TCS Daily

The Lie About Where Che Lies

By Alvaro Vargas Llosa - November 5, 2007 12:00 AM

Thousands of Cubans and foreigners have been flocking to a mausoleum in central Cuba to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Che Guevara's death. For 10 years, the Cuban government has been telling the world that the body inside the mausoleum is that of the famous guerrilla.

It's a lie designed to bamboozle the population into worshiping the Argentine-born revolutionary as if he were a saint -- and the Cuban Revolution as if it were a religion. A brilliant investigation by French journalist Bertrand de la Grange, recently published in Spain's El Pais newspaper, demolishes the official version.

In 1995, Bolivian Gen. Mario Vargas, who had fought Che's guerrillas in the 1960s, revealed that the revolutionary's body was buried a few meters from the airport runway in Vallegrande, a town close to La Higuera, the village in eastern Bolivia where Guevara was killed on Oct. 9, 1967. (Guevara had been executed after the Bolivian president ordered the soldiers who ambushed and captured him to get rid of him.) Cuba sent a forensic, diplomatic and legal team to Vallegrande. On June 28, 1997, they claimed to have found the body, which was brought to Cuba a few weeks before the 30th anniversary of the guerrilla's death.

Numerous facts belie the Cuban claim. Havana's envoys say they found the body in the same grave in which six other guerrillas killed in La Higuera were buried. However, Vargas says that Guevara's body was buried separately -- a fact confirmed by the widow of Lt. Col. Andres Selich, the man who actually buried all the bodies in 1967.

A jacket and a belt were found on the body exhumed in 1997. But Guevara's real body was buried without clothes: His jacket was removed by Moises Abraham, the doctor who performed the autopsy in 1967. Abraham now lives in Mexico, where he has been visited by Cuban emissaries wishing to buy the jacket from him.

Erich Blossl, a German agricultural engineer who befriended Abraham in the 1960s and saw Guevara's jacket in 1967, says that the garment found on the body dug up in 1997 is not the same one. "It was a waterproof cape, like the ones used by the military," he says in reference to the clothes found on the body that was sent to Cuba.

He had a chance to see it because the Cuban team asked him to take a look at it.
No less significant are the gross inconsistencies between the autopsy of Guevara's body conducted in 1967 and the forensic report of the body exhumed in 1997. Three European doctors, two from Spain and one from France, have compared the related documents. One, Jose Antonio Sanchez, determined that the fractures present in the ribs, the collarbone, the legs, and the vertebrae of the two bodies don't match, and that some teeth missing in one body were not missing in the other. The report from 1997 does not mention any marks related to the amputation of Guevara's hands, which were cut off in 1967 in order to verify that the fingerprints matched those kept by the Argentine police.

"Che had to be in Havana before July 26, 1997, so Cuba could celebrate the return of the prodigal son and lift the spirits of the Cuban people," concludes de la Grange in reference to the holiest day in the revolutionary calendar. "Those were Fidel Castro's orders. The fact that it wasn't the real one was, after all, a minor evil."

It is not surprising, of course, that Che Guevara's remains are a myth. Everything about this modern saint is a myth -- his love of justice, his romantic disposition, his goodness. The truth is that he executed hundreds of people, ruined the Cuban economy, tried to turn Cuba into a nuclear power and helped bring about many military dictatorships in Latin America in reaction to the guerrillas he inspired in the 1960s and the 1970s.

Guevara's false body reminds us that totalitarian power is built on the abolition of historical truth and the psychological manipulation of its citizens.

There is something at once terrifying and fascinating about the fact that this act of propaganda was concocted by scores of scientists, diplomats and jurists perfectly willing to make a mockery of their professions in order to deliver a story that one man, Fidel Castro, ordered them to deliver -- and that they knew to be a colossal lie.


Typical for them to lie.
It's quite normal for leftist to lie. They think that facts should not get in the way on their 'Greater Cause'. I hope those guys like Lemuel are paying attention to this story too because it gives more evidence that scientists will lie for the GW cause as well as lying for the commie mass murderer Che Guevara.

to a liberal, the truth is anything that will advance the agenda

The end justifies the means.
Castro told school children to pray to God for Ice Cream. It never came, then he said pray to Castro for Ice Cream and he delivered.

