Ernesto Guevara de la Serna was born in Argentina to an upper middle class family with Leftist and Communist sympathies, with his father hosting Spanish Civil War veterans from the Stalin-supported Republicans, for example. His mother Celia, highly educated and staunchly opposed to Juan Peron (a 'Left Fascist', as are they all, but a fascist nonetheless), was particularly close to her eldest son and influenced him through her home-schooling, both due to her perceived guilt about his severe childhood bouts with asthma. His father, Ernesto Guevara Lynch, was proud of the family's bloodline that connected to Irish rebels. Despite occasional bouts of early financial difficulties, they lived a rather moneyed but bohemian lifestyle. Though later divorced, they continued to live together.
Ché, Urrutia, and Camilo Cienfuegos
Ché and Masetti
Ché (left) in camp somewhere in the Congo
Régis Debray, "an egocentric little hippie"
The agreement which set up the mission specified that no American troops would be utilized as "advisors" in a combat capacity and the Special Forces troops never operated beyond the La Esperanza area.
By the end of the month, he loses two more men, including his old friend Ricardo (or "Papi"), as a result of a Bolivian army patrol surprising them in their camp (again, lack of posted security).
When he found Ché he was filthy, "like a piece of trash", with matted hair, torn clothes and pieces of leather tied to his feet for shoes. Rodríguez had hated Ché since the beginning and for good cause, but found the circumstance of sitting in the same room under those conditions strangely egalitarian. It was he, claims Rodríguez, who first broke the news to Ché that he had done all that he could, but the situation was out of his hands. Ché knew immediately what that meant, and blanched, but responded "It is better this way. I should have never been captured alive." Rodríguez said that Ché remained somewhat composed thereafter, knowing that his hope of a trial and his life being spared was a pipe dream from the moment of his surrender. He had had time since then to ponder his situation, and provided an example of Samuel Johnson's observation that when one is about to be executed, it concentrates the mind wonderfully. Here was the ultimate irony for Ché, responsible as he was for the executions of "a couple thousand" as he acknowledged to Rodríguez (though he shrugged them off as "imperialist spies and CIA agents"), and now he would have to live up to (for the time remaining) one of his quotes that he professed in times of cheap bravado: "Wherever death may surprise us, let it be welcome."
The Bolivian government wanted to rid themselves of the Communist relic of the slain revolutionary to avoid future spectacles. Gustavo Villoldo said that he gladly took control of the body one night and, with the assistance of two Bolivians, buried it with two other Cuban cadavers in an unmarked grave off the Vallegrande airstrip. Selich claims that he was in charge of the disposal. Captain Mario Vargas Salinas, the division's intelligence chief and leader of the unit that ambushed Joaquín's column at the Vado del Yeso, was also present at the surreptitious internment, and it was retired General Vargas Salinas who later gave up the location. The body was exhumed in 1997 and now resides in a shrine in Cuba, which gave Fidel another chance to bask in vicarious glory at its establishment.
A recent addition, in a lighter vein:
Here your face is set
on t-shirts and postcards.
They don't tell all the truths
about the Jackal of La Cabaña.
Your hand gripped so tight
that it overcame the history,
from a moment in Santa Clara
where Power seduced you.
Now the fashion is your face
on t-shirts and postcards,
but they don't tell all the truth
about the Jackal of La Cabaña.
Aristidio followed you
until the day that he tired (of the lie).
When he told you that he was leaving,
with a .32 you silenced him.
Here your face is the fashion
and although you clean every fiber of the shirt
you cannot wash away the blood on the hands
of the Jackal of La Cabaña.
At La Cabaña you were the warden.
You condemned thousands to the slaughterhouse,
but even more you wanted to play the warrior,
disposing with the innocents on your own.
Now your face is the fashion.
The women that you left widowed are surprised
how it can be everywhere,
the Jackal of La Cabaña.
A hero to some and to others a criminal,
they know well your face and your idealistic cause.
On this violent path no one can follow.
Your passion consumed you and converted you (into the Jackal).
Here the fashion was your face
on vain t-shirts and postcards,