Che Guevara was a Marxist revolutionary known for his role in helping Fidel Castro overthrow dictatorial leader Fulgencio Batista and rise to power. Although he was Argentinian, Guevara sympathized with rebels who resented the widespread socioeconomic injustice in Cuba. He became Castro's trusted military adviser and aided him in devising effective guerrilla strategies. Guevara's status as hero is controversial, as he ordered the execution of more than 500 people while supervising La Cabaña prison.
Ernesto Guevara de la Serna was born into a well-to-do family in Argentina and earned a degree in medicine. During his studies, Guevara toured South America and witnessed severe poverty and inequality that later fueled his hatred of capitalism and interest in socialist politics. In the mid-1950s, Guevara met the exiled Fidel Castro in Mexico. He joined his rebel forces in the Sierra Maestra mountains in combat against the Cuban troops, earning him the title of commandant.
Under the Castro regime, Guevara was appointed head of the central bank and Minister of Industries, during which time he focused on establishing trade with the Soviet Union and disassociating with the United States. Guevara eventually left his post to spark rebel efforts in Africa and other parts of South America, but several failed attempts led to his capture and execution in Bolivia in October 1967.