Che Guevara In Bolivia CSC 1985 SUBJECT AREA History WAR SINCE 1945 SEMINAR CHE GUEVARA IN BOLIVIA Major Donald R. Selvage, USMC 1 April 1985 Marine Corps Command and Staff College Marine Corps Development and Education Command Quantico, Virginia 22134 ABSTRACT Author: Selvage, Donald R. Major USMC Title: Che Guevara In Bolivia Date: 1 April 1985 Ernesto "Che" Guevara ranks as one of the most significant revolutionaries of the 20th century. After rising to power in Fidel Castro's revolutionary government, Che Guevara attained international status as a spokesman for radical social progress. His manual, Che Guevara on Guerrilla Warfare, introduced the foco theory of revolutions and remains one of the classic dissertations on guerrilla warfare. Che's attempt, however, to personally imple- ment his foco theory in Bolivia during 1966-1967 failed completely and resulted in his death. This study endeavors to analyze Che Guevara's ascent to power and the events surrounding his aborted Bolivia campaign. Part I researches Che, the revolutionary leader and illustrates develop- ments shaping his evolution into a leading figure in the world's revolutionary movement. Part II deals with Che's preparation for and conduct of the Bolivian insurgency. Part III studies the Bolivian government's response and the role played by the United States. Maps and photographs depict events and people that influ- enced the rise and fall of Che Guevara. Research material included both primary and secondary sources. Che's own writings reflect his revolutionary concepts while his diary, and those of three subordinates, provide dramatic day-to-day accounts of the Bolivia campaign. The study draws heavily from Che's biographies and other sources offering various viewpoints of this controversial figure. The conclusions reached in this paper attribute Guevara's failure, primarily, to his own miscalculations and tactical errors Steps taken by Bolivia and the United States, however, clearly exploited Che's mistakes and hastened his defeat. CONTENTS CHAPTER PAGE PART I - THE REVOLUTIONARY INTRODUCTION ii I. THE LEADER - HIS EARLY YEARS 1 II. THE REVOLUTIONARY LEADER 8 III. THE IDEOLOGICAL LEADER 18 PART II - THE REVOLUTION IV. THEORIES ON GUERRILLA WARFARE 28 V. PRELUDE TO BOLIVIA 39 VI. WHY BOLIVIA ? 46 VII. THE FOCO IN ACTION 57 PART III - THE COUNTER-REVOLUTION VIII. "OPERATIONS PARABANO AND CYNTHIA" 80 IX. THE BOLIVIAN CAMPAIGN IN PERSPECTIVE 86 APPENDIX A. CHRONOLOGY OF SIGNIFICANT EVENTS 102 B. IDENTIFICATION OF MAIN PERSONALITIES 104 MAPS 1. CUBA 106 2. BOLIVIA 107 3. ZONE OF GUERRILLA OPERATIONS 108 4. QUEBRADA EL CHURRO 109 ENDNOTES 110 ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY 123 INTRODUCTION Ernesto "Che" Guevara's unsuccessful attempt to overthrow Bolivia's government in 1966 and 1967 ranks as a mere anecdote in the long and continuing history of guerrilla warfare. Barely lasting eleven months, Guevara's small band of insurgents ach- ieved few military victories and failed to ignite any semblance of popular support among Bolivia's citizens. A study of the cam- paign reveals, instead, inadequate planning, amatuerish execution, and pathetic results. Despite the reputation of Che Guevara as "...the chief revolutionary brain in the Cuban revolution..."1 his Bolivia excursion was characterized by crucial tactical errors and basic violations of guerrilla warfare principles, including those promoted by Che in his own writings. When compared to the accomplishments of Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Poncho Villa, and other revolutionary leaders, Che's Bolivian insurgency pales to the point of relative insignificance. Why, then, is the study of Che Guevara in Bolivia important to students of guerrilla warfare? Countless articles, disserta- tions, and books attest to the fascination held for this Argentine idealist. "Che Lives!" remains the resounding call for revolution- aries throughout the world today. Guevara's significance lies not in the tabulation of his achievements and failures in Bolivia, but in what he symbolized and his actions represented to others. For a relatively short period in the turbulent 1960's Che was one of the world's most renowned revolutionary leaders. Death in the Bolivian jungles has failed to diminish Guevara's reputation. On the contrary, his legacy surpasses the fame he achieved in life as the cult of "Che" was spawned among the world's youthful left- ists. Che Guevara deserves close examination because he, undeni- ably, played a significant role in shaping revolutionary ideas which remain alive today and act as a stimulating force in personal and propaganda senses. The Bolivian insurgency attempt also provides valuable insights into methods used by the USSR and Cuba to export revolution in third world countries. The actual campaign in Bolivia represents only the revolutionary "tip of the iceburg", portraying an aborted, ineffec- tive guerrilla war while masking years of planning and preparation by Che and his mentor in Cuba, Fidel Castro. General Robert H. Barrow, retired Commandant of the Marine Corps, stated to an audience in 1981 that the most likely scenario involving U.S. armed forces in combat during the forseeable future would be limited, counter guer- rilla warfare in third world countries.2 Thus, examination of Che Guevara in Bolivia is an historical study of events that may be revived in similar but modified form to challenge the U.S. and its allies in the future. Eighteen years after Che's demise, many cir- cumstances under which he operated remain, basically, unchanged. Our adversaries still promote revolution and their methods continue to achieve various degrees of success. Furthermore, we cannot always anticipate the errors and mistakes which the insurgents made in Bolivia. Finally, a study of the Bolivian campaign reveals a counter guerrilla success story. Despite Che's many mistakes, both in planning and execution, those who engineered his defeat deserve credit for exploiting Guevara's tactical errors, thus denying him victory. The Bolivian Rangers who captured Che and his fellow guerrillas skillfully executed established counter guerrilla tac- tics with quick and decisive results. The United States' role in assisting the Bolivian government was highly effective and displayed moderation in the face of pressure to escalate the response by providing sophisticated weaponry.3 In the face of the ultimate failure of U.S. actions in Vietnam, perhaps the Bolivian campaign provides insights that transcend the comparative insignificance of this little war in a small South American country. This study endeavors to analyze Che Guevara's Bolivia campaign by focusing on the above stated propositions as to why that parti- cular insurgency attempt is important to students of guerrilla war- fare. Part I researches Che, the revolutionary leader, and attempts to illustrate developments that shaped his evolution into a leading figure in the world's revolutionary Marxist movement. Part II deals with Che's preparations for and conduct of the Bolivia revolution; this section addresses the covert support from Cuba in planning the insurgency and Guevara's tactical execution of the war. Part III studies the Bolivia government's response and the role played by the United States in assisting the counter guerrilla effort. Research material included both primary and secondary sources. Che's own writing's provide valuable insights into his character, while diaries of his fellow guerrillas in Bolivia complement Guevara's account of those fateful days. In particular, Daniel James' biography, Che Guevara, and his translations of the Bolivian diaries served as invaluable aids to this research. I also attemp- ted to