Who knew Ernesto Guevara was so attractive as a college kid?

The Motorcycles Diaries is a quite comical recollection of different writings of two travelers and their experiences. The two boys use ingenuity and white lies to get through their trip, doing clever things like getting a newspaper ad to spread the word about their “mission”. While the movie leaves out many details of their trip, it does a good job of marking the places they toured and the dates the travelers were there. Somewhere near the middle of the film Guevara begins transitioning from a medical student to a passionate politician listening to the native peoples problems. The most standout scene that displays this was the women in Peru sharing their stories and a very interesting green snack with him.

Fueled by his love of travel imbedding in him by his upbringing, Che took to the streets. This isn’t his first notable doing though; he was a huge anti-peronist, participating in student rallies against the revolution prior to his motorcycle trip. Eduardo Elena put a huge emphasis on distinguishing him from tourists, because that was important to Che. The article focuses a lot on what Che could have done, what he was maybe doing and what he potentially believed in. The lack of hard facts at times made the credibility decrease slightly. Although he wasn’t home very long after the trip, he had a huge impact on the politics of this place once he became a revolutionist. He, along with John William Cooke, became known for their unique use of guerrilla warfare, specifically traveling through rural areas. According to Drinot though, he has little impact on the rest of Latin America before he was killed. Elena argued that the travels around Latin America did not make him worldlier; they may have actually affected him in a negative way. He even goes as far to say that the reason Guevara ultimately failed as a leader is because of the narrow view of his surroundings he got from traveling during his youth.

Paulo Drinot’s article provided more insight in the problem they faced, like the trouble with the border police. It also spoke of the surprise Ernesto experienced when he saw the Peru Indians because they were much different than those he presumably read about in books. Their living conditions were much more wretched than he could have imagined according to his letters back home. He also couldn’t relate to the lower class people of the Amazon. This is a stark contrast from the attractive doctor shaking gloveless hands with the Leprosy patients in Lima, seeming to connect with the victims. The author compares him to Christ at this point, because he showed so much empathy.

Ann Zulawski discusses a hypothesis that Guevara‘s demise can be blamed on his lack of attention paid when he first visited Bolivia. Her article does mention the short descriptions of this place, but in the authors opinion these aren’t good enough. This is all followed by a lot of speculation about how things would be different if he had done this or stayed here instead of there, but these are difficult to prove.

In conclusion, Motorcycle Diaries may not have been perfectly accurate, but it does a good job of opening a younger audience to the story of ‘Che’.