WHEN FIDEL MET CHE
After their release from prison in 1955, Fidel Castro and his brother Raúl travelled to Mexico. There they made the acquaintance of a young Argentinian doctor by the name of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.
Fidel and Che’s connection was instant. Despite their respectable occupations (Castro was a lawyer, Guevara a doctor), they shared a commitment to revolutionary ideals. At that first meeting, they talked for ten hours through the night. “I didn’t need much to enlist for a revolution against a tyrant,” Guevara later wrote. “I was particularly impressed with Fidel. I shared his optimism. We needed to act, to struggle, to materialise our beliefs. Stop whining and fight.”
Guevara had travelled extensively around Latin America, seeing at first hand the poor economic conditions of the region, which he attributed to heavy US interference and exploitation. Cuba represented the perfect cause, where a US-backed dictator could be overthrown and an example made to the rest of the region. Over the subsequent weeks and months, the pair became a formidable partnership, meeting in the cafés of Mexico City to plot the path to revolution, fuelled by strong coffee and engulfed in cigar smoke.