ERNESTO GUEVARA DE LA SERNA was born in Rosario, Argentina, on June 14, 1928. During his medical studies in Buenos Aires, he took a trip with his friend Alberto Granado on an old Norton motorcycle through all of Latin America, the basis for The Motorcycle Diaries. Living in Guatemala in 1954, he became involved in political activity there and was an eyewitness to the overthrow of the elected government in a CIA-organized military operation. Forced to leave Guatemala, Guevara went to Mexico City and linked up with exiled Cuban revolutionaries and met Fidel Castro in 1955. Guevara joined an expedition to Cuba that began in the Sierra Maestra mountains. He was originally the troop doctor and became Rebel Army commander in July 1957. Following the rebels' victory in 1959, Guevara became a key leader of the new revolutionary government. He began serving as head of the Department of Industry of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform; in November 1959 he became president of the National Bank; and in February 1961 he became minister of industry. He was also a central leader of the political organization that in 1965 became the Communist Party of Cuba.