obtain material that offered various viewpoints concerning the subject in an effort to produce an unbiased account. Since Che Guevara, above all else, was controversial, sources representing widely different perspectives of the man and his life were readily available. The reader is left to judge if the following account of Che Guevara in Bolivia presents a balanced, accurate portrayal of the man and his ill fated attempt to create "...two, three, many Vietnams..."4 Part I THE REVOLUTIONARY Chapter I THE LEADER - HIS EARLY YEARS The study of the wars since 1945 reveals many different types and forms of conflict. A long civil war in China ended and in the ensuing thirty years an unbroken series of revolts, invasions, and terrorist acts have plagued the world. The causes defy simple description and the results have often challenged traditional defi- nitions of victory and defeat. Complex, historical circumstances in third world countries have created violent confrontations lead- ing to uprisings that forced changes in the status quo. "Uncondi- tional surrender" frequently gave way to "cessation of hostilities" with neither antagonist clearly the victor. If any one term adequate- ly describes warfare since 1945, perhaps "revolutionary/unconven- tional" or "ideological/political" come closest to representing the true account of these myraid conflicts. These wars also produced unconventional leaders in comparison to the traditional military captains of previous conventional con- flicts of the modern era. Mao Tse Tung, Ho Chi Minh, and Fidel Castro achieved victory without utilizing established tactical man- euvers, sophisticated weapons, and conventional military organiza- tions. All however, earned recognition as highly successful leaders whose achievements matched or exceeded their more tradi- tional counterparts. These men, regardless of their means, accom- plished the ends they sought. In this regard, unconventional war- fare is no different than conventional war: the results very often depend upon the abilities and personalities of the leader. Ernesto Guevara de la Serna's achievements fall far below those of the three men mentioned above. Yet, he ranks as one of the pre- mier revolutionary leaders of recent times. He led no revolt that resulted in the overthrow of a government; in fact, he failed in his one attempt in Bolivia. Guevara's prominence as a revolution- ary leader stems from what he "stood for", his willingness to set the example in leading social revolt.1 His influence transcends his actual accomplishments in the field as he has become a popular symbol of ensuing revolutionary movements. In this sense Guevara, undeniably, rightfully earned the distinction of a revolutionary leader, one who was able to powerfully affect the thoughts and actions of his followers. Noted political scientist James MacGregor Burns in his book, Leadership, addresses the many aspects of this elusive, intangible quality. He draws parallels among great men in their youthful devel- opment and of the family influence on their evolution into leaders as adults.2 Che Guevara's experiences as a child and adolescent in Argentina conform to many of those factors described by Burns. Among the most significant correlations affecting the develop- ment of leaders proposed by Burns is an "...intense positive attach- ment to one parent coupled with ... an intensely traumatic and nega- tive youthful experience."3 Ernesto, the oldest child of a middle- class Argentine couple, suffered from asthma which he contracted as a very young child. His mother, an avid swimmer, regularly took her son to a local yacht club. After one swim on a particularly chilly day, the child became very ill and was later diagnosed by a doctor as having a severe asthmatic condition.4 Mrs. Guevara was convinced that the ill-advised swim largely caused her son's asthma: these guilt feelings then significantly affected her maternal rela- tionship with her oldest child. She assumed responsibility for his schooling since Ernesto's sickness prevented him from attending school on a regular basis. An educated woman in her own right, she greatly influenced Ernesto's early development and an intense, life- long bond formed between mother and child. This relationship assumes an even more meaningful glimpse into Ernesto's social and political evolution into a revolutionary because of the mother's liberal views and avid antifascist feelings. Even after Ernesto's rise to an im- portant leader in Cuba, he always confided in her.5 If this intense attachment to his mother helped shape Guevara's leadership development, the traumatic experience of asthma apparently affected his personality to an even greater degree. As a youth, Ernesto refused to allow his illness to prevent him from partici- pating in strenuous physical activities. Andrew Sinclair, one of his biographers wrote: By temperment, Che looked on difficulties as challenges. Disabilities were to be defeated, barriers to be broken. A marked trait of Che's personality throughout his life appeared in his early fight against asthma. He became an athlete in spite of terrible attacks which forced him to run off the rugby field to inhale his medicine.6 Ernesto's determination to lead a normal childhood despite his handi- cap repeatedly manifested itself in his relationship with his peers. The first indications of his early leadership qualities can be found in observations by classmates, who describe Ernesto as "...incredibly sure of himself and totally independent in his opinions...very dyna- mic, restless and unconventional."7 His nature was to challenge the impossible. According to Burns, political schooling can also influence a child's emergence as a leader, another premise which surfaced dra- matically in researching Ernesto's youthful development. Children of lower socio-economic background are less likely to become politi- cized than those from higher economic status. Children from the middle and upper classes seem to frequently challenge the status quo and develop a sense of purpose which often enables them to pro- ject a sense of leadership at an early age.8 They also encounter more opportunities for leadership. Although no evidence exists that Ernesto formulated any par- ticular political ideology until he reached adulthood, he grew up in a family environment where the parents encouraged open discus- sion on any subject. Both parents, particularly the mother, were politically oriented, dynamic, and open-minded.9 As a child, Ernesto detested the upper class whom he believed corrupted and exploited Argentina and he never hesitated to criticize them open- ly. He apparently took a great deal of pleasure in dressing like a bohemian rebel, choosing to wear baggy trousers, dirty shirts, and shaggy hair.10 Unlike most children who constantly seek the approval of their peers, Ernesto preferred to shock them through unconventional manner and dress. Ernesto further increased his own political awareness by travel- ing extensively throughout South America as a teenager. He wandered over the continent, usually with little or no money, finding odd jobs until he could obtain the funds to move on to his next destina- tion. As a result, Guevara experienced firsthand the poverty so prevalent in Latin America. His travels as a young man took him to many countries, including Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and Guatemala (with even a short sidetrip to Miami). Invariably, Guevara's observa- tions reinforced his conviction that the ruling classes exploited the poor. It was at this point that Ernesto decided to forego a career in medicine. He discarded the degree that qualified him as a doctor and chose, instead, to pursue revolutionary change. In a speech made in 1960 Che summarized those experiences: Because of the conditions in which I traveled, I came into close contact with poverty and hun- ger and disease. I discovered that I was unable to cure sick children through lack of means and I saw the degradation of undernourishment and constant repression. In this way I began to realize that there was another thing which was as important as being a famous researcher or making a great contribution to medical science: and that was to help these people.11 Clearly, Ernesto's commitment to social change advanced to a more radical level after his visit to Guatemala in early 1954. In his own words, "I was born in Argentina, I fought in Cuba, and I began to be a revolutionary in Guatemala."12 When he arrived in Guatemala City, Jacobo Arbeniz, the president, had completed the distribution of a vast amount of land formerly owned by the country's landowners, including 11,000 acres belonging to the United Fruit Company. The Arbeniz regime was immediately declared a communist backed government by the U.S. Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles.13 An invasion force under Carlos Castillo Armas, backed by the CIA, succeeded in overthrowing the Arbeniz government. As one of Castillo's first acts as president, he returned the expro- priated lands to their former owners. Ernesto frantically watched these events and actively attempted, to no avail, to mobilize opposition by approaching the various lead- ers of left wing organizations in Guatemala City with whom he had become associated. He only succeeded in drawing attention to him- self and probably would have faced imprisonment by the new govern- ment if the Argentine ambassador had not granted him political asylum in the embassy. Declared a communist by the new regime, Guevara managed to arrange safe conduct out of the country and departed Guatemala on a train bound for Mexico City.14 Guatemala marked a transition in the life of Che Guevara. Pre- viously, his involvement in social reform had remained relatively passive, but his attempts to rally the Guatemalan leftists demon- strated his willingness to actively lead others in the cause. Che's leadership development as a child had followed the traditional path described by Burns. The middle-class youth with an intense attach- ment to his mother and handicapped by asthma had emerged as an adult with distinct leadership traits. The Guatemala experience also caused Guevara to shift from a traditional left of center liberal reformer to a Marxist revolu- tionary. He had begun to seriously study communism and was clearly a confirmed Marxist-Leninist when he departed Guatemala. The passive, ineffective response by the Guatemalan communists to the Castillo invasion convinced Che that party slogans and words were not enough to implement social change. The true path to fighting imperialism and tyranny followed the course of armed revolt. When Ernesto Guevara left Guatemala he was completely dedicated to revolu- tionary change. The revolutionary only needed a revolution. Chapter II THE REVOLUTIONARY LEADER Ernesto Guevara arrived in Mexico City on September 21, 1954. Although the 26 year old exile carried virtually no material possessions, he brought with him an abundance of ideological pur- pose, freshly molded by his experiences in Guatemala. Closely associated with the leftist movement in Guatemala, Che was fasci- nated with the prospect of contributing to the triumph of commu- nism in Latin America. He became widely read in Marxist-Leninist theory and, although Che thoroughly enjoyed debating the details of the communist philosophy, he was unequivocally committed to its basic doctrine. Che's strongest political emotion, however, was a "...deep seated hostility towards the United States."1 He believed the aggression in Guatemala was the work of "Yankee Imperialism", man- ifested by the presence and actions of John Foster Dulles, the United Fruit Company, and the Central Intelligence Agency. He was devoted to fighting imperialism through armed revolt, a commitment that would influence his acts as a revolutionary for the rest of his life. The Guatemala experience convinced Che that another foe contri- buted to the oppression of the people, the regular army. This was the tool that the existing system used to maintain itself in power. The failure of the Guatemalan Army to adequately defend their coun- try from invasion provided condemning evidence in Che's mind that these forces were corrupt and ineffective in combating imperialist aggression. He believed that the destruction of the existing re- gime's regular army was essential to the revolution's success. After his triumphant march into Havana in 1959 with Fidel Castro, Che quickly put this vital lesson into effect by supervising the ruthless purge of Cuba's regular army.2 In Mexico the stage was set for Che's complete transformation from idealist to revolutionary. An intelligent, rebellious youth who wandered over a continent observing social inequalities, poverty, and corruption now became a true revolutionary with a cause. All he needed was a revolution. He found it in Mexico. Mexico City harbored a small community of Cuban exiles who had unsuccessfully attempted the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista in 1953. Led by Fidel and Raul Castro, this group was actively preparing for a second incursion into their island homeland. Guevara, who had obtained work as a doctor, met the Castro brothers through one of his patients. In July 1955 Che was introduced to Fidel Castro at a small apartment on Calle Emparan 49, later to become famous as the general headquarters of the Cuban Revolution.3 Fidel's impressions of this Argentine idealist explain why Che quickly adopted the Cuban cause as his own: He was filled with a profound spirit of hatred and loathing for imperialism, not only because his political awareness was already considerably developed but also because shortly before, he had the opportunity of witnessing the criminal imperialist intervention in Guatemala through the mercenaries who aborted the revolution in that country. A man like Che did not require elaborate arguments. It was enough for him to know that there were men determined to struggle against that situation, arms in hand; it was enough for him to know that those men were in- spired by genuinely revolutionary and patriotic ideas. That was more than enough.4 The revolutionary had found his revolution. Che joined Castro's group as a doctor but his performance as a member of the band demon- strated his potential as a leader. Revolutionary leadership demands dedication, single-mindedness, ideological motivation, courage, and a commitment to conflict.5 Che quickly proved that he possessed those qualities in abundance. Castro had obtained the services of Colonel Alberto Bayo to train his men in guerrilla tactics. Bayo, a former officer in the Spanish Republican Army, had a great deal of guerrilla warfare ex- perience gained in Morrocco against the Arabs and in the Spanish Civil War. Castro and Bayo set up a training camp on a large ranch in the mountainous Chalco district of Mexico.6 Bayo combined the lessons of Mao Tse-Tung with his own experiences and conducted a very rigorous training camp. His curriculum included guerrilla organization, marksmanship, demolitions, and tactics. Guevara excelled under Bayo's tutelage and was rated the star pupil at the Click here to view image end of the course. Che also earned the same respect from his fellow students who characterized him as a "...brilliant leader and exceptional commander."7 Although the key to post World War II revolutionary movements is the marriage of techniques with ideology, evidence