Che Guevera in Ceylon in 1959


Che Guevera, Fidel Castro’s right hand man during the revolution in Cuba to oust Batista and who is now a legend, visited Ceylon in August 1959.  Castro sent him to the many countries that used to import sugar from Cuba, to maintain their relationship with importers.  During his trip to Ceylon he also visited a rubber estate in Horana, where he planted a rubber tree.

NOTE: in surmise I suggest that  in this picture Che is at one of Wilmot Perera’s properties in Horana. Though from a wealthy Karava Sinhalese family and a plantation owner, Wilmot Perera was Trotskyite in orientation. He is among those pictured with Bracegirdle in 1937. Note too that when I interviewed him in the late 1960s, it was at his bungalow in Horana.

11-MA Bracegirdle with LSSP leaders, Horana Wilmot Perera is standing behind Bracegirdle. Colvin R de Silva is seated with Bracegirdle, while Leslier Goonewardene is on Wilmot’s left and Philip Gunawardena is on Wilmot’s right.

ADDENDUM: Since this item was posted I have rec’d the following information [and correction] from Arun Dias Bandaranaike: “Che G was seemingly ‘connected’ in some way with “Yahala House”, which is the produce business entity belonging to the family of Chitru Pieris. Yahala House is located on Staples Street in Colombo 02, neighbours to the Cargills Food City, also on the same Staples Street. Since Chithru’s passing, “Yahala House” is nowhere near the grandeur it once enjoyed. However, in those premises are a whole range of photographs of Che G at the rubber estate in Horana. He is, as I remember, in the company of either Chithru or someone of his family, under the shadows of the verdant boughs of the plentiful trees. The photograph that you have affixed with your piece shows him in the company of some police officer and also a woman soldier!! There seems to be another character of Caucasian appearance. This is ‘new to me’….since my recollections are based on the several photos on the walls at Yahala Building. 

NOTE: Chitru Pieris was from a Karava lineage and, as I recall during my researches, owned a number of vintage cars in pristine condition.Michael R

AA- ROHANA W 1 AA- ROHANA W 22Rohana Wijeweera in the style of Che

1-YOUNG PIRAPAHARANVelupillai Pirapaaharan--from image in a notebook purchased at Kilinochchi by the Editor in November 2004


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