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Monday, October 17, 2005 Bookmark Now! | Email to a friend  

Where is Che Guevara buried?

A Google search for "Che Guevara" led me to a collection of web sites about the Latin American guerrilla leader, revolutionary theorist, and radical icon Ernesto "Che" Guevara de la Serna. Che Guevara was born in Argentina in 1928. In 1954, he met Cuban political exiles and brothers Fidel and Raul Castro in Mexico, and helped them plan the revolution to overthrow the dictator Fulgencio Batista. Che joined Castro's invading army, and when Cuba's Marxist government was established in 1959, he became a Cuban citizen, a prominent policy-maker and leader, and a close associate of Fidel Castro.

He gained fame (and notoriety) as an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy, and as a leading advocate of Cuban-style socialism and guerilla warfare throughout impoverished Latin America.

I learned the grim facts of Che's death from a web site titled The Death of Che Guevara: Declassified. This chronology of events and collection of original U.S. government documents was assembled by Peter Kornbluh, for the National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institute and library that publishes and exhibits previously classified documents acquired through the Freedom
of Information Act.

Here's the chain of events: In 1966, Che traveled incognito to Bolivia to lead a guerrilla insurrection. In the fall of 1967, his group was destroyed by the Bolivian army, apparently aided by intelligence, training, and support from U.S. military advisers and CIA agents. On October 8 (my birthday), 1967 Che was wounded and captured. He was executed on October 9th, and on the 10th, his death certificate was signed by doctors in Vallegrande, Bolivia.

There were conflicting stories about the location of his remains and whether he'd been buried or cremated. Details of Che's death remained obscure for close to thirty years.

In a 1995 interview, a Bolivian general told Guevara biographer Jon Lee Anderson that Che was "buried in a mass grave near the dirt airstrip outside the little mountain town of Vallegrande in Central Bolivia." In 1997, his remains were returned to Cuba, and he was reburied in Santa Clara, Cuba, in a public ceremony attended by Fidel Castro and thousands of others.

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