Che Guevara’s hunter says he looked more like a beggar than a legend

November 14th, 2007 - 1:52 am ICT by admin  
On the 40th anniversary of Guevara’s death, a former CIA spy — Felix Rodriguez — says that the man romanticised as a hero, looked more like a beggar and was dressed in a uniform that was a rag, when he confronted him.

Revealing the rather realistic portrait of Guevara, 67-year-old Rodriguez was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying that “Most people don’t know the real Guevara.”

He revealed that CIA chiefs wanted their man alive for interrogation, but were overruled by the Bolivian authorities.

Guevara, who helped Fidel Castro win power in 1959 then oversaw the trial and execution of hundreds of “war criminals” from the previous regime, had been in Bolivia in a bid to spread the revolution.

He and his 50 fighters were trapped on October 8 1967 after a tip-off from a farmer.

As 200 American-led troops closed in, Guevara shouted: “Don’t shoot. I’m Che Guevara - I’m worth more to you alive than dead.”

The 39-year-old had been wounded in the right leg and was suffering from chronic asthma.

Rodriguez said: “This man looked more like a beggar. His uniform was in rags. He didn’t have a pair of boots, just pieces of leather wrapped round his shoes. I felt sorry for him as a human being.”

Guevara was locked in the school at a nearby village while Rodriguez waited for orders from Bolivian president Rene Barrientos.

It was his job to tell the hero of the Cuban Revolution that he was to be shot without trial.

Rodriguez recalled: “Che turned white… before saying: ‘It’s better this way, I should have died in combat’.”

A simple code had been arranged - 500 meant Che Guevara, 600 meant dead, 700 alive.

When the command came the following morning, on the village’s only phone, it was 500 - 600.

Guevara was killed with a burst of machine-gun fire, to look like a combat death.

It was carefully aimed away from his face so that there would be no doubt of his identity if Castro denied he was dead.

But Castro did not deny it, said Mr Rodriguez. “Instead, he built the Che Guevara legend.”

Last night the legend was still going strong in Cuba where a 10,000 crowd paid tribute at a monument to Che. (ANI)

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