Motorcycle Diaries is a film based upon the diaries of Ernesto “Che” Guevara as he traveled through Latin America in the early 1950’s . The film specifically focused on Ernesto (Fuser) “Che” Guevara’s and Alberto Granado’s travels throughout Latin America, but especially Peru and their interaction with indigenous cultures throughout the area, most notably being the Peruvian Leper Colony in San Pablo where he noticed a stark difference in status between the physicians and clergy and the Lepers. It was the experiences gained during this journey that influenced Che’s beliefs that would be his driving force later in life. This is evident in the Drinot Article, which states “the poverty and injustice that [Che] observed struck a sensitive chord’ while he came ‘to identify United States imperialism as the source of the injustices and poverty that he observed in South America.” (Drinot, 90)
The focus of Guevara’s expedition was to have a fun adventure but the route let him experience the inequities present in the more rural areas when compared to a large city like Buenos Aires. His work in Peru as well as the speech made at his birthday party gave light to his political motivations. He said (in the film) “We believe, even more after this journey, that the separation of America in false and uncertain nationalities is completely fictitious. We are a single mixed race, from Mexico to the Strait of Magellan. So, trying to free myself from any nationality load I raise a toast for Peru and for America united—Cheers.” Immediately following this he swam across the large river (despite his asthma) to spend his final night in Peru with the San Pablo Leper Colony that he had been providing care for the last two weeks. The Drinot Article further goes on to postulate that he had the power to heal the lepers by treating them like humans and interacting with them in a less sterile but more humane manner, like people instead of captive animals. This description served to portray Che Guevara in a Christ-like manner, with the power to right societal wrongs and make the world a better place. When this is coupled with the analysis presented within the Elena Article which described Che Guevara’s interactions with the indigenous and rural populations, we see the genuine concern for the well-being of these lower-class people, but what is also evident is the the unavoidable ability to distinguish between classes by stage of development. This sort of unintentional classification of people is minor in the grand scheme of things but interested nonetheless as it is something he was actively seeking to put an end to, he wanted one race, one equal America.