Joseph Scherschel/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Published June 13, 2018
Published 2 months ago
It's no wonder that to this day, his iconic visage — the beard, the beret, the cigar, the intense gaze — is emblazoned on protest posters, on T-shirts, and in the hearts of would-be revolutionaries of every stripe and nationality: In his time, Ernesto "Che" Guevara was truly a man of the world. Born to a middle-class family in Argentina 90 years ago today (June 14) and educated in medicine, Guevara as a young man expanded his horizons through travels in Latin America and elsewhere, dedicating his life to liberating the poor and powerless he met along the way. Here, photos of the familiar Che (the Marxist, general, and economic adviser), plus the Che you might not know (as a husband, father, and clean-cut physician).
-/AFP/Getty ImagesCHE AND REBEL COMRADESPhotographed in Havana in 1959, near the end of the hard-fought Cuban Revolution to depose the dictatorial regime of Fulgencio Batista and establish socialist rule, 1959. (Also pictured at top left: Raul Castro, Fidel's brother and the recently retired leader of Cuba.)
Mondadori Portfolio/Mondadori via Getty ImagesWHERE THERE'S SMOKE...Classic Che Guevara, 1960s.Apic/RETIRED/Getty ImagesPORTRAIT OF THE REVOLUTIONARY AS A YOUNG MANBefore the beard, before the beret, before his own personal revolution: a portrait of Che Guevara circa 1950, when he was about 20 years old. That year, with his training as a doctor, he would embark on motorcycle journeys throughout poor and rural areas of Latin America that would forever alter his perspective and purpose.
Apic/RETIRED/Getty ImagesLOCKED UP IN MEXICOArgentinean-born Guevara spent a few of his early professional years in Mexico City, working as a doctor. While there, he'd meet student rebels who would inspire him to join their planned revolution in Cuba, including the Castro brothers. Pictured: Fidel (left) and Che at the Miguel Schultz jail, after their arrests following a raid on a guerrilla training camp.adoc-photos/Corbis via Getty ImagesRIDING A MULE, CIRCA 1960API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty ImagesA MAN OF LETTERS...Reading a biography of the German writer and statesman Goethe, 1957.
Alan Oxley/Getty Images...AND OF THE PEOPLEGuevara helps to build housing for the poor in Havana, 1962.Alan Oxley/Getty ImagesSWEAT EQUITY, 1962Bettmann/Bettmann ArchivePOWERFUL SPEAKERRepresenting Cuba at the Inter-American Economic and Social Conference, 1961.
Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty ImagesBROTHERS IN ARMSParading with Fidel Castro (far left) and then-Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticos Torrado, 1960.Bettmann/Bettmann ArchiveBAG MANPlaying first base at a game between army teams, 1964.Imagno/Getty ImagesTHE BEAUTIFUL GAMEChe with footballers, circa 1960.
Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty ImagesWORLD TRAVELSA warm welcome after landing in Beijing, 1960.Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesCUBA'S MINISTER OF INDUSTRYAt his desk, circa 1959.Imagno/Getty ImagesWITH HIS DAUGHTERGuevara was a father of five, including Aleida (in Fidel Castro's arms, circa 1963). "My father knew how to love, and that was the most beautiful feature of him – his capacity to love," Aleida Guevara, who grew up to be a doctor and Marxist like her father, told The Guardian in 2009. "To be a proper revolutionary, you have to be a romantic."
CBS Photo Archive/Getty ImagesON AMERICAN TELEVISIONWearing his military fatigues and smoking his ubiquitous cigar on "Face the Nation," 1964.Bettmann/Bettmann ArchiveIN BOLIVIAA revolutionary until the end, Guevara studies a map with the help of local men shortly before his capture and execution in 1967.AFP Contributor/AFP/Getty ImagesAT SEACrossing from Belgian Congo to Tanzania, 1965.
Popperfoto/Popperfoto/Getty ImagesRIGHT-HAND MANGuevara and other members of the rebel army after capturing the Cuban town of Fomento, 1958.PhotoQuest/Getty ImagesA SEAT AT THE TABLEIn Uruguay at 1961's Inter-American Economic and Social Conference, where most of the delegates promoted democracy as the way toward progress.Bettmann/Bettmann ArchiveON HONEYMOONGuevara and his second wife Aleida March, a member of Castro's army during the revolution and later a secretary to Che after the rebels' victory.
Bettmann/Bettmann ArchiveBODYGUARD IN THE BACK SEATullstein bild Dtl./ullstein bild via Getty ImagesMAN + MULE, CIRCA 1967Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesUBIQUITOUS CIGAR, 1959
Imagno/Getty ImagesPRESS CONFERENCE, 1955Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesA MAN OF INTERESTWith ABC News correspondent Lisa Howard, circa 1960.
Photo 12/UIG via Getty ImagesHIS PHILOSOPHY"I am not a liberator. Liberators do not exist. It exists when people liberate themselves." —Che Guevara, 1958