indicates that Fidel Castro did not indoctrinate his trainees with specific communist doctrine at this time. The Cuban revolutionary movement was initially directed in nationalistic terms - the overthrow of a ruthless dictator. Many of the revolutionaries were communists, including Che, but the driving force of the group was the desire to rid Cuba of Batista. Not until the reigns of power were seized did the revolutionary movement follow the classic model of Marxist- Leninist ideology. Che's role in shaping Castro's policies in governing Cuba would emerge much later. Guevara, at this time, con- centrated on learning the techniques of guerrilla warfare. All of Che's biographers address Colonel Bayo's influence on the young revolutionary. Bayo's instruction profoundly affected Che's philosophy of guerrilla warfare. Not only was the experience Ernesto's first formal military training, Bayo introduced him to the guerrilla warfare ideology of Mao; both lessons provided Guevara with practical insights on how to conduct revolutions. Che recog- nized Bayo's contribution to his education when one of the first copies of Che Guevara on Guerrilla Warfare was sent to his former teacher with the following dedication: "To the master, with the affectionate devotion of his pupil, Che."8 Daniel James, in his biography, Che Guevara, submits that Che learned more than just guerrilla tactics at the Mexico camp. the clandestine arrangements of Castro and Bayo in preparing the site for their purposes involved attempts to pose as legitimate real estate investors. The cover included the hiring of laborers to work on the "farm". The entire script was duplicated by Che in Bolivia in 1966.9 On November 25, 1956 eighty-two men departed Tuxpan on the east coast of Mexico aboard the yacht Granma bound for Cuba. The difficult trip, on a boat designed to carry 20 persons, en- countered bad weather at sea and finally landed on Cuba's south- eastern coast near the Sierra Maestra Mountains on December 2, 1956. (See Map #1, page 106). Che's introduction to the rigors of mili- tary intervention first occurred aboard the Granma when he suffered severe asthma attacks; these were to regularly surface during per- iods of stress for the remainder of his life. Just as he responded to similar attacks as a child on the rugby fields of Argentina schoolyards, Che never permitted his affliction to restrict his activities, no matter how difficult the circumstances. Che's initiation into combat also challenged his perseverance in the face of severe adversity. Due to a combination of betrayal and fatal mistakes, Castro's guerrillas met with disaster immedi- ately upon landing. Surrounded by Batista's soldiers, the group of eighty-two was ruthlessly reduced to a mere fifteen men. Guevara suffered superficial wounds during the firefight but managed to remain with the other survivors. Che's conduct during his baptisn of fire, while not heroic, was adequate under the extreme conditions of the one-sided battle. More importantly, Che resolved in his own mind which role he was to play in the Cuban revolution, doctor or combatant. As he fled with his fellow survivors, Che was forced to make a symbolic choice: This was perhaps the first time I was faced with the dilemma of choosing between my dedi- cation to medicine and my duty as a revolu- tionary soldier. At my feet were a pack full of medicine and a cartridge box; together they were too heavy to carry. I chose the cartridge box, leaving behind the medicine pack.10 Che's fateful decision certainly benefitted Fidel Castro and his "July 26 Movement" in the ensuing months and years in the Sierra Maestras. He so distinguished himself in the early battles of the revolution that Fidel began granting Che increased responsibility. As Castro successfully employed his guerrillas against a faltering Batista, his small force grew steadily. In July 1957, Guevara was promoted to "Commandante", the highest rank in the rebel army, and awarded command of the second column of the guerrilla force. He now joined Fidel and Raul Castro as one of the principal leaders of the revolution. Che proved worthy of his new status by leading his men with distinction. His abilities as a leader surface repeatedly in accounts of those days in the Sierra Maestras. He demonstrated unwavering self-discipline and constantly set the example for others, suffering the hardships of his men without reserving any privileges for himself. Che also possessed the quality of charisma and personal magnetism that inspired his followers.11 Finally, he revealed brilliance in executing guerrilla warfare, attacking key lines of communication and maintaining constant pressure on the enemy while skillfully choosing when to fight or withdraw. Che's column fought the final, decisive battle of the revolution at Santa Clara in the central plains of Cuba. The city fell to Che Guevara on New Year's Day, 1959. Four days later he marched into Havana at the head of his column and was hailed as the hero of the revolution. Click here to view image Che's achievements on the battlefields of Cuba propelled him into the world spotlight at the side of Fidel Castro. During 25 months of combat Guevara proved himself under fire as an audacious, brilliant, rebel commander. Che rose to the top of Castro's revo- lutionary army because of his victories in the field and his demon- strated charisma, boldness, and personal magnetism as a leader. The transformation from passive idealist to active revolutionary leader was confirmed in the mountains and central plains of Cuba. The "July 26 Movement" provided Che with his advanced training in guerrilla warfare, enabling him to form a framework for the con- duct of future revolutions. He states in his book, Che Guevara on Guerrilla Warfare, that three fundamental conclusions were revealed in the Cuban revolution: 1) Popular Forces can win a war against an army. 2) One does not necessarily have to wait for a revolutionary situation to arise; it can be created. 3) In the underdeveloped countries of the Americas rural areas are the best battle- fields for revolution.12 These theories glided Che in his future attempts to export revolu- tion in Africa and Latin America. These principles acted as the foundation on which he based his philosophy of social change through armed revolts; they also gained him international fame as a leader in revolutionary thought. Events would prove later that Guevara's theories failed the test of universal application in guerrilla warfare. Che's final attempt to put them into effect in Bolivia would end in his death. Chapter III THE IDEOLOGICAL LEADER According to Burns in his book, Leadership, "...ideological leaders dedicate themselves to explicit goals that require social change and to organizing and leading political movements that pursue these goals."1 Ultimately, such leaders' effectiveness is judged by the achievement of social change. Although some his- torians debate the degree of Guevara's ideological contribution to Castro's revolution, he is widely credited with introducing consistency and organization into the social changes implemented in Cuba.2 Beyond the confines of his adopted island country, Che, unquestionably, asserted himself as an ideological leader. During the seven years following his triumphant march into Cuba's capital, Che Guevara achieved world-wide recognition as a spokesman for radi- cal change in third world countries. Che pursued his goals of revo- lutionary progress through his writings, speeches, and actions. In many respects, Guevara, rather than Castro, became the symbol of the international revolutionary movement. Any analysis of Che Guevara's impact on the Cuban revolution- ary government must first address