October 9,1967: Che Guevara is executed

October 9: General Interest
1967: Che Guevara is executed

On this day
in 1967, socialist revolutionary and guerilla leader Che Guevara, age 39, is
killed by the Bolivian army. The U.S.-military-backed Bolivian forces captured
Guevara on October 8 while battling his band of guerillas in Bolivia and
assassinated him the following day. His hands were cut off as proof of death and
his body was buried in an unmarked grave. In 1997, Guevara’s remains were found
and sent back to Cuba, where they were reburied in a ceremony attended by
President Fidel Castro and thousands of Cubans.

Ernesto Rafael Guevara
de la Serna was born to a well-off family in Argentina in 1928. While studying
medicine at the University of Buenos Aires, he took time off to travel around
South America on a motorcycle; during this time, he witnessed the poverty and
oppression of the lower classes. He received a medical degree in 1953 and
continued his travels around Latin America, becoming involved with left-wing
organizations. In the mid 1950s, Guevara met up with Fidel Castro and his group
of exiled revolutionaries in Mexico. Guevara played a key role in Castro’s
seizure of power from Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959 and later served
as Castro’s right-hand man and minister of industry. Guevara strongly opposed
U.S. domination in Latin America and advocated peasant-based revolutions to
combat social injustice in Third World countries. Castro later described him as
“an artist of revolutionary warfare.”

Guevara resigned-some say he was
dismissed-from his Cuban government post in April 1965, possibly over
differences with Castro about the nation’s economic and foreign policies.
Guevara then disappeared from Cuba, traveled to Africa and eventually resurfaced
in Bolivia, where he was killed. Following his death, Guevara achieved hero
status among people around the world as a symbol of anti-imperialism and
revolution. A 1960 photo taken by Alberto Korda of Guevara in a beret became
iconic and has since appeared on countless posters and T-shirts. However, not
everyone considers Guevara a hero: He is accused, among other things, of
ordering the deaths of hundreds of people in Cuban prisons during the
revolution.

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