Political power is so important to the left they will say anything.

Che the guerilla...
Not! he was an f__king coward. Never participated in any real fighting but was always first in line to execute once the opposition was in chains. I wish him a life in eternal hell tormented from above by the many he murdered. And here's hoping that the murdering Castro brothers soon will join him.

Do you have sources?
If you could provide some documentation of your claims-- that Che never participated in any actual fighting, and that he killed lots of people, I would appreciate it. I'm looking right now-- and not finding much.

How about when Che went into the Congo, joining Lumumba's forces and fighting against Mobutu and Moise Tshombe? That wasn't actual fighting? Most think it was.

No doubt he killed some people then. But let's compare his record to the generals we assisted in overthrowing the lawful government of Guatemala, in 1956. Isn't it true that our proteges killed about 200,000 Guatemalans, in an orgy of extermination that lasted 35 years?

What kind of numbers do we have for this Che, who was never in a fight?

Viva Che Guevara!
Silly to focus on physical remains instead of the liberty and justice for which Che struggled. Even sillier to blame Che for the rightwing military dictatorships against which he struggled. That's like blaming the Nazi party on the Jews.

Ahh yes, that evil liberal agenda... liberty and justice for all.

Che the Hero
If you want to rail against cowards and terrorists it would make much more sense to rail against the likes of Luis Posada Carrileso on the Contras.

He no facts, only hatred against a true Hero who struggled on behalf of the poor and oppressed people of Latin America. I'm willing to bet that while attacking hero's like Che, he supports terrorists like Luis Posada Carriles? A coward who murdered 73 people on flight 455.

It's this sort of evil which rots the very heart of our great nation.

liberty and justice

So you suppose that Cuba is a bastion of liberty and justice for all?

For All

No, it most certainly is not. It is much much better than it was under Batista, however the people are not free. While some of the fault for this rests on our shoulders, as we've done everything in our power (and that's quiet a lot) to create a failed state in Cuba, the Cuban government has also failed to provide it's people with the liberty we believe to be an inalienable right.

You can't really have liberty without some degree of social justice, Cuba enjoys a great degree of social justice. It's my hope and prayer that once Castro has moved on, Cuba will let go of the paranoia and that all of it's people will enjoy liberty as well.

Explain how government provides liberty?
When liberty stems from the lack of government?

How about millions killed by communism?
He was red and reds kill all opposition and enslaved millions.

What a crock of smell crap.
He was a Marxist and a murder.


It's a double edged sword, to much power and government becomes the oppressor, to little power and something else will rise up to oppress the people. Cuba is a good example of a government with too much power, Iraq is a good example of a government with too little.

While I'm certain true communism would never work, I'm also certain that it's never been attempted
Tyrants claiming communism in their bid for power have exactly what to do with real communism? If a child molester lures children into his home with promises of candy, can we blame the horrible acts that occur on the candy?

So then how did Che stand for less government?
In fact, he was a Marxist in the tradition of Stalin and Castro.

Government can protect liberty, but never provide it.

Primitive man speaks his mind
What a cave man. You're joking, right?

The assertion was that Che Guevara murdered lots of people. All I'm asking is who were they? Do you know of any?

re mass murder che
You mean you've never ever in all these years have never heard of anything that showed how he was in charge of killing all those guys after the commies took over? And there were witnesses that watched him from behind the bars shooting people himself. But wait a minute, if you like communists, then why believe that they ever killed anybody? Maybe it's all a lie that after they took over they wiped out all the guys they did't like. In fact it could also be true that Stalin and Mao didn't kill all those people either.

