Che Guevara’s image has long been appropriated to sell products. And now, the youngest son of the Cuban revolutionary is promoting Motorcycle Diaries-style tours.
Ernesto Guevara has opened a travel agency in Cuba that offers tours that reflect his father’s passion for motorbikes, something that was celebrated in the 2004 film Motorcycle Diaries. A six-day tour begins at $3,000 (£1,900) while a nine-day tour can cost as much as $5,800, depending on the choice of accommodation. The price does not include flights. The average monthly salary in Cuba, meanwhile, is around $20.
“[Ernesto Guevara] inherited from his father the passion for motorcycles which enables him to travel his country and to know it as few [others],” reads the website of La Poderosa Tours.
It adds: “Proud of his people, he has always longed to share the experience of enjoying the beauties of his country with friends and the brotherhood of motorists visiting the island. Ernesto will fulfil your dreams but also [develop] his.”
Between 1950 and 1951, when he was still enrolled as a student at the University of Buenos Aires, Che Guevara made two lengthy motorbike journeys through South America, accompanied by his boyhood friend, Alberto Granado. Together they covered more than 5,000 miles. The encounters they had with impoverished workers in countries such as Chile, Peru and Ecuador made a dramatic impression on the young Argentinian, then aged just 23, from a solid, middle-class background.
The motorbike that powered the two friends on their journey, a British-made Norton, was nicknamed La Poderosa, or the Mighty One, by Guevara. His son has used that name for his recently opened travel company. Tourists who sign up for the tours will travel not on Nortons but on Harley-Davidsons, the company’s website says.
The AFP news agency said Mr Guevara, 47, works as a lawyer. He has opened the travel company with his childhood friend Camilo Sanchez, the son of the Cuban guerrilla Antonio Sanchez Diaz, also known as “Marcos”. He was killed in a battle in 1967.
Mr Guevara’s mother Aleida March was the revolutionary leader’s second wife.
“We will make your trip a unique experience, an unforgettable memoir. We will personally take care of every detail during your journey,” says the site.
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The tour company goes to some lengths to emphasise its revolutionary roots. The tour also includes a visit to Guevara base in colonial Havana and a trip to Santa Clara, a city to the east of Havana that was the site of a crucial 1958 battle.
Guevara was captured by the Bolivian military and executed on 9 October 1967. His remains were recovered in 1997 and transferred to Cuba, where they are buried in a war memorial in Santa Clara.
The 2004 film, directed by Brazil’s Walter Salles and starring the Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, was based on Guevara’s own handwritten notes of the journey.