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Killing Che Guevara

Posted on Oct 8, 2007
Che in Havana
AP photo / Javier Galeano

Remembering Che:  This now-iconic image of Guevara appears on a mural in Havana, Cuba, where officials and citizens commemorated his death on Monday.

Forty years after his death at the hands of CIA operatives and Bolivian troops, Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara has become a legend and an icon, as evidenced by the familiar image of his face emblazoned on the T-shirts of college students everywhere.  To mark the anniversary of his assassination, the BBC interviewed Felix Rodriguez, an ex-CIA agent who received the order to have Guevara shot.


Mr Rodriguez ordered the soldier who pulled the trigger to aim carefully, to remain consistent with the Bolivian government’s story that Che had been killed in action during a clash with the Bolivian army.

But wasn’t Che entitled to a fair trial rather than such an ignominious death in La Higuera?

“I could have tried to falsify the command to the troops, and got Che to Panama as the US government said they had wanted,” said Mr Rodriguez.

But he said it was a decision by the Bolivian presidency, and he had to let history run its course.

By killing Che Guevara the man, didn’t Mr Rodriguez think he had simply helped create something much more powerful - Che Guevara the legend?

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By Mariam Russell, October 9, 2007 at 11:44 am Link to this comment
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I do not know, and you do not know, the “real” Che.

I see little difference possible in him and Mr. Rodriguez, who only regrets not keeping the pipe, who was 27 at the time, and has not grown at all in the years since.

I find it intresting that the USA killed the man, but are able to manage a way to say it was engineered by Castro.

Amazing what a little engineered hate can do after a few years.

It seems that Pres Castro’s doctors did cataract surgery on the soldier who actually shot Che. FOR FREE.


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By thomas billis, October 9, 2007 at 5:55 am Link to this comment
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Che’s lasting legacy is to reject the inevitability of American Imperialism in South America and look for a different way.Was he perfect.No was he close to perfect. Hell no.But if you look at the leadership of South America today you can see the effect of Che.

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By Mr Trail Safety, October 8, 2007 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment
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Fidel Castro has always preferred dead heroes to living rivals, and Che was no exception. To frame it in American terms, imagine the following:

• Bill Clinton and Al Gore are comrades in arms, or W and Dick Cheney. You decide. In any event…
• Bill and Al have a colossal falling out over the direction of world revolution.
• Al leaves the country with other members of his staff and cabinet. He goes to a desperately poor English-speaking country to foment revolution as an outsider—against ALL the rules that had defined a guerilla struggle. Let’s say that country is Belize.
• the local inhabitants view the Army as a menace, and the presence of the outsider to be an additional threat. When the Army comes and asks “where are the foreigners?” and the villagers point. Now two threats are removed.

You get the drift. Now Che is dead. Fidel can orate for hours, and another hero is added to the pantheon. Thirty years later Che is a profitable franchise.

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