the relationship between him and Fidel Castro. Both men admired the other and Fidel trusted Che implicitly because he realized that his Argentine lieutenant fos- tered no political ambitions in Cuba. One month after Batista's fall from power, Castro declared through official decree that Che was a Cuban by birth. Thus, Guevara's role in the new hierarchy was legitimized, albeit, by rather artificial means. The relation- ship, born in Mexico and strengthened in the Sierra Maestras, reached its height in Havana. Their association benefitted both men in the ensuing years, but, conflicts between these two strong personalities were inevitable. Martin Ebon, another of Che's biog- raphers, summarizes the differences between the two: But while he shared with Castro a penchant for snap decisions, irregular hours, and anti-United States sentiment, he differed from him in seve- ral personality traits. Simply put, Che was a purist where Fidel was a realist; Che was rigid, where Fidel was flexible or erratic; Che was utopian, where Fidel was worldly.3 These dissimilarities influenced many of the events involving Che Guevara's role as ideological leader in Cuba's revolutionary govern- ment. Che's first assignment in Castro's regime reveals the degree to which he was committed to initiating change through revolutionary means. His involvement in the terrible paredon - the reign of terror following Castro's assumption of power - also resurfaces Che's hatred of the foe identified in Guatemala, the regular army. Guevara led the tribunals against the real and imagined enemies of the revolu- tion. In the name of "revolutionary justice", Che supervised the execution of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people in the wake of Click here to view image Castro's consolidation of power. The exact toll of victims in the paredon cannot be established, but figures vary from 7,876 calculated by anti-Castro exile reports to Che's own admission of at least 1,500 deaths.4 Che perceived no injustice in this sys- tematic slaughter of "enemies of the people", particularly since most were former members of the "oppressor army". The specific charge against a defendant meant little in Che's judgement; the accused stood before him guilty of the much larger crime of ser- ving in the ranks of Batista's regular army. The massive blood- letting revealed Che's willingness to deal with foes ruthlessly. He, however, saw the purpose in revolutionary political terms; it was absolutely necessary to further the aims of social progress through the removal of potential obstacles to the revolution.5 Following his involvement in the paredon, Che was prepared to institute his ideological philosophy in the doctrine and policies of Castro's new government. At the age of 32, he became one of Castro's primary advisors in all matters relating to the direction of Cuba's revolutionary movement. In October 1959, Castro named him director of the Industrial Department of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA); a month later Che also assumed duties as the president of the National Bank of Cuba. These appointments gave him broad policy-making responsibilities in agriculture, industry, and finance. One of his first acts was to oversee the nationalization of plantations, large farms, and major properties, which Che believed represented the first step in an agrarian revolu- tion. In Che's words, "Radical, agrarian reform, the only type which can give land to the peasant, collides directly with the in- terests of the imperialists, large landowners, and sugar and ranch- ing magnates..."6 Che expresses the two themes inherent in his theory for revolutionary progress - distributing resources to the peasants and fighting imperialism. These convictions, which had their roots in Guatemala, greatly influenced his efforts in Cuba and can be detected in his later attempts to export revolution elsewhere. Ideological leaders pursue their goals so intensely that nor- mal human aspirations - those of both the leader and his followers - are subordinated to the purposes of the movement.7 Che personified those traits in his ranking position as a minister in Castro's cab- inet. Accounts of Che's personal and work habits reveal his will- ingness to sacrifice material possessions and emotional needs to the goals of the revolution. By all accounts he was a revolutionary puritan. He despised money and took great pride in the fact that his monthly salary as Minister of Industries never exceeded 125 pesos (then equivalent to $125).8 Che rejected any temptation to lead a life of luxury as an important government official, choosing, instead, to follow a moderate lifestyle. Che was fanatically devoted to the revolution. He now had a wife and family (after his first marriage in Mexico ended in divorce) but Che found little time for parental responsibilities. He relegated his family to the needs of the revolution as revealed by comments in his article, Socialism and Man in Cuba, "The leaders of the revolution bear children who do not learn to say father with their first stammers; wives who must be part of the general sacri- fice..."9 Ideological leaders demand the same sacrifices from their followers and Che was no exception. Ironically, the president of Cuba's National Bank set about to end the pursuit of money. He vehemently opposed capitalism and free enterprise, favoring instead the communist philosophy of a single wage scale with everybody earn- ing according to his needs. The worker's reward was not material gain, but the satisfaction of knowing that his productivity contri- buted to the general well-being of society as a whole.10 Accounts of Fidel Castro's acceptance of Che's radical design for economic reform, the chaos that followed its implementation, and its ultimate failure, reveal Guevara's total commitment to Marxist-Lenin tenets, regardless of the sacrifices involved by those affected. Underlying Che's dogmatic injection of basic communist doctrine into Cuba's agrarian society is the confirmation of his ideological philosophy, which is highly relevant in analyzing his later attempts to export revolution to Bolivia. Che saw his radical economic steps as a necessary extension of the fight against impe- rialism. Socialism provided the means to subvert the imperialists' grip on the worker by eliminating the pursuit of money for indivi- dual productivity. In Che's own words, socialism could supply "a future in which work will be man's greatest dignity, in which work will be a social duty as well as a true human pleasure and the ulti- mate act of creation."11 Thus, the ideological leader emerges during the turbulent years following Batista's capitulation. His reputation grew worldwide as he was portrayed by the international press as Cuba's most potent political influence and generally credited with the broad formulation of radical policies within Castro's government. Along with Fidel and Raul, Che became a member of Cuba's "Unholy Trinity".12 Fidel then provided Che with the means to further his international reputation while representing Cuba's interests throughout the world. Che became Castro's roving ambassador, traveling on important mis- sions to various communist and non-alligned countries. Click here to view image Guevara, although steadfastly loyal to Fidel during his tra- vels, placed his mentor in awkward positions by alienating Cuba's closest ally, the USSR. Eventually, his influence in Cuba would suffer as a result. Che, the purist, did not restrict his verbal attacks to the United States. The Soviet Union received its share of lectures from Guevara, who believed the communist giant could be guilty of imperialistic designs by tying aid to underdeveloped countries to