Granado, Alberto 1922–
Granado, Alberto 1922–
(Alberto Granado Jimenez)
PERSONAL: Born 1922, in Hernando, Cordoba, Argentina; children: Aleida. Education: University of Cordoba.
ADDRESSES: Home—Cuba. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Newmarket Press, 18 E. 48th St., New York, NY 10017.
CAREER: Researcher at a leprosarium, Caravas, Venezuela, beginning 1952; University of Caracas, Caracas, Venezuela, School of Bioanalysis, reorganized department, c. 1958–61; worked at various Cuban universities after 1961; Santiago School of Medicine, Santiago, Cuba, founder; National Health Center for Stockbreeding and Farming, Cuba, consultant to Department of Genetics. Appeared in films Che: muerte de la utopia?, 1999; and (uncredited cameo) Diarios de motocicleta, 2004.
Con el Che por Sudamérica (diary), Editorial Letras Cubanas (Havana, Cuba), 1986, translation by Lucía Álvarez de Toledo published as Traveling with Che Guevara: The Making of a Revolutionary, Newmarket Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Con el Che Guevara: de Córdoba a la Habana, OP Oloop Ediciones (Cordoba, Argentina), 1995.
(As Alberto Granado Jimenez; with Jean Cormier and Hilda Guevara Gadea) Che Guevara, Editions du Rocher (Monaco), 1995.
ADAPTATIONS: Con el Che por America Latina was adapted into the film Diarios de motocicleta (The Motorcycle Diaries) by Jose Rivera, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Alberto Granado is best known for his friendship with legendary Argentinean revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, who fought in the Communist revolutions in Cuba and the Congo before being killed trying to foment another revolution in Bolivia. Guevara was famously converted to the Marxist cause during a trip he and Granado took together in 1952. Both Guevara and Granado kept diaries on this trip that were later published, Guevara's as The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin-American Journey and Granado's as Traveling with Che Guevara: The Making of a Revolutionary.
Granado and Guevara set out from their native Argentina on January 1, 1952, on an unreliable thirteen-year-old 500cc motorcycle they dubbed "La Poderosa"—"The Powerful." Over the next seven months they traveled through many of the countries of South America, including Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. The motorcycle lasted them for a mere two months; after that they hitchhiked or continued on foot. At first they were only looking to have a good time, but the more destitute villages they passed through, the more affected they were by the poverty that covered such a large portion of South America. Traveling with Che Guevara is "not a political polemic," Nancy Chrismer noted in Kliatt, but "the reader sees through Alberto's eyes the conditions and circumstances that later shaped the politics of both young men." In one pivotal episode, Granado and Guevara were struck by the sight of an entire village of miners, who worked in an American-owned mine, dying of silicosis, a lung disease caused by breathing in rock dust. In another, the two decided to spend a month working at a hospital for lepers in Peru. A Publishers Weekly contributor described Granado's description of these experiences as "the book's most moving sections."
Guevara was at that time a medical student; Granado had trained as a biochemist. By the time the two men arrived in Venezuela, Granado had abandoned his plan to return to his job in Argentina: he remained in Venezuela to work as a researcher in another hospital for patients with leprosy. Guevara, meanwhile, returned home to finish his studies, but not long after he graduated he became deeply involved in revolutionary activities. Granado's recounting of this journey makes for a "moving memoir," noted the Publishers Weekly critic, as well as "a detailed and sad portrait of poverty and corruption in 1950s South America."
Granado's account of their trip became known to a wider audience in 2004, when screenwriter José Rivera used Granado's diaries to create the screenplay for the film The Motorcycle Diaries; Granado also served as an advisor on the film. "The diaries were written for ourselves. Neither of us ever thought for a moment they would be published," Granado told an Independent interviewer in 2004. "The film shows what we were, which was two young men—boys, really—who went looking for adventure and found the truth and the tragedy of our homeland."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Guardian (Manchester, England), February 13, 2004, "My Ride with Che."
Independent, August 16, 2004, "Che and Me: On the Road to Revolution Again."
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2004, review of Traveling with Che Guevara: The Making of a Revolutionary, p. 725.
Kliatt, March, 2005, Nancy Chrismer, review of Traveling with Che Guevara, p. 41.
Library Journal, September 1, 2004, Boyd Childress, review of Traveling with Che Guevara, p. 162.
Internet Movie Database, http://www.imdb.com/ (May 27, 2005), "Alberto Granado."