‘Do Not Shoot!’: The Last Moments Of Communist Revolutionary Che Guevara

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Che Guevara has turn out to be an icon whose life and dying have been romanticized. (AFP Photograph)

His leg riddled with bullets, his gun knocked out of his hand, Ernesto “Che” Guevara surrendered.

“Do not shoot! I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead,” he stated as U.S.-trained Bolivian forces closed in. The Argentine-born physician and Marxist insurgent chief who helped Fidel Castro seize energy in Cuba was lastly captured after years of dwelling in secrecy. Guevara, the beret-wearing guerrilla chief who had led firing squads after the Communist victory, abruptly resigned from his authorities posts and left Cuba to unfold the revolution in Africa and South America.

However the missions, together with the one to arouse an rebellion in Bolivia, have been all however doomed. On that afternoon of Oct. eight, 1967, Guevara was taken prisoner and carried by troopers to a one-room schoolhouse within the city of La Higuera in Bolivia, about four miles away from the place he was captured, in response to Richard Harris’ biography, “Death of a Revolutionary: Che Guevara’s Last Mission.”

Felix Rodriguez, a Cuban-American CIA operative posing as a Bolivian navy officer, would discover him coated in dust inside that schoolhouse the subsequent day. His hair was matted, his garments have been torn and filthy, and his arms and toes have been sure. The U.S. authorities wished him alive to be interrogated, however Bolivian leaders determined that Guevara should be executed, as a public trial would solely garner him sympathy. The official story could be that he was killed in battle.

Rodríguez, who was instrumental in Guevara’s seize, had combined feelings at the moment, as he had acknowledged later in an interview. Right here was a person who had assassinated a lot of his countrymen, Rodríguez stated, and but he felt “sorry for him.”

Then, he advised the guerrilla chief that he was about to die.

“I looked at him straight in the face, and I just told him. . . . He looked straight to me and said: ‘It’s better this way. I should have never been captured alive,’ ” Rodríguez recalled throughout a “60 Minutes” interview years later.

The 2 males shook palms. “He embraced me. I embraced him,” Rodríguez stated.

Then Rodríguez left, ordering a soldier to shoot under the neck as a result of that may match the official story that Guevara had died in fight.

Guevara’s final phrases have been to Sgt. Jaime Teran, the soldier ordered to shoot him, in response to journalist Jon Lee Anderson’s biography, “Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life.”

“I know you’ve come to kill me,” he stated. “Shoot, you are only going to kill a man.”

Teran fired, putting Guevara within the arms, legs and thorax.

The guerrilla chief, beloved and idolized by many however hated by others, died 50 years in the past Monday, at age 39.

Earlier than Guevara was secretly buried in a mass grave, Bolivian troopers laid out his scrawny physique and put it on show for the media within the Bolivian village of Vallegrande. His corpse was positioned on a hospital laundry sink as photographers took footage that have been later revealed internationally. The Bolivian commander additionally ordered each of Guevara’s palms reduce off so authorities might run his fingerprints – and provides Castro plain proof that his ally was useless.

Certainty of Guevara’s dying didn’t attain the US till a couple of days later. A brief memorandum written by adviser Walt Rostow to President Lyndon B. Johnson on Oct. 13, 1967, stated: “This removes any doubt that ‘Che’ Guevara is dead.”

An Oct. 12, 1967, State Division report, titled “Guevara’s Death – The Meaning for Latin America,” described Guevara as “the foremost tactician of the Cuban revolutionary strategy” who “will be eulogized as the model revolutionary who met a heroic death.” That prediction materialized every week later, when Castro delivered a eulogy to an enormous crowd on the Plaza de La Revolución.

“They are mistaken who believe that his death is the defeat of his ideas, the defeat of his tactics, the defeat of his guerrilla concepts,” Castro stated, referring to the US.

Within the 50 years since his dying, Guevara has turn out to be an icon whose life and dying have been romanticized. The jungle the place he was captured and the schoolhouse the place he was killed have turn out to be vacationer sights. The laundry sink on which is physique was laid has turn out to be a memorial. A statue of Guevara is on show within the city of La Higuera. Under it’s the phrase, “Your example lights a new dawn.”

Guevara’s face, along with his thick black hair, scruffy beard and acquainted beret, has been printed on T-shirts, partitions and banners.

Anderson, the New Yorker workers author who had written a biography, described Guevara as somebody who was charismatic, however was additionally conceited, chilly and moody. He was a fearless chief, however he was additionally a reckless man who, in his late 30s, determined to go away his household with no assure that he would return.

“He did things that other people just don’t do,” Anderson stated. “There were times when I thought: ‘Jesus, man. How can you do that to yourself?’ “

(This story has not been edited by HEARALPUBLICIST workers and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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