reciprocal trade agreements. He urged the Soviets to stop proposing "mutually benefical trade based upon an unequal law of value and of international relations which are a product of that law."13 Che advanced the idea that the developed socialist coun- tries should finance the emerging revolutions in third world coun- tries - aid in the form of gifts, not loans with strings attached. Rather than accepting the USSR's state socialism/communism as developed by Stalin, Guevara propounded the concepts of true inter- national revolutionary movement. Guevara continued his attack on the USSR by criticizing its so-called peaceful coexistence policy towards the West. Calling the Soviets "Marxist revisionists" Che attacked the Russians' failure to adhere to literal Marxist theories of advancing revolu- tions worldwide. He began to see the world in terms of underdeve- loped versus developed countries and included the Soviets in the latter camp.14 As he continued to include the USSR in his barbs, Che moved closer to the Maoists of Communist China, whose willingness to openly support armed insurrections paralleled his own feelings of socialist governments' responsibilities to nurture struggling revolutions. He exacerbated the situation by stating in an inter- view that "The Cuban people would resist to the last drop of blood any attempt by the USSR to make Cuba a satellite."15 He then pro- ceeded to negotiate an agreement with China for the purchase of Cuban sugar. Che's penchant for criticizing Cuba's closest ally eroded his support in Havana. The old guard communists considered his hereti- cal remarks a betrayal of the worldwide socialist movement headquar- tered in Moscow. It was inevitable that Fidel Castro would begin to view his independent minded minister as a liability, both at home and abroad. Cuba's survival depended upon the USSR's contin- ued economic support and Che's verbal assaults on the financiers in Moscow placed Fidel in an untenable position. The leader of Cuba's pro-Soviet group, Anibal Escalante, finally pressured Castro into accepting Che's resignation from his cabinet in 1965. Escalante blamed Cuba's economic instability and her strained relationship with the Soviet Union on Che's "... impractical projects and patho- logical adventurism."16 Che fell victim to "in-house" ideological disputes within Cuba's communist party which revealed significant powerful positions and groupings in the revolutionary hierarchy. Che's tenure as an ideological leader in Cuba's revolutionary movement was over. Che, at the age of 38, still carried the same revolutionary passions of his youth. He remained the idealist with dreams of leading the oppressed out of the bonds of their oppressors. The rebellious, wandering adolescent from Argentina who became a guerrilla commander in the Sierra Maestras and an ideological leader in Cuba's government began to search for another revolution. Part II THE REVOLUTION Chapter IV THEORIES ON GUERRILLA WARFARE Bernard B. Fall published his famous book, Street Without Joy in 1961, the same year as Che's Guerrilla Warfare. In it he re- counts his observations of a rule which was printed in capital letters at the French guerrilla warfare school in Vietnam and which appeared every month on the first page of its monthly magazine: "Remember - the enemy is not fighting this was as per French Army Regulations."1 Mr. Fall prophetically urged the United States to substitute the word "French" with "American" and to heed the lessons learned by their predecessors in Vietnam. The analogy can also apply to Che Guevara's guerrilla warfare theories, which introduced concepts and methods that did not necessarily follow previously es- tablished doctrine. Although similarities exist in Guevara's ideas with those of other authors on the subject, his foco (A Spanish word used to refer to the center of guerrilla operations) theory remains distinct in many respects. Understanding Che Guevara's concepts on guerrilla warfare requires, first, a review of the experiences that influenced his theories, primarily, the Cuban revolution. Fidel Castro, after the aborted landing on Cuba's southeastern coast, escaped into the Sierra Maestras with only fifteen survivors. This nucleus accom- plished the remarkable feat of overthrowing an established govern- ment in just over two years. Initial successes in the field cap- tured the imagination of Cuba's citizens and resulted in the steady growth of Castro's revolutionary army. The ranks of the guerrillas filled with men and women responding to the cause embodied by Fidel Castro's "July 26 Movement". Che lived and fought in the country- side, alongside the peasants and far away from the cities. Che's foco theory stems directly from his involvement in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. In the narrow context of the Cuban revo- lution, his theory appears to defy argument. Popular forces did win the war against an army; the revolutionary situation that led to victory was created by Fidel Castro without the direction of an established communist party, and the war was won in Cuba's rural areas. Sir Robert Thompson's comprehensive book on warfare since 1945, War in Peace, reveals the fallacies in Guevara's "three lessons" drawn from the Cuban revolution. Because of Batista's corrupt, ruthless regime, Cuba was ripe for revolution. Castro succeeded in bringing the various factions opposing Batista together and he pro- vided leadership to the fragmented groups. Batista had also aliena- ted the middle class and the peasants by completely disregarding individual rights. The army was defeated psychologically, almost from the start. Batista's forces capitulated after losing approximately only 200 of its 30,000 men. This reflected its unwillingness or inability to overcome the wide dissatisfaction with the regime. By the end of the revolution the army was ineffective as an operational force. Finally, Castro achieved victory in the rural areas because of urban and middle class resistance to Batista; they tied down security forces in the cities and towns. Che ignores the fact that Castro also received substantial support from Cuba's cities and towns in the form of supplies and recruits. Although Castro's forces operated from a rural base, the conclusion that the urban areas played no significant role is misleading.2 Despite the argument that Che's theories represent conclusions drawn from unique circumstances existing in Cuba during the late 1950's, his book, Guerrilla Warfare demands serious study. Che's manual not only provides the basis for analyzing his attempt to implement his theories in Bolivia; it has much broader implications in its truly revolutionary precepts for the conduct of insurgencies. Guevara's theories captured the imagination of revolutionaries world- wide and has directly impacted upon their attempts to fight wars of national liberation. Perhaps the most attractive appeal of Che's counsel to poten- tial revolutionaries is its defiance of traditional doctrine, a "revolution in the revolution". Guevara preached the concept of creating a revolutionary situation without the support of the orthodox communist party. He submits that his conclusions "refute the do nothing attitude of those pseudo revolutionaries who procras- tinate under the pretext that nothing can be done against a profes- sional army."3 Che is saying: forget parties, doctrine and theories; do not listen to traditional communist organizations who want to wait for the right time and conditions. He offers the ultimate freedom for revolutionaries, freedom from the bonds of traditional Marxist- Lenin parties with their slow, methodical approach to social change.4 The ideological force behind the revolution begins