Neutral Source
Now it's to be expected that there are left wing sites which are going to make Che out to be some sort of Saint, and right wing sites which are going to portray him as a terrorist. For a more neutral viewpoint try here:

No Saint
He was a great leader and an idealist who struggled for social justice. Unfortunatly he also believed that the end justified the means, he oversaw purges in Cuba of anyone who was believed to be a threat to the revolution and is responsible for hundreds if not thousands of deaths. The end does not justify the means, killing people because of an ideological differance is never acceptable and for that reason alone Che deserved the end he recieved.

Despite all that, there is still much to be admired in the man.

"If you tremble indignation at every injustice then you are a comrade of mine.” - Che Guevara

His only thought was to replace government that served the interests of the elite with government that served the interests of people. He persued that goal with a single mindedness that prevented him from seeing other options.

Why Che died
That's an interesting document-- one I'll read when I have the time.

I had always heard that Che was killed because he went into an environment he didn't know... and as importantly, one in which he wasn't known.

Bolivia in those years was run with extreme brutality. For example Klaus Barbie-- the Butcher of Lyon-- was for a time head of the Bolivian internal security apparatus. Barbie transformed the methodology of oppression.

Any village found to be harboring a communist-- a term broadly defines anyone expressing political beliefs or an interest in social issues-- would have adult males plucked at random from the crowd and shot.

Also, their activities were not merely reactive. They had been known to plant stooges, spouting a parody of communist dogma to the crowd. Any village gathering expressing too much interest, and more random killings of family men, por ejemplo para los otros.

Along comes Che. Now this guy is one hundred percent actual, rebellion inciting comunista. He's not just some labor organizer or liberation theologian. They take one look at him and do the only prudent thing: they report him to the proper authorities. At least that's what I've heard.

Oh, the irony. Che Guevara was actually too naive for that kind of work.

Accuracy in reporting
I can certainly imagine that once the revolution was consolidated, some people were killed. Considering the kinds of people Batista had working for him, it would be surprising if there weren't people killed. Batista's Cuba was a horrible place.

And, revolutions being what they are, it would not be surprising if there were some innocents caught in the way. I have't read about this very closely one way or the other.

But to compare what happened in Cuba to anything that happened in Mao's China or Stalin's Soviet Union-- that's clearly absurd. No, there were no major purges.

My guess would be that several hundreds were executed after the revolution. Please cite anything you can find that gives a larger figure.

BTW remember Iyad Allawi? For a brief time, the fellow we had running Iraq? There are also eyewitnesses to him killing prisoners with a revolver to the back of the head. In times of trouble, tough guys rise to the top.

I see it a little differant
I don't think his great problem was that he was too naive, it's that we was too single minded. He had a grand vision and he was dead set on realizing that vision. He was brave, idealistic, perhaps even noble... and his single mindedness probably served him well at times, however it caught up to him in Bolivia.

Failure to constantly observe, understand, and adapt as a guerilla means death. I don't think Che's ideology and vision allowed him to be merciful to the hundreds of soldiers he had executed after Batista fell, and I don't think it allowed him to fully adapt to his environment in Bolivia.

That's not the agenda of any liberal that I've ever met
It's liberty for me, and the rest of you shut up and keep paying for it.

liberal delusions
If it's so much better now, how come so many people are willing to risk their lives in order to leave?

Under Batista, there was corruption, but it pails compared to the corruption that is experienced now.
Under Batista, Cubans had the second highest standard of living in Latin America. Second only to Argentina.
Under Castro, they are an economic basket case kept afloat by charity from richer patrons. First the Soviet Union, now Venezuela.

We have done nothing to create the failure that is Cuba, that is entirely the doing of their courageous leader.

If you believe their is any social justice in Cuba you have either never been their or are totally d

Have you been there?
No, it's illegal for me to travel to Cuba. If you have, then I'd be interested in hearing about your first hand observations. If you haven't, feel free to take a flying leap.

MarkTheGrinch: "If it's so much better now, how come so many people are willing to risk their lives in order to leave?"

Liberty, economic opportunity, many of the same reasons people leave Mexico in droves.

MarkTheGrinch: "Under Batista, there was corruption, but it pails compared to the corruption that is experienced now."

And the evidence to back up what you say is where?

