From Guatemala to Mexico


Following his graduation from the University of Buenos Aires medical school in 1953, Guevara traveled through Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador, finally ending up in Guatemala where President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán headed a populist government that, through various reforms, particularly land reform, was attempting to bring about a social revolution. According to Jon Anderson, Guevara's main political contact in Guatemala was the Peruvian socialist Hilda Gadea, who introduced him to high-level politicians in the Arbenz government. Hilda was a member of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA), a political movement led by Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre. Meanwhile, the CIA-sponsored coup attempt led by Carlos Castillo Armas had begun. Guevara joined an armed militia organized by the Communist Youth for several days, but soon returned to medical duties. Following the coup Guevara volunteered to fight, but Arbenz told his foreign supporters to leave the country, and after Hilda was arrested, he briefly took refuge in the Argentine consulate and then moved on to Mexico. The overthrow of the Arbenz government by a coup d'état backed by the Central Intelligence Agency cemented Guevara's view of the United States as an imperialist power that would consistently oppose governments attempting to address the socioeconomic inequality endemic to Latin America and other developing countries. This helped strengthen his conviction that socialism achieved through armed struggle and defended by an armed populace was the only way to rectify such problems.

In Guatemala, 1954

In La-Pas, Bolivia, 1954


In Mexico Ernesto found a part –time job at local hospital, which was however, not a money job- Ernesto, was allowed to sleep in hospital in return for his work there (as he had no permanent lodging). The rest of the day Ernesto was working as a street photographer, rushing all over Mexico in attempts to earn few more peco.
At one time he was working as a photographer and commenter in a sport newspaper; however, after the months of hard work he received no payment. The need for cash forced Ernesto sell booklets and newspapers on the streets.
His leisure time he was spending in conversations with Hilda. During the same period Ernesto started writing his work on medicine and conducted a number of medical researches.