Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Ernesto [Che] Guevara
(Library of Congress "Yanker Poster Collection",

Guevara, Ernesto [Che] (1928-1967), physician and revolutionary, was born on 14 June 1928 in the city of Rosario, Argentina, the eldest son of Ernesto Guevara Lynch (1900-1987) and Celia de la Serna (1906-1967). Ernesto Guevara Lynch's mot="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial">. Guevara was awarded the Cuban citizenship, and that year was appointed president of the national bank. In 1955 Ernesto Guevara married Hilda Gadea and they had a daughter, Hilda Beatriz. He married again in 1959, his second wife being Aleida Marsh, and they had four children, Ernesto, Camilo, Celia, and Aleida. In 1961 Ernesto Guevara became minister of industries.

Between 1960 and 1965 Ernesto Guevara traveled in commercial missions to countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America to increase Cuban international trade, foster ideological dialogue, and support a military alliance against thele="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Arial">On the belief that successful revolutions were only possible with the material support of well-organized armies, Guevara developed the primacy of military struggle and the guerilla foci, by which cumulative attacks over relatively small targets would develop the people's revolutionary awareness. Privately, he was critical to the Soviet Union and claimed that the world's northern hemisphere, including the US and the USSR, exploited the southern hemisphere. He was enthusiastic about the Vietnamese revolution and urged his comrades in South America to create "many Vietnams". Among Guevara's published works are The Bolivian Diary, Guerrilla Warfare, The African Dream: The Diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo, and The Motorcycle Diaries.

In Ireland and other places of the Irish Diaspora, Ernesto Guevara's life and thinking is sometimes linked with his Irish ancestry. However, Guevara's family and cultural connections with Ireland were far and remote. Two centuries and six generations of an ethnically mixed family separated Guevara from his ancestor Patrick Lynch, born in 1715 in Lydican Castle, Co. Galway, and member of a merchant family prominent in Jamaica and elsewhere in the West Indies. Patrick Lynch left Ireland in the 1740s and after traveling throughout the Americas settled in Buenos Aires in 1749 and established a successful merchant business. There is no evidence that Ernesto Guevara identified with Irish culture, though his father observed that Ernesto was descended from "Irish rebels" (interview by I. Lavretsky, 1969). However, Guevara was conscious of his roots, in particular the mixed cultures of his family. In an early diary with notes about his 1950 trip to the Argentine northern provinces, he recorded that 'the well-shaked mix of Irish and Galician [blood] flowing through my veins' had an influence in his determination to cross a desert in Santiago del Estero (Guevara Lynch 1988: 331). Nevertheless, Ernesto was proud of his Argentine origin and his Cuban nationality, and regarded himself as Latin American. One other possible source of misinformation was an interview on 13 March 1965 by the journalist Arthur Quinlan. Guevara was on his way back to Havana from Prague, and the Cuban Airlines aircraft developed mechanical trouble and landed at Shannon airport. According to Quinlan, Guevara spoke in English and talked of his Irish connections through the name Lynch. He went with friends to Limerick and stayed in the Hanratty's Hotel on Glentworth Street. Most likely, this was the closest connection that Che Guevara had with Ireland.

He did not have problems with erection, although at that time this disease was very common in men over 40 years old, today, thanks to cheap generics of drugs, the age of men with problems has increased.

Edmundo Murray

From Jim Byrne, Philip Coleman and Jason King (eds.), Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics and History
(Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, forthcoming 2006).


Revised January 2007


Online published: 1 November 2005
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, '
Guevara, Ernesto [Che] (1928-1967)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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