MarkTheGrinch: "Under Batista, Cubans had the second highest standard of living in Latin America. Second only to Argentina. Under Castro, they are an economic basket case kept afloat by charity from richer patrons. First the Soviet Union, now Venezuela."

I believe most people call the charity you’re referring too as trade. Venezuela sells oil to Cuba at a discount, Cuba sends doctors to poor Venezuelan barrios. If that's not positively evil, I'm not sure what is...

Under Batista I'm sure life was great if you were a part of the elite, and far worse than what it's like under Castro for everyone else.

MarkTheGrinch: "We have done nothing to create the failure that is Cuba, that is entirely the doing of their courageous leader."

Bay of Pigs, embargo, sponsoring terrorists who bomb civilian airliners and hotels, the question isn't what have we done to create failure in Cuba, it's what haven't we done to create failure in Cuba.

See these.....
Fidel: Hollywood's Favorite Tyrant by Humberto Fontova

Exposing the Real Che Guevara: And the useful Idiots Who Idolize Him by Humberto Fontova


The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty (Independent Studies in Political Economy) by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

BTW quit making excuses..murderers are murderers--left or right.

that's what Cuba has now thanks to Che---liberty and justice?

Wake up and stop being one of the useful idiots.

more of Roy's alternate definitions
This is another one I'll have to save forever: "communist-- a term broadly defines anyone expressing political beliefs or an interest in social issues" . But how could that be? I'm also believe in those things, but I'm a libertarian. I would think that a bigger differnce between me and a commie then would be something like: I don't believe in forcing others to do things my way; but they all do. I believe in private property, they don't. I believe in free markets, they don't. So you see, there are some very important other distinctions. You, can't try to bulllshhit us with your phoney alternate definitions, but we can see what crap they really are.

that's accurate?
I'll bet you would never say also that you imagine that once the revolution in Chile stared some people might have been killed, right? Recently while talking to another american left winger like you, I mentioned that even the left usually say pinochet killed aabout 3-5k people; and that che did at least as many, and many more according to some. But he could answer; well it's not just a numbers game, at least the Cuban had good intentions" what a laught, what a joke.

Which crime of the century was worse?
What I was objecting to was your equating such political killings as Che may have performed with the massive extermination campaigns engaged in by Mao and by DStalin. These clearly were monstrous crimes-- among the greatest in the history of the world.

In contrast, I would go with the lower number being killed or disappeard in Pinochet's Chilean putsch: 3,000. I'm not sure Che killed as many, but let's say he did. That would make the one about equal to the other. Each was acting on strong beliefs that he was in the right. And people caught in the way died.

So yes, in part it's a numbers game. Castro and Che are approximately as evil as Augusto Pinochet, with scores in the 3,000 range. While George Bush has set in motion a destabilization in Iraq that so far has killed around 1,100,000 people and turned another four million or so into refugees.

Clarifying the definitions
Historically in Latin America the lines have been very clearly drawn. The "conservatives" favor the status quo, where a tiny number of families of privilege own nearly everything (read: "reverence for private property"), employing the armed forces to assist them in forcing the peasantry to work for them at a subsistence level of existence.

Anyone who disagrees is known as a "communist". That's the way it has always been there, and those are the definitions I've used. They are hardly "phoney alternate" definitions.

comparing to mao
Sure Mao and Stalin killed even more than Che, but their attitude towards how they delt with political opposition was the same; they're all three commie mass murderers. But when you say bush killed 1100,000; sounds like you're including all the muslims that were killed by other muslims. But I know, by your logic, if a suicide bomber goes into a market and blows up women and children, why not just say it's the Americans that did it?

So it sounds like you think there were not 'real' communists anywhere down there then, right? This might be comparable to how leftists talk about the McCarthy so-called 'witch hunts' for commied in the US. We now know for sure two things about that too; during the real with hunts in salem etc. there for sure were no real withes; but on the contrary, there actually were many real commies that had infiltrated the US admin and agencies. Then again, maybe you will even deny that.

TCS Daily Archives