with a commitment to overthrowing the existing regime and eliminating tyranny. The foco creates the revolutionary situation by seizing the initiative and convincing the people to join them in fighting oppression. Party organization and ideological direction are created after the foco gains momentum. The foco, not the communist party, acts as the catylist for the revolutionary movement. The Cuban revolutionaries won without benefit of the direction of a central party organization. Such revelations defied the communist establishment in Moscow and served to further alienate Che from the international communist community. Che argued emphatically against shifting the revolutionary struggle to the cities. He submits, "...armed revolt can all too easily be smothered when customary civil liberties are suspended or ignored, thus, forcing resistance movements to act clandestinely, without arms, and against enormous dangers."5 Such restrictions do not exist in rural areas, according to Che, where guerrillas can operate with the support of the inhabitants relatively free of government interference. A highly mobile guerrilla force, op- erating in the countryside, enjoys freedom of movement and the ability to strike the opposing forces on more favorable terms. One of Che's biographers, Richard Harris, proposes that this insistence on the rural vice urban base for guerrilla operations reveals the primary descrepancy in Guevara's theories. Latin Ameri- can armies, through the use of counter-insurgency tactics learned from United States advisors, have become highly effective in defeat- ing guerrilla forces in the rural population. More importantly, the increasing migration from the countryside to the rapidly expan- ding cities of Latin American provides excellent breeding grounds for revolution. The unemployment, poverty, and misery existing in the cities create the frustration and discontent necessary for mobi- lizing support for armed revolt.6 Che's strategic aims for conducting guerrilla warfare revolve around the destruction of the regular army. The campaign is conduc- ted in three phases: 1) Survival and adaption to conditions of guer- rilla life. 2) Erosion of enemy strength in the area marked out by the guerrilla group for its own terri- tory. 3) Attacks on the enemy on his own ground, con- centrating blows on communications and bases.7 By executing these three phases, the guerrillas can destroy the army while acting as a catylist for the revolutionary situation to erupt against the existing government regime. During the first phase, the foco is molded into an effective fighting force. Che's instructions during this period of the cam- paign distinctly reflect his own personal values of self-sacrifice and devotion to the cause. The primary characteristic of the guerrilla, according to Che, is dedication to the purposes of social revolution. He must be willing to sacrifice personal needs for the difficult life in the jungle. The ideal foco member is an inhabi- tant of the area of operations because his knowledge of the local terrain and the people will prove invaluable. The guerrilla fighter must be ready to risk his life and to voluntarily sacrifice it if circumstances demand such action. In addition to these moral commit- ments, the good guerrilla fighter must possess the physical stamina to endure the most difficult environmental conditions. Finally, the guerrilla must adapt to a life of almost constant movement in which he will be required to march long distance through very difficult terrain.8 Erosion of the enemy's strength during the second phase involves both political and military objectives. Teach the local populace the aims of the guerrilla band and establish trust by avoiding use- less terrorism, paying for all services and goods, and demonstrating impeccable moral conduct. Concurrently, strike the enemy constantly through the use of ambushes, sabotage, and unpredictable tactics. The foco of 30-50 men should not attempt to hold much territory dur- ing this phase. Instead, create new guerrilla groups when suffi- cient recruits join and, then, expand territory. The final phase of the guerrilla campaign escalates into more aggressive, offensive action directly against the regular army. Combining speed with "hit and run" tactics, the guerrilla force demoralizes the opponent and paralyzes him by cutting off his lines of communication. During this phase the offensive against the army on its own ground begins. At all times, the guerrilla group must treat opposing soldiers with mercy, handle prisoners with dignity, and care for enemy wounded. Conversely, deal with traitors dis- covered in the guerrilla ranks with summary justice. Betrayal by defection has serious consequenses for the guerrilla band and can- not be tolerated.10 Che's Guerrilla Warfare continued by outlining the many require- ments for organizing the guerrilla movement. Everything from medi- cal care, supply, and civil administration to the role of women is discussed. Che treats the practical aspects of guerrilla life with precise detail, revealing a comprehensive, insightful knowledge of how to survive and fight effectively during the guerrilla campaign. Che Guevara's theories contain both similarities and differ- ences with other practitioners of guerrilla warfare. The evolu- tion of warfare through the ages is well documented and "guerrilla" or "revolutionary" tactics can be found in many classic disserta- tions on warfare. Sun Tzu's writings, The Art of War, establish the doctrine followed by all revolutionaries since: deception, flexibility, and concentration against the enemy's weakest point. His theories of offensive strategy, in particular, apply to modern guerrilla warfare techniques. Sun Tzu emphasizes attacking the enemy only when the situation favors the attacker and withdrawing when it does not. Particularily relevant to Che's theories is Sun Tzu's belief that attacking cities is the worst course of action to follow and should only be pursued when no other alternative exists.11 Frequent comparisons are made between Guevara's theories and those expounded by Mao Tse Tung. Certainly, common to both are the tactics of fighting the enemy and the use ot the countryside as a base of operations. Mao Tse Tung's seven fundamental steps in Yu Chi Chan (Guerrilla Warfare) reveal both similarities and differences with Che's theories: 1) Arousing and organizing the people 2) Achieving internal unification politically. 3) Establishing bases. 4) Equipping forces. 5) Recovering national strength. 6) Destroying enemy's national strength. 