The Man That Drove Che Guevara – The Motorcycle Diaries Alberto Granado
Near the end of 1951, Che Guevara and Alberto Granado, six years older than the iconic revolutionary leader Guevara, left their homeland in Argentina on a motorcycle adventure to see more of their continent.
And now the man who packed Che Guevara along for the ride is gone.
Alberto Granado Jimenez was born in Hernando, Argentina, on August 8 1922. Granado’s father was a clerk for the railway system. When the military took power in 1930, Granado Sr. left Cordoba, where he and his three sons lived, resettling in Villa Constitucion. Young Alberto Granado stayed in Cordoba and was raised by his grandparents. In 1940, Granado began attending the city’s university and studied Chemistry and Biochemistry. It was during this period when Granado met Guevara, who had moved to Cordoba with his family.
Asked in an interview a few years back about his friendship and time on the road with “Che,” Granado said: “We hit it off well.” “When there was talk about politics, disease and what not, we almost always shared a similar view.”
In 1978 Granado published Con el Che por Sudameric, his take on the diary he had kept of his epic journey with Guevara.
Guevara’s book, by that time, had already become a bestseller.
Granado’s diary was translated into English in 2003 as Traveling with Che Guevara, and on that same year he was and advisor for the film The Motorcycle Diaries, which based on both books.
“This isn’t a tale of derring-do, nor is it merely some kind of ‘cynical account’; it isn’t meant to be, at least. It’s a chunk of two lives running parallel for a while, with common aspirations and similar dreams. In nine months a man can think a lot of thoughts, from the height of philosophical conjecture to the most abject longing for a bowl of soup – in perfect harmony with the state of his stomach.
And if, at the same time, he’s a bit of an adventurer, he could have experiences which might interest other people and his random account would read something like this diary.”
— Diary introduction
Guevara and the 29-year-old Granado set off from Buenos Aires, Argentina, astride a 1939 Norton 500 cc motorcycle they named La Poderosa II (“The Mighty One”) with the idea of spending a few weeks volunteering at the San Pablo Leper colony in Peru, but the trip ended up taking the pair through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and to Miami before they closed the circle and returned to Buenos Aires.
Cuban media said Granado’s body was taken to a funeral home in Havana and, in accordance with his wishes, his remains were cremated and the ashes spread across parts of Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela.
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