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Che Guevara: Life of a Revolutionary

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Che Guevera
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« Reply #75 on: August 02, 2009, 01:51:11 am »



In rural Bolivia shortly before his death (1967)
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« Reply #76 on: August 02, 2009, 01:51:33 am »

Training at this camp in the Ñancahuazú valley proved to be more hazardous than combat to Guevara and the Cubans accompanying him. Little was accomplished in the way of building a guerrilla army. Former Stasi operative Haydée Tamara Bunke Bider, better known by her nom de guerre "Tania", who had been installed as his primary agent in La Paz, was reportedly also working for the KGB and in several Western sources she is inferred to have unwittingly served Soviet interests by leading Bolivian authorities to Guevara's trail.[111][112]
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Che Guevera
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« Reply #77 on: August 02, 2009, 01:51:43 am »

Guevara's guerrilla force, numbering about 50 and operating as the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional de Bolivia; "National Liberation Army of Bolivia"), was well equipped and scored a number of early successes against Bolivian regulars in the difficult terrain of the mountainous Camiri region. But in September, the Army managed to eliminate two guerrilla groups in a violent battle, reportedly killing one of the leaders.

Guevara's plan for fomenting revolution in Bolivia failed, apparently because:

    * He had expected to deal only with the Bolivian military, who were poorly trained and equipped. However, Guevara was unaware that the U.S. government had sent a team of the CIA's Special Activities Division commandos and other operatives into Bolivia to aid the anti-insurrection effort. The Bolivian Army would also be trained, advised, and supplied by U.S. Army Special Forces including a recently organized elite battalion of Rangers trained in jungle warfare that set up camp in La Esperanza, a small settlement close to the location of Guevara's guerrillas.[113]
    * Guevara had expected assistance and cooperation from the local dissidents which he did not receive, nor did he receive support from Bolivia's Communist Party, under the leadership of Mario Monje, which was oriented toward Moscow rather than Havana. In Guevara's own diary captured after his death, he would bristle with complaints about the Communist Party of Bolivia, which he characterized as "distrustful, disloyal and stupid."[114]
    * He had expected to remain in radio contact with Havana. However, the two shortwave transmitters provided to him by Cuba were faulty; thus the guerrillas were unable to communicate with and be resupplied, leaving them isolated and stranded.
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Che Guevera
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« Reply #78 on: August 02, 2009, 01:52:10 am »



Location of Vallegrande in Bolivia
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Che Guevera
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« Reply #79 on: August 02, 2009, 01:52:23 am »

In addition, Guevara's known preference for confrontation rather than compromise, which had previously surfaced during his guerrilla warfare campaign in Cuba, contributed to his inability to develop successful working relationships with local leaders in Bolivia, just as it had in the Congo.[115] This tendency had existed in Cuba, but had been kept in check by the timely interventions and guidance of Fidel Castro.[116]

The end result was that Guevara was unable to attract any inhabitants of the local area to join his militia in the 11 months he attempted recruitment. Near the end of the venture Guevara complained in his dairy that "the peasants do not give us any help, and are turning into informers."[117]
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Che Guevera
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« Reply #80 on: August 02, 2009, 01:52:45 am »

Capture and execution

Félix Rodríguez, a Cuban exile turned CIA Special Activities Division operative, headed the hunt for Guevara in Bolivia.[118] On October 7, an informant apprised the Bolivian Special Forces of the location of Guevara's guerrilla encampment in the Yuro ravine. They encircled the area, and Guevara was wounded and taken prisoner while leading a detachment with Simeón Cuba Sarabia. Che biographer Jon Lee Anderson reports Bolivian Sergeant Bernardino Huanca's account: that a twice wounded Guevara, his gun rendered useless, shouted "Do not shoot! I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead."[119]
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« Reply #81 on: August 02, 2009, 01:52:59 am »

Guevara was tied up and taken to a dilapidated mud schoolhouse in the nearby village of La Higuera on the night of October 7. For the next day and a half Guevara refused to be interrogated by Bolivian officers and would only speak quietly to Bolivian soldiers. One of those Bolivian soldiers, helicopter pilot Jaime Nino de Guzman, describes Che as looking "dreadful". According to De Guzman, Guevara was shot through the right calf, his hair was matted with dirt, his clothes were shredded, and his feet were covered in rough leather sheaths. Despite his haggard appearance, he recounts that "Che held his head high, looked everyone straight in the eyes and asked only for something to smoke." De Guzman states that he "took pity" and gave him a small bag of tobacco for his pipe, with Guevara then smiling and thanking him.[120] Later on the night of October 8, Guevara, despite having his hands tied, kicked Bolivian Officer Espinosa into the wall, after the officer entered the schoolhouse in order to snatch Guevara's pipe from his mouth as a souvenir.[121] In another instance of defiance, Guevara spat in the face of Bolivian Rear Admiral Urgateche shortly before his execution.[121]
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« Reply #82 on: August 02, 2009, 01:53:09 am »

