The 'Intellectual Curiosity' and 'Mischievous Sense of Humor' of Murderous Che Guevara

From the obituary for violent Communist revolutionary Che Guevara's traveling companion, by reporter Victoria Burnett: "They became close friends, sharing an intellectual curiosity, a mischievous sense of humor and a restive desire to explore their continent."
Monday's obituary by Victoria Burnett celebrated the traveling companion of the guerilla leader and Communist murderer turned t-shirt icon Che Guevara in "Alberto Granado, 88, Friend of Che, Dies," and skipped over the facts about Guevara's violent life as a left-wing "revolutionary."

Alberto Granado Jiménez, the Argentine biochemist who accompanied the young Che Guevara on his formative odyssey across South America, died here on Saturday. He was 88.

Mr. Granado, who settled in Cuba in 1961, died of natural causes, according to Cuban state television. His ashes were to be scattered in Argentina, Cuba and Venezuela, a state newscast said.

Mr. Granado was born in the Argentine town of Hernando on Aug. 8, 1922. One of three sons of a Spanish émigré and railroad clerk, he studied biochemistry and pharmacology at the University of Córdoba.

It was in that city that he met Ernesto Guevara, an asthmatic teenager who was determined to play rugby with Mr. Granado's team. They became close friends, sharing an intellectual curiosity, a mischievous sense of humor and a restive desire to explore theircontinent.

Nowhere does Burnett mention Guevara's role as Castro's chief executioner from 1957-1959 or charming quotes like this, from "The Motorcycle Diaries," his memoir based on the travels of Guevara and Granado: "I feel my nostrils dilate, savoring the acrid smell of gunpowder and blood, of the enemy's death."

The travelers were moved and shocked by the poverty in which so many South Americans lived. Both men kept journals, which became the basis for Walter Salles's 2004 film, "The Motorcycle Diaries," starring Gael García Bernal as the 23-year-old Che and Rodrigo de la Serna as Mr. Granado. In a 2004 interview with The New York Times, Mr. Granado talked about how "Motorcycle Diaries," published in the early 1990s, had given rise to a new incarnation of Che, that of the romantic youth.

During a visit to Brazil, Mr. Granado said, young people wanted to talk not about politics but about how "two normal people, but dreamers and idealists, set out on an adventure and with optimism and impetuosity" achieved their goal.

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