Guevara was a fragile asthmatic, born to wealthy Argentineans who settled into a bohemian life. These political dissidents transmitted their fervor to their eldest son. By college, Guevara had embraced Marxism. He became a doctor, but was equally eager to heal the body politic. In 1953, Guevara moved to Guatemala and saw firsthand the power of American colonialism; United Fruit Company, backed by the government, had installed a literal banana republic to ensure unimpeded profits. Guevara fled, but his commitment to vanquish American-led puppet governments had been bolstered.

Guevara would soon join forces with Fidel Castro to overthrow the US supported government of Cuba’s Fulgencio Batista. When Castro took control of the tiny island on January 8, 1959, it was a jubilant time. What the authors sidestep is how quickly Castro became dictator and made Communism a yoke of the common man.

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