Front Door to Cuba

Che Guevara Timeline


June 14. Ernesto Guevara is born in Rosario, Argentina, to Ernesto Guevara Lynch and Celia de la Serna.


Ernesto attends medical school in Buenos Aires.


Jan-July. Guevara visits Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. In Peru, he works at a leper colony treating patients. His diary of this trip later becomes a best-selling book and the 2004 movie Motorcycle Diaries.


March. Graduates as a doctor.

December. While in San Jose, Costa Rica, Guevara meets with survivors of the Moncada attack.

December 24. Arrives in Guatemala (then under the government of Jacobo Arbenz).


January 4. In Guatemala City, Guevara meets Cuban Ñico López, a veteran of the Moncada attack.

January-June. Unable to find a medical position in Guatemala, Guevara takes on a series of odd jobs. He begins to study Marxism, and becomes involved in various political activities through which he meets Cuban revolutionaries.

June 17. CIA-backed mercenary forces invade Guatemala.

June 27. Arbenz resigns.

September 21. Guevara arrives in Mexico City.


May 15. In Cuba, Castro and other Moncada prisoners are freed from prison.

June. In Mexico City, Ñico López arranges for Guevara to meet Raúl Castro.

July 7. Fidel Castro arrives in Mexico.

July. Fidel Castro and Guevara meet. That night Guevara joins the revolutionary effort.

November 25. From Tuxpan, Mexico, 82 men leave for Cuba on the yacht "Granma."

December 2. The "Granma" reaches a beach called Las Coloradas in Cuba's Oriente province. The rebels are attacked by Batista's troops and must disperse into the woods. Many men are killed, and Guevara is wounded.

December 21. Fidel Castro's and Guevara's group reunite. Of the 82 men invasion force there are only 15 fighters left.


August 31. Guevara leads his troops from the Sierra Maestra toward Las Villas Province (in Central Cuba). He later joins the March 13 Revolutionary Directorate in signing the Pedrero Pact, and continues moving his troops westward.

October 16.Guevara and his troops arrive at the Escambray mountains.

December. Guevara's column again joins the March 13 Revolutionary Directorate and a small guerilla troop of the Popular Socialist Party to capture a number of towns in Las Villas Province (effectively dividing the island in half).


Portrait of Guevara

January 1. At about 2 a.m., Batista, his family, and closest associates, board a plane at Camp Columbia, and leave the island. Revolutionary forces take control of Havana.

January 2. Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos arrive in Havana.

February 9. Guevara is declared a Cuban citizen.

October 7. Guevara is appointed head of the Department of Industry of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA).

November 26. Guevara is appointed to the National Bank of Cuba as President.


March. Guevara meets with Tamara Bunke (Tania) to discuss her move to Bolivia in anticipation of a future guerilla expedition.

December 9. Guevara travels to New York to speak at the United Nations, and then embarks on a 3-month visit to Africa.


March 14. Guevara returns to Cuba and drops out of public view.

April 1. Guevara delivers a farewell letter to Castro. He leaves Cuba to visit the Congo (now Zaire) using the name Tatú (Swahili for "number two") to hide his true identity.

October 3. Castro reads Che's farewell letter at a meeting to introduce the Central Committee of the newly formed Communist Party of Cuba.


March. The first Cuban soldiers begin to arrive in Bolivia.

July. Guevara meets with a group of volunteer fighters (in a training camp in Pinar del Rio) to discuss the mission in Bolivia.

November 4. Using a fake name and passport, Guevara arrives in Bolivia.

November 7. Guevara arrives at the rebel camp in Bolivia and makes the first entry into his Bolivian diary.

November - December. More guerrilla fighters arrive at the rebel camp.

December 31. Guevara meets with Bolivian Communist Party Secretary Mario Monje. The two men disagree on details of the upcoming guerilla expedition.


February 1 - March 20. Guerillas leave camp to explore the region.

March 23. First battle for Che's column is successful.

April 10. Guevara successfully ambushes Bolivian troops.

April 16. Guevara's Message to the Tricontinental is published. It calls for "two, three, many Vietnams."

A Look at Che Guevara | Landing of the Granma | Guevara's Farewell Letter to Castro | Castro Speaks About Che