There are many things that make Che Guevara an interesting and remarkable part of both Cuban culture and world history. He is undeniably one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century. It is to be expected that such a controversial and complicated personality would leave behind a trail of interesting tidbits. Are you curious to learn the details about this revolutionary's life that are often left off the pages of history books? Discover 10 surprising facts about the life of Che Guevara.
He Wasn't Cuban by Birth
While Che Guevara is most closely associated with the Cuban Revolution, he isn't actually a Cuban native. Guevara was born to an aristocratic family in Argentina. It wasn't until he set out on a motorcycle journey through Latin America that he became interested in Cuba's politics.
He Was a Dad
The image of a father doesn't exactly spring to mind when we see Che Guevara's defiant image splashed across shirts, posters and book pages. However, the controversial revolutionary was actually a father of five. His children were all born between 1956 and 1965. Four of his children are still alive today.
He Studied Medicine
Che Guevara may have gone on to be a great physician if he hadn't taken an interest in Latin American politics. He studied medicine at the University of Buenos Aires before leaving school to travel on his motorcycle.
His Face Is on Money
Guevara remains a national hero in Cuba, where his image adorns the 3 peso banknote.
He Was a Banker
It can be hard for many people to think of Che Guevara sitting down at a desk to crunch numbers. The fact is that Guevara technically worked in the financial world after he was given the role of Finance Minister and appointed as the head of the National Bank of Cuba.
His Images are on Stamps
Che Guevara's image is viewed as everything from an inspirational icon of revolution, to a retro and vintage logo. His photos are on the stamps of Russia, Argentina, and Cuba.
He Tried to Bring the Revolution to More Countries
Guevara wasn't content to merely finish a revolution in Cuba. He was determined to spread his ideals around the world. He tried to use the same tactics that won him victory in Cuba in both Bolivia and the Congo. However, cultural differences and a lack of interest made both attempts unsuccessful in the long run.
He Saw the World
While Guevara is known for traveling throughout Latin America, he was also quite a serious world traveler in the last years of his life. Guevara traveled to Japan, India, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Thailand, Yugoslavia, Morocco, Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma for diplomatic purposes following the Cuban Revolution. He was often asked to speak and give lectures on everything from revolutions to medicine.
He Wore a Rolex Watch
It might come as a surprise to many that the man who famously loathed capitalism actually owned a very impressive watch. Guevara was known to keep his favorite Rolex GMT Master wristwatch on his wrist at all times. Members of the press often snapped photos of him wearing his beloved watch.
The United States Wanted Him Alive
Che Guevara was constantly on the radar of the United States and the CIA. However, the American government would have preferred to interrogate him rather than kill him. Declassified records show that United States President Lyndon B. Johnson believed that Bolivia's decision to execute him was stupid.
His Hands Were Amputated After His Death
Bolivian officials needed to prove to the public that they had truly killed Guevara following his execution. Bolivian military doctors amputated his hands and preserved them in formaldehyde before sending them to Buenos Aires for fingerprint identification.
His Remains Were a Source of Mystery for Decades
A retired Bolivian general finally revealed the location of Guevara's remains in 1995. Several countries worked together for two years to use the information provided by the general to find the revolutionary's remains in a mass grave. A team of Cuban geologists and Argentine forensic anthropologists were able to successfully identify Guevara's remains using a plaster mold of his teeth that had been made during his time in Cuba. Guevara's remains were finally laid to rest with military honors inside a mausoleum in Santa Clara, Cuba.