Diaries is a collection of entries by Che Guevara detailing their long and exhausting trip through South America. Their journey through South America began when they both climbed on La Poderosa (The Mighty One) and left Buenos Aires in January of 1952. Both Che and Alberto traveled a symbolic 9 months, covering 8000 miles of South America, including Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and to Miami, before returning home to Buenos Aires. In a Wikipedia article covering the plot and main ideas of the book, the journey of Granada and Guevara is interpreted through their experiences, many of which are described as being “transformed by witnessing the social injustices of exploited mine workers, persecuted communists, ostracized lepers, and the tattered descendants of a once-great Incan civilization” (Wikipedia). The diary entries in the book have helped Che Guevara to sell hundreds of copies, and have even helped his book make the top seller’s list numerously. In 2005, Alberto Granada met with BBC News Reporters for an interview where he spoke of Che Guevara, the journey across Latin America and any thoughts he might have had lingering ever since. The news article, titled My Best Friend Che, consists of Guevara’s thoughts and feelings towards his deceased best friend, Che Guevara. In the article, Granada tells the reporters, "What I appreciated most was his honesty - and his ability to transform negative things into positive things” (My Best Friend). Even after 50 years, Granada considers his journey with Guevara as an opportunity to “open their eyes to inequality” (My Best Friend). Granada spoke of the different paths the two friends took after their journey was over as Che picking “the road of liberation” (My Best Friend). After approximately 50 years of the book’s introduction to the United States, and the journey itself, Granada still holds Che Guevara, and his contributions to Latin America, very dearly close to him. The relationship Guevara and Granada shared before, during, and after the creation of The Motorcycle Diaries plays and important role in the foundation of the story and understanding Che Guevara’s thoughts and feelings throughout his journey to find equality.

“My Best Friend Che." BBC News: America. BBC News (2005). Web. 11 January 2011.

“Alberto Granada." Wikipedia: (2010). Web. 11 January 2011.

Caracas, VenezuelaMichelle Ruch
Caracas is the not only the capital of Venezuela, but the most populated city within the country. During the 1970s, as explained by the ‘Nations Encyclopedia’, Caracas experienced growth due to oil wealth. “Venezuela's manufacturing sector benefited and grew as a result of government policies pursued in the 1950s and especially in the 1970s, when the country's oil wealth was abundant” (Nations Encyclopedia). Since Venezuela had an outstanding amount of oil, they were able to give mining rights to several companies, which allowed for their profit to skyrocket. The profit that Venezuela earned from oil was invested into the manufacturing sector, which allowed for growth and modernization throughout the entire country. Within Caracas, according to The New World Encyclopedia, intense modernization took place during the 1960s and 1970s; “during the 1950s, Caracas began an intensive modernization program, which continued throughout the 1960s and early 1970s” (New World Encyclopedia). This modernization program included the building of The Universidad Central de Venezuela. New housing divisions for middle class families were built. Accompanying the new housing divisions and schools were high-rise building and freeways. As written by I-Explore, “the leader with the most influence on Caracas was the dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez, who used the tremendous influx of oil money in the 1950s to modernize the town with superhighways and high-rise buildings” (I-Explore). Pérez Jiménez did a tremendous amount of work to Caracas using the profit from oil abundance. He helped modernize it and make it more accessible to businesses and citizens by building freeways and skyscrapers. Much of the additions he made to Caracas remain today along with other additions that were made during the oil wealth boom of the 1950s- 1970s.

"Caracas Overview." iExplore. Web. 6 Jan. 2011.

"Caracas." New World Encyclopedia. Web. 6 Jan 2011.

"Venezuela." Encyclopedia of the Nations. Web. 6 Jan. 2011.