- Che was shot on October 9, 1967
- His bullet-riddled body, eyes wide open, was put on display in a hospital laundry room and later buried in an unmarked grave
- He looked quite different from the man in the photographs
Today, October 9, 50 years after the assassination of the hero of the Cuban Revolution the CIA has finally declassified the information they had held on to for so long. At the age of 39 the revolutionary thinker became a martyr for his ideals at the hands of the CIA.
According to news reports, one of the members involved in the execution of Che Guvera has finally lifted the lid on Che’s death. A death which was quite an ignominious one. He was captured by CIA-backed Bolivian soldiers and was shot the next day. His bullet-riddled body, eyes wide open, was put on display in a hospital laundry room and later buried in an unmarked grave.
Felix Rodriguez, a member of the CIA, who was there spoke to BBC reporter Mike Lanchin, who described the revolutionary’s last moments. He showed the reporters photographs from the site
“The last picture of Che was that of scowling man with his hands tied behind his back. His image of a man completely resigned. He looked like a beggar. To see him dying was different.”
Che and his small band of fighters had entered the forests and were laying low, their entry into the villages looking for food and provisions is what betrayed them. They were ambushed in a ravine.
Che was being held in a schoolhouse. Che had medical things something for his asthma.
Rodriguez says he went to the room where Che was being held and tried to hold a conversation. Che was in no mood to talk, Rodriguez says that Che looked at him arrogantly and said that ‘nobody talks to him, nobody can interrogate him.’
Rodriguez goes onto say how Che was talking but he was actually not interested because the whole destruction of the image that Che was and how he sat in front of him at that time had shaken him. In front of him, he says, was a man who looked like a beggar.
The CIA wanted Che alive but Bolivia wanted him dead.
The Bolivian army had codes for the prisoners 500 for Che, 600 – dead and 700 –keep him alive. Rodriguez had received this code – 500, 600 from the Bolivian military high command. 2 pm he would be executed.
Rodriguez came back and told Che that he was sorry, he had tried his best. He turned white and he said “It is better this way. I should have never been captured alive.”
“Tell my wife to remarry and try to be happy” Those were his last words said Rodriguez when he asked Che if had any words to convey to his family.
“He stood to attention thinking that I would be the one killing him, I left the room. At 1.10 - 1.20pm I heard the shots and Che was dead, said Rodriguez.
Ernesto Che Guevera or Che as he is commonly known enjoys a cult following. In Kerala you might say he is a phenomenon. Your education in Kerala is incomplete if you are unaware of the life of the revolutionary rebel –Che. He has long transformed from his days of Motorcycle Diaries, his words – a thought process for many youth in the state. Such is the devotion to Che’s philosophy that you find him now alive in Tshirts, postcards, posters that call for a revolution. Che memorabilia is a common sight in the state. He is a sort of mascot for communism in Kerala.
Now, there is a kind of closure for his follower and the multitudes he inspired, albeit not a kind one.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:55 PM IST