Released in 2004, The Motorcycle Diaries is a film based on the journal entries of the Cuban revolutionist, Ernesto”Che” Guevara. The film begins with a 23 year old medical student Guevara deciding to take a cross continent, South American motorcycle journey with his friend Alberto Granado, a 29 year old biochemist. The trip begins in Guevara’s home town of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Throughout the long journey, Guevara begins to find himself and change his once well thought out ideals. Along the way he meets many impoverished people who have lost there jobs and been put down by Communism. The film makes it very clear that this journey allowed Ernesto Guevara to change his path of becoming a doctor, and instead become a leader and a revolutionist.

In the article, “Point of Departure: Travel and Nationalism in Ernesto Guevara’s Argentina” by Eduardo Elena, Elena makes a clear point that from each country that Guevara entered he encountered similar reoccurring problems within each country. It is written in the article, that Guevara found it impossible, yet despite his best efforts to escape the Peronist-era political trends (Eva and Jaun Perona ‘s government that pushed urbanization, rural migration, and popular tourism.) Guevara felt that he was a different kind of traveler, metaphorically and literally, stating that he was not the average tourist and by coming in contact with all kinds of people during is journey, he was gathering more and more insight, helping him to fuel and influence his leftist take on a revolution. 

In the article by Ann Zulawski, “The National Revolution and Bolivia in the 1950’s: What Did Che See?”, Ann writes that Bolivia was of a special interest to now “Che” Guevara, because the country was in a midst of a revolutionary transformation. Arriving in Bolivia in 1953, Che saw an opportunity to fight for the peasant and lower and middle class people. He felt the living conditions and labor conditions of the Bolivian people were intolerable and that the neglect by the Bolivian government and labor unions upon there own people and workers needed to be stopped. Zulawski explains in the article that when Che decided to return to Bolivia in 1966, there is no doubt he made some crucial mistakes that let to his downfall and ultimately his death. First, she states that he ignored the situation of the country being under military rule as well as the history of the working class which dated back to the 1930’s. Also that if he would have not left Bolivia in the 1950’s he would have had a greater chance of creating a counterrevolution, instead of waiting and returning ten plus years later. She explains that in 1953, Che recognized the power of the middle-class armed workers and how the MNR ( a group of organized middle-class university students who fought in the war) maneuvered to disarm them. If Che would have not ignored this when he returned in 1966, he would have been able to have more success.

The film The Motorcycle Diaries makes a clear depiction on how the the young Ernesto Guevara was changed and transformed into to the leader and revolutionist, “Che”. It was what he saw and encountered on the journey that helped him decide his destiny and recognize his calling. Overall, this film was very good and can help someone who knows little about Che Guevara, to grasp a starting point in the learning of such a popular and well known historical figure.