Castro and Guevara met in Mexico City in July 1955, one a young Cuban exile and the other an unknown Argentine doctor. The two immediately connected and spent over ten hours talking and sharing their revolutionary ideas that very evening. It was the beginning of an era-defining relationship as the two went on to lead the Cuban Revolution, overthrowing Fulgencio Batista in 1959.
Writing in his memoir about their first encounter, Guevara recalled: “I talked all night with Fidel.
“And in the morning I had become the doctor of his new expedition.
“To tell the truth, after my experience across Latin America I didn’t need much more to enlist for a revolution against a tyrant.
“But I was particularly impressed with Fidel. I shared his optimism.
“We needed to act, to struggle, to materialise our beliefs.
“Stop whining and fighting.”
Castro, it seems, was equally taken by his new friend.
During the Cuban Revolution, he described him as intelligent, daring and an exemplary leader who “had a great moral authority over his troops”.
However, he did confess worries about Guevara’s characteristics as he noted his habit of taking take too many risks, even claiming he had a “tendency towards foolhardiness”.
Nevertheless, their bond remained strong and went on to shape not only Cuba’s history but the world’s.
Following the Cuban Revolution, Guevara oversaw military tribunals, spearheaded the national literacy campaign and represented the country as a diplomat on behalf of Cuban socialism.
He was a key player in training the militia forces who repelled the Bay of Pigs invasion and brought Soviet nuclear missiles to the Caribbean, which preceded the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
Guevara was also a prolific writer and penned Guerrilla Warfare – which went on to be a seminal manual for revolutionary movements around the world.
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He left Cuba in 1965 to spearhead revolutions abroad.
In 1967, he was captured and executed by the CIA while assisting Guerrilla fighters in Bolivia.
He remains a hugely significant historical figure and a symbol of resistance against tyranny.
Castro’s regime, still strong today despite his death in 2016, continues to use Guevara’s martyrdom today.
The iconic photograph of Guevara in full Guerrilla attire became one of the most recognisable images of the 20th century.
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