Monday, March 7, 2011

Che Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries Partner Dies

THE travelling companion of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, one of the most famous Revolutionaries of all time, has died.

Alberto Granado, who was with Guevara on his famous motorcycle tour of South America in 1952, and immortalized in the Film "Motorcycle Diaries", died of natural causes in Cuba aged 88.

The pair's trip on a broken-down motorcycle they dubbed La Poderosa - The Powerful - turned Guevara, then a young doctor, into the socially conscious youngster who later became one of the most iconic revolutionaries of the 20th century.

Granado was born on August 8, 1922, in Cordoba, Argentina, and befriended Guevara as a child.

On their trip, the pair both kept diaries which documented their experiences of poverty across the continent, including stays in Chile and Peru.

They parted in Venezuela, where Granado stayed to work at a clinic treating leprosy patients. Guevara continued on to Miami, then returned to Buenos Aires to finish his studies.

Guevara would later join Fidel and Raul Castro as they sailed from exile in Mexico to Cuba aboard the yacht Granma in 1956. Their small band of rebels ultimately toppled dictator Fulgencio Batista on New Year's Day, 1959.

Granado visited Cuba at Guevara's invitation in 1960 and moved to Havana the following year with his family, teaching biochemistry at Havana University. He had lived in Cuba ever since, maintaining a low profile. One of his sons, also called Alberto Granado, is head of Cuba's Africa House, a centre in Havana that celebrates African culture.

In his authoritative biography of Guevara, Jon Lee Anderson wrote that Granado was "barely five feet tall and had a huge beaked nose, but he sported a barrel chest and a footballer's sturdy bowed legs; he also possessed a good sense of humour and a taste for wine, girls, literature and rugby".

According to Cuban television, Granado requested that his body be cremated and his ashes spread in Cuba, Argentina and Venezuela. Funeral arrangements were not announced.

Guevara was captured and killed by CIA paid soldiers in Bolivia in 1967 as he tried to foment revolution in the Andean nation.

Granado's diary - Travelling With Che Guevara: The Making Of A Revolutionary - was used with Guevara's own The Motorcycle Diaries for the screenplay for the 2004 film.

No comments: