1997: Ricky Lee Green 1911: Several revolutionaries on Double Ten Day

1967: Ernesto “Che” Guevara

October 9th, 2008 Headsman

As of 1:10 p.m. Bolivia time this date in 1967, Ernesto “Che” Guevara was no longer a man: he was only a god.

The Argentinian-born doctor turned Cuban revolutionary icon and the man who wrote the book on guerrilla warfare had put abroad to foment insurgency. His efforts in the Congo foundered; his bid to replicate the Cuban revolution in Bolivia was doing likewise when he was captured.

After holding him overnight, the government sent a coded order to execute him in the field. Che had done the same thing with his own hands to several who betrayed the Sierra Maestra guerrillas.

Soldier Mario Teran drew the short straw for a footnote to destiny; when he hesitated, Che chastised him with the legendary parting words “that someone invented or reported”:

“Shoot, coward, you’re only going to kill a man.”

Maybe so, but the man looked Christ-like when they put his body on display for the press. As certain as they made his death, still Che lives.

CIA asset (and George Bush Sr. confidante) Felix Rodriguez took his watch as a trophy. The rest of Che Guevara belongs to the world.*

This site could hardly attempt a definitive rendering of such a towering and controversial figure, a task fit for two, three, many biographies.

Lengthy video documentaries are here and here. Many of Che’s own words are collected here. Declassified U.S. National Security Archive documents relating to his capture and death are here.

And highly recommended is SovMusic.ru’s huge library of Che Guevara mp3 files — like this Francesco Guccini song:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“We cannot be sure of having something to live for unless we are willing to die for it.”

-Che Guevara

* Especially, of course, its marketers.

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Arts and Literature,Bolivia,Capital Punishment,Cuba,Cycle of Violence,Death Penalty,Doctors,Execution,Executioners,Famous,Famous Last Words,Guerrillas,History,Infamous,Intellectuals,Martyrs,Myths,No Formal Charge,Notable Participants,Politicians,Popular Culture,Power,Revolutionaries,Shot,Soldiers,Summary Executions,Wartime Executions

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22 Responses to “1967: Ernesto “Che” Guevara”

  1. 1
    Matthew Says:

    Good riddance.

  2. 2
    David Says:

    A “towering” figure?
    A “task fit for…many biographies” ?

    The man was a pathological killer.

    Your judgment is now suspect.

  3. 3
    ExecutedToday.com » 1977: Alphonse Massamba-Débat, Congolese Communist Says:

    [...] — winning a post-coup 1963 election by the comfortable margin of 100-0 — and met with Che Guevara during the latter’s African mission, while also setting up the first stirrings of [...]

  4. 4
    ExecutedToday.com » Nine Executed People Who Make Great Halloween Costumes Says:

    [...] Che Guevara [...]

  5. 5
    ExecutedToday.com » 1871: Eight Cuban medical students Says:

    [...] Che Guevara would say of the martyrs, “El único delito era el de ser cubano” — “Their only crime was to be Cuban.” [...]

  6. 6
    Rubin Says:

    Another prophet of our times killed. His struggle seems very relevant today. The same bastards that he fought and put him in the ground, today have dragged us all down a financial toilet.

    Viva la’revolucion

  7. 7
    Eugene RUS Says:

    CIA American cowards = of the pig

  8. 8
    esonner Says:

    At last Ernesto “Che” Guevara is finally a GOOD COMMUNIST. What I do not understand is why the young Fascists do not wear Pol Pot on their T-shirts. The ony difference between these two is that Saloth Sar aka Pol Pot lived long enough to put his ideals (same as Che’s) into practice.

  9. 9
    MackPap Says:

    Essoner, someone should tell you about a country called Cuba. Somehow, ol’ Pol Pot Guevera’s pals forgot to murder a million or so of their fellow citizens after their revolution in Cuba. Maybe they just haven’t got around to it, and will start this week.

  10. 10
    Anthony Says:

    Not much of a comeback, MackPap. Guevara wasn’t in charge and indeed he expressed comfort with the idea of killing large numbers of people. Fidel was in charge and wasn’t as fanatical and “pure” as Guevara. Of course Castro didn’t kill anywhere near as many people for political reasons as did Pol Pot. He incarcerated lots, but on the large scale he only enslaved them, so there you go.

    Anyway, pretty even-handed post by the headsman, I would say. I would quibble with calling a failed medical student a “doctor.”

  11. 11
    ExecutedToday.com » Executed Today’s Second Annual Report: Once Bitten, Twice Die Says:

    [...] embodied the underbelly of the American dream to the likes of Stephen King and Bruce Springsteen. 20. October 9, 1967: Ernesto “Che” Guevara – One of the posts most frequently sought out by visitors viewing a second or third page. Play the [...]

  12. 12
    cubanfreedom fighter Says:

    My favorite pictures of “El Che” are at http://mikeely.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/understanding-che-guevara-42-years-after-his-murder/

    I can’t wait to see similar portraits of Chavez, Castro and Raul. The worst thing about it is the wait. VIVA CIA, VIVA NSA, VIVA USA!!! que morir por la paria es vivr!!!

  13. 13
    pete sake Says:

    comments 1 n 2 obv frm war-mongering yanks/

  14. 14
    ExecutedToday.com » 1959: 71 after the Cuban Revolution Says:

    [...] But the case for that interpretation looks much stronger in retrospect than it did to those living the actual events.† Foreign criticism for Cuba’s 1959 execution binge, though strong, was also strongly colored by an expectation that western powers would soon come to an arrangement with Castro — an anti-imperialist, but not yet a publicly committed Communist. [...]

  15. 15
    ExecutedToday.com » 1961: William Morgan, the Americano Says:

    [...] That attitude would put him on a collision course with the only other foreigner to hold a comandante rank among the anti-Batista guerrillas: Argentinian Ernesto “Che” Guevara. [...]

  16. 16
    ExecutedToday.com » 71 B.C.E.: The followers of Spartacus Says:

    [...] Especially for modern leftist radicals; Marx and Che Guevara were both big fans; German communists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht named their movement for [...]

  17. 17
    ExecutedToday.com » 1989: Arnaldo Ochoa and Tony de la Guardia Says:

    [...] of the Sierra Maestre guerrillas, Ochoa had fought with Che Guevara in the Battle of Santa Clara that toppled the Batista [...]

  18. 18
    ExecutedToday.com » 1401: Klaus Stortebeker, Victual Brother pirate Says:

    [...] the most famous of them, is still remembered today “like Che Guevara, a freedom fighter, but also like Robin Hood, because he fights the rich in the name of the [...]

  19. 19
    ExecutedToday.com » Executed Today’s Third Annual Report: Third Time Lucky Says:

    [...] find this story of the famed executioner hanging a former customer of Pierrepoint’s pub 18. Oct. 9, 1967: Ernesto “Che” Guevara – You might have heard of him. 19. Jan. 31, 1945: Private Eddie Slovik – The last U.S. soldier [...]

  20. 20
    ExecutedToday.com » 1991: Barrios Altos massacre Says:

    [...] which was never actually supported by the majority of Peruvians. Latin America had had its share of Marxist revolts, but this one was different from the others. There was nothing romantic about the revolutionaries, [...]

  21. 21
    ExecutedToday.com » 1781: Tupac Katari Says:

    [...] guerrillas styled themselves the Tupac Katari Guerrilla Army, and a former member of this Che-inspired militia is currently Bolivia’s vice [...]

  22. 22
    ExecutedToday.com » 1934: Augusto Cesar Sandino, national hero Says:

    [...] (aging much better than Somocismo) would influence Fidel Castro and Che Guevara during the Cuban [...]

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