The following morning on October 9, Guevara asked to see the "maestra" (school teacher) of the village, 22-year-old Julia Cortez. Cortez would later state that she found Guevara to be an "agreeable looking man with a soft and ironic glance" and that during their conversation she found herself "unable to look him in the eye", because his "gaze was unbearable, piercing, and so tranquil."[121] During their short conversation, Guevara complained to Cortez about the poor condition of the schoolhouse, stating that it was "anti-pedagogical" to expect campesino students to be educated there, while "government officials drive Mercedes cars" ... declaring "that's what we are fighting against."[121]

Later that morning on October 9, Bolivian President René Barrientos ordered that Guevara be killed. The executioner was Mario Terán, a half-drunken sergeant in the Bolivian army who had requested to shoot Che based on the fact that three of his friends named "Mario" from B Company, had been killed in an earlier firefight with Guevara's band of guerrillas.[122] To make the bullet wounds appear consistent with the story the government planned to release to the public, Félix Rodríguez ordered Terán to aim carefully to make it appear that Guevara had been killed in action during a clash with the Bolivian army.[123]
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« Reply #83 on: August 02, 2009, 01:53:20 am »

Moments before Guevara was executed he was asked if he was thinking about his own immortality. "No", he replied, "I'm thinking about the immortality of the revolution."[124] Che Guevara then told his executioner, "I know you've come to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man."[125] Terán hesitated, then opened fire with his semiautomatic rifle, hitting Guevara in the arms and legs. Guevara writhed on the ground, apparently biting one of his wrists to avoid crying out. Terán then fired several times again, wounding him fatally in the chest at 1:10 pm, according to Rodríguez.[126] In all Guevara was shot nine times. This included five times in the legs, once in the right shoulder and arm, once in the chest, and finally in the throat.[121]
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« Reply #84 on: August 02, 2009, 01:53:52 am »



The day after his execution on October 10, 1967, Guevara's corpse was displayed to the World press in the laundry house of the Vallegrande hospital. (photo by Freddy Alberto)
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« Reply #85 on: August 02, 2009, 01:55:07 am »



Che Guevara's post mortem face. Image taken by covert CIA operative.

10 October 1967
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« Reply #86 on: August 02, 2009, 01:55:46 am »




Che Guevara's corpse on display in Vallegrande, Bolivia. Image taken by covert CIA operative.
Date    

10 October 1967
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« Reply #87 on: August 02, 2009, 01:56:34 am »





Che Guevara's feet and self made "shoes" upon him being captured and executed. Image taken by covert CIA operative.
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« Reply #88 on: August 02, 2009, 01:57:35 am »

Post-execution

Guevara's body was then lashed to the landing skids of a helicopter and flown to nearby Vallegrande where photographs were taken, showing a figure described by some as "Christ-like" lying on a concrete slab in the laundry room of the Nuestra Señora de Malta hospital.[127]

A declassified memorandum dated October 11, 1967 to United States President Lyndon B. Johnson from his National Security Advisor, Walt Whitman Rostow, called the decision to kill Guevara "stupid" but "understandable from a Bolivian standpoint."[128] After the execution, Rodríguez took several of Guevara's personal items, including a watch which he continued to wear many years later, often showing them to reporters during the ensuing years.[129] Today, some of these belongings, including his flashlight, are on display at the CIA.[130] After a military doctor amputated his hands, Bolivian army officers transferred Guevara's body to an undisclosed location and refused to reveal whether his remains had been buried or cremated. The hands were preserved in formaldehyde to be sent to Buenos Aires for fingerprint identification. (His fingerprints were on file with the Argentine police.) They were later sent to Cuba. On October 15, Castro acknowledged that Guevara was dead and proclaimed three days of public mourning throughout the island.[131] On October 18, Castro addressed a crowd of almost one million people in Havana and spoke about Guevara's character as a revolutionary.[132]
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« Reply #89 on: August 02, 2009, 01:57:52 am »

French intellectual Régis Debray, who was captured in April 1967 while with Guevara in Bolivia, gave an interview from prison, in August 1968, where he enlarged on the circumstances of Guevara's capture. Debray, who had lived with Guevara's band of guerrillas for a short time, said that in his view they were "victims of the forest" and thus "eaten by the jungle."[133] Debray described a destitute situation where Guevara's men suffered malnutrition, lack of water, absence of shoes, and only possessed six blankets for 22 men. Debray recounts that Guevara and the others had been suffering an "illness" which caused their hands and feet to swell into "mounds of flesh" to the point where you could not discern the fingers on their hands.[133] Despite the futile situation, Debray described Guevara as "optimistic about the future of Latin America" and remarked that Guevara was "resigned to die in the knowledge that his death would be a sort of renaissance", noting that Guevara perceived death "as a promise of rebirth" and "ritual of renewal."[133]
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