5 – He Didn’t Have a Medical Degree
One of the famous stories surrounding Che is the fact that he initially traveled with Castro’s revolutionary army as a medic. In late November 1956, the men were attacked by Batista’s army and approximately 60 of Castro’s men killed or executed. According to legend, Che dropped his medical supplies and picked up a box of ammunition that had been dropped by one of his fleeing comrades. Whether or not this is true, Che soon showed that he was extremely capable with a weapon in his hands.
It is also suggested that he became Dr. Ernesto Guevara in June 1953 after completing his medical degree. According to writer Enrique Rios, it is extremely unlikely that Che ever completed his full medical education. Rios points out that Che somehow managed to pass 15 subjects (almost half of the total requirement) in three months without attending classes or practices throughout most of the year at the University of Bueno Aires’ School of Medicine.
Indeed, âDoctor’ Guevara would have needed to attend classes 25 hours a day for the 66 school days in October, November, and December 1952 to fulfill the academic requirements of the curriculum. When Rios contacted the School of Medicine and requested a copy of Che’s academic record, he was told that it had been stolen. Furthermore, there are no photos of his graduation, testimonies from fellow graduates or any other proof that he graduated.
Prior to his involvement in the Cuban Revolution, Che didn’t have a steady job and was dependent on his mother, sister, and other females to send him money, help him gain employment and settle his debts. Indeed, his future first wife, Hilda Gadea, even introduced him to some important government contacts in a bid to help him get a medical job.