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Q & A with Ernesto Guevara

Exclusive Interview by Karen Beishuizen

Ernesto Guevara is the son of Che Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary. He runs a motorcycle touring company in Havana, Cuba. It is called La Poderosa like the motorcycle in the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries”. His tours are for groups and individuals and all sights of Cuba will be shown. Go check it out when you are on the island.

KB: Your last name is world famous as the whole world seems to know your dad. Is it a burden? You have taken up your mother’s last name as well: March.

I have always been proud of my father’s story and our last name. Of course, it is a weight to carry but I wouldn’t change it. As for my mother’s last name: it is common practice in Cuba and Latin America for people to have two last names. Their father and mother’s.

KB: You were 2 years old when your dad died: What do you remember of him?

Unfortunately, I was only two years old, therefore I don’t have any memories of him. I do not remember either when I started looking into his life. I just grew up with it. Our mother has been a mother and a father to us and made sure to keep his present in our everyday lives. I admire my father for many things but mostly because he was a truly sincere human being and acted according to his beliefs.

KB: When you do your motorcycle tours, what are you showing your customers?

We show our riders/brothers, that’s what we call them because being a rider is belonging to the same family/culture, our Cuba through our eyes. We try to make the most out of their visit and put them in touch with Cuban people and their everyday life and customs. We are not only showing them nice landscapes or historical monuments.

KB: Where is your passion for motorcycles coming from? When did it start?

It started from a very early age, ant it was not only a passion for motorcycles, but it is also a passion for cars, motorcycles and mechanics. How they work etc. I am very passionate about repairing bikes and cars myself.

KB: The name of your company La Ponderosa: Is that named after the motorbike your dad drove in Motorcycle Diaries? When did you start the company?

Yes, that was the name (The Mighty One) that my father and his travel companion Alberto Granado gave to their Norton. It would always break down. The company started in 2014. A very close family friend decided to make the investment.

KB: You are in the tourist industry, but I believe you studied law? What made you go into tourism instead of being a lawyer?

Yes, I studied law but never practiced it as my passion has always been about cars and motorcycles. With La Ponderosa Tours I combine my passion and my love for my country. I want to show people the country I was born and grew up in.

KB: Could you describe one of your tours and why people should do one? What can they expect? If you don’t ride a motorcycle can you still participate as a single individual and sit on the back with someone?

People should expect a one in a lifetime experience! The riders that visit us are keen riders that have travelled all around the world, and sincerely, the tour in Cuba with us is always the best one they have done! Visiting Cuba is a unique experience on its own, so combine this with riding a bike and there you go! People that do not ride bikes can request for a driver and can do the tour on the back of the bike.

KB: Cuba is number 1 on my bucket list. Always wanted to come and hopefully this year or next year: What makes Cuba so special?

Definitely the people. Us Cubans are joyful, have a tremendous sense of humor and self-sarcasm, we are open and friendly and know how to enjoy life.

KB: Are you afraid Cuba will modernize now that trading with America has started again?

Not at all. We are truly original as a country, though changes of course happen but sometimes it is for the good. The beautiful old town of Havana and the old cars and the rest of our colonial towns and cities will never disappear. They are part of our history, Unesco World Heritage and we protect it as a treasure.

KB: If you were to ask to do a remake of the movie The Motorcycle Diaries and you would take the role of your dad, who would you like to play the role of Alberto Granado?

That was an idea that did happen. But if it did, my companion would be Alberto’s son.

KB: Did you ever meet him?

Of course. He lived in Cuba with his large family. He was like family to us. A fantastic guy, full of life and stories to tell. We were very close to him and are still very close to his wife and children.

KB: I read that your mother is running the Che Study Center. I think she is in her 80s? Did she ever go with you on one of your tours?

My mom just turned 90 and has never joined me on a tour.

KB: The world was dealing with a pandemic for almost 2 years. cow did you spend your time with no tourists coming to Cuba?

Just like any other person on this planet, I stayed at home with my family and had some time to think.

Check out Ernesto’s website: HERE
Find him on Instagram: HERE

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