Che Cuba

“The only thing that can be buried in Cuba are the hands” of Che, says his captor

MIAMI United States.- Cuban-American Félix Rodríguez, the CIA agent who led the operation in Bolivia to capture Ernesto Che Guevara that culminated in his execution in 1967, told EFE this Wednesday that “the only thing that can be buried in Cuba” are the hands of the guerrilla.

Rodríguez assured the news agency that “the body was never where they say they found it.”

According to what he said, the Argentine guerrilla “was not buried next to the track with seven other bodies as Fidel (Castro) said; Che was buried at the head of the runway with two more corpses, there were only three.”

The former CIA agent, 81 years old and retired in Miami, denied the official version of what happened on June 28, 1997, when the Cuban authorities announced the discovery of Che’s remains at the Vallegrande airport (Bolivia). This year marked the 25th anniversary.

The communist regime’s version assures that the body of the revolutionary leader was found that day in a mass grave at the Vallegrande airport and, after being identified in a hospital in Bolivia, his remains were sent to Cuba, where a mausoleum was erected in his honor in the province of Santa Clara.

According to the Cuban media, the remains of the Argentine were found on an abandoned track in Vallegrande, where a group of experts from the island found the grave in which seven guerrilla men were buried, including Ernesto Che Guevara.

“Obviously, if he (Fidel Castro) buried his hands, then there is a part of Che in the Santa Clara monument, because the hands were taken there by the (then) Minister of the Interior (Antonio) Arguedas,” along with with a copy of the guerrilla’s diary in Bolivia, Rodríguez explained to EFE.

The former CIA agent recalled that “at dawn a Bolivian doctor went with my colleague, (Gustavo) Villoldo, and then they cut off his hands, put them in formalin and put them in a dump truck, as they say to the ‘pickup ‘ (truck), they took Che to the end of the runway where there was a bulldozer that was widening the runway for larger planes to land.”

“And there they buried him, at the end of the track next to two corpses and Fidel says that they found him to one side with seven more. That was not Che Guevara, ”he assured.

On how it became known that Che was in Bolivia, Rodríguez, whose mission was to save his life, although he now says that his execution was “the best thing that could happen”, recalls that he had to do with the French philosopher and writer Régis Debray.

“It was confirmed when (Argentine intellectual Ciro) Busto and Régis Debray were arrested; They went to visit Che and when they were taken prisoner they confirmed that the one who was there in the guerrilla was Che Guevara. If it wasn’t for them, it wouldn’t have been known that Che was in Bolivia,” he said.

Rodríguez landed in Bolivia on October 9, 1967 to capture Che and later saw him “tied hand and foot.”

“My mission was to save his life at the request of the US government. It was very important to keep him alive, killing him was a decision of the Bolivian president, General René Barrientos,” he recalled.

Bolivian sergeant Mario Terán executed Guevara in La Higuera that same day, and according to Rodríguez, the burial of the body “was not a military secret, they simply did not tell anyone.”

“They took a driver that day and buried him at the end of the runway, and gave the news that he had been cremated and that the ashes had been thrown from a helicopter into the air, which was not true,” he said.

“That was the official news that was given to the Bolivian people: that (Che) was cremated and his ashes scattered over the Bolivian jungle, but the truth is that he was buried at the head of the runway, you can put the stamp on him”, sentenced.

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