7) Regaining lost territories.12 Mao's seven steps evolved under unique circumstances and specifi- cally address the eradication and ejection of Japanese forces then occupying China. Yet, many of his precepts apply universally to guerrilla warfare and Che's foco theory, in particular. Mao and Che concur in the necessity of arousing the people, establishing bases, and equipping forces. The most striking difference, however, is Che's claim that political unification is not necessary for success; the revolution can flourish without organized political impetus. Regis Debray, the French writer, documented the revolutionary concepts originating from the Cuban revolution. He claims that Che's foco theory is the "staggering novelty" of the evolution of international revolutionary experience: Under certain conditions, the political and military are not separate, but form one organic whole, consisting of the peoples' army. The vanguard party can exist in the form of the guerrilla foco itself. The guerrilla force is the party in embryo.13 Debray supports Che's rejection of traditional Marxist doctrine. Organizing the masses as a whole can be preempted by a small group of insurgents who act as a focus for the discontented elements already present in the country. The final comparison of Che's theories applies to later devel- opments in urban guerrilla warfare, namely, the strategies of Carlos Marighella, the Brazilian communist. Both believed that a small group of aggressive revolutionaries could ignite popular support; both opposed Lenin's contention that such notions amounted to anarchy rather than revolutionary progress.14 Marighella applied the foco theory to the cities, proposing that through terrorism and armed propaganda, government activity can be disrupted.15 The establishment would be forced to institute additional repressive measures, thus polarizing society and eroding government support. Marighella's primary enemy was the police, unlike Che's target, the regular army. He believed that rural guerrilla operations could not succeed because security forces were too firmly entrenched in the countryside.16 Che's theories of guerrilla warfare cannot be studied in a vacuum. Understanding the foco theory of revolution demands an analysis of the evolution of revolutionary thought expounded by others before and after Che Guevara. Many of Che's precepts are inextricably linked to historical guerrilla warfare doctrine while others are distinctly unique. Like its author, the foco theory remains controversial, defying simple classification and definition. Its impact, however, on others who study or conduct guerrilla war- fare is undeniable. With regard to Che, the foco theory produced much more personal ramifications. Armed with his "three lessons" of the Cuban revolution, Che set out to prove his theories in the mountains of Bolivia. Chapter V PRELUDE TO BOLIVIA Che returned to Cuba in March 1965 following a three month trip that included visits to the United Nations and Africa. Nine- teen months later, he entered Bolivia to embark on his final attempt at leading a revolution. Many factors influenced Che's decision to personally export his foco theory abroad. His position in Cuba was untenable, at best, and his relationship with Fidel Castro had suffered significantly. Che's desire to lead revolutions elsewhere and Castro's willingness to support such endeavors also influenced events leading to Guevara's ill-fated escapade in Bolivia. Finally, Che's personal involvement in Cuba's aborted attempt to support the Congo rebellion played a decisive role in subsequent decisions to try again in a country closer to home. Although Che's prestige among third world countries reached new heights as he became one of the world's primary spokesmen for revolutionary change, his support in Cuba steadily diminished. Despite Castro's demonstrated faith in Guevara, accounts indicate that Cuba's citizens never fully shared their leader's confidence in the Argentine. Their natural distrust of a foreigner entrusted with so much power over their daily lives seemed to prove even more legitimate as Che's economic reforms failed. His four year plan, initiated in 1961, to change Cuba from an agrarian to an industrial based economy disrupted the country's traditional reliance upon the exportation of sugar. Che's prediction that Cuba's standard of living would double by 1965 proved entirely false. Agricultural production fell below the levels attained before the revolution and the entire economy suffered as a result. His policies were based on ideology which ignored practical realities. Che was forced to admit that his plan for accelerated industrialization was a failure.2 Che's attacks on the USSR continued to add impetus to those who sought his removal from power. Che's unorthodox theories for con- ducting revolutions, his critical stance towards the Soviet's "peaceful coexistence" efforts, and his preference for China's for- eign relations policies inevitably placed him in jeopardy of falling into disfavor. At a meeting with Castro shortly after returning to Havana in 1965, Che proposed that Cuba follow a foreign policy in- dependent from Moscow. When Castro rejected the recommendation, Che realized that his days of influencing Cuba's political direc- tion were over.3 The most significant factor affecting Che's loss of influence in Cuba surfaced in his conflicts with Fidel Castro. Che's contin- uing verbal feud with the Soviets placed Castro in the increasingly awkward position of sponsoring an individual attacking those whose support was vital to Cuba. Che further irritated his mentor by openly criticizing him. In his article, "Socialism and Man in Cuba", Che declared Castro's 1953 attempt to take the Moncada Barracks a "failure" and a "disaster", criticism never before uttered by any of Fidel's followers.4 Castro retaliated against Che's criticisms in a speech made in July 1965 in which he attacked Guevara's principles of "moral incentives" as a basis of social reform.5 These incidents, plus others, illustrate the ambivalent relationship then existing between the two men. Despite these spats, Castro and Guevara remained, basically, loyal to one another. Che still regarded Fidel with deep affection and admiration, feelings reciprocated by Castro. Neither allowed their differences of opin- ion to interfere with later efforts to work together in exporting revolutions. Thus, Che's fall from grace in Cuba can be attributed to the failure of his economic reforms, his attacks on the Soviet Union, and, finally, policy clashes with Castro. His loss of power in Cuba dictated the pursuit of revolutionary leadership opportunities elsewhere. Che never lost his dream of leading a revolution in his own country and then throughout the world. He possessed the charac- teristics of both theorist and activist. Che and the Castro brothers had discussed conducting revolutions outside Cuba since 1959 and the trio considered themselves a "self-appointed revolu- tionary high command."6 Cuban schools for guerrilla training of political exiles and ambitious revolutionaries prospered, preparing others to follow the example of the "July 26 Movement" in their own countries. Che supervised these efforts for Castro and was disig- nated to determine who should receive money, arms, and manpower. The list of Cuban supported revolutions during this period is im- pressive, although the results were minimal. Beginning in April 1959, when Castro sponsored an attempt to overthrow the government of Panama, Cuba proceeded to assist insurrectionists in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina.7 All ultimately failed but the setbacks did not deter Castro's deter- mination to place Cuba at the head of international attempts to force revolutionary change. Two of the aborted insurgencies are particularly relevant to Che Guevara's later attempts to lead revolutions: those in Bolivia and Argentina. Cuba's ambassador to Bolivia, at Che's behest, or- ganized a subversive drive to promote unrest among Bolivia's workers and peasants in 1961. The Bolivian government discovered the plot, expelled the Cubans and arrested 150 leading communists, effectively terminating the conspiracy. Among the Bolivians who assisted the Cubans were Jorge Kolle Cueto and Mario Monje Molina, communist party officials who subsequently would play significant roles in Guevara's later Bolivia campaign.8 Che ultimately desired to bring revolution to his homeland and had established a network of subversion in Argentina as early as 1961. Like the Bolivian plot, the conspiracy was foiled; this led to Argentina breaking diplomatic relations with Cuba in January 1962. A year later, Che sponsored a group of insurgents under the leader- ship of Jorge Recardo Masetti, an Argentine journalist turned revo- lutionary. Masetti established a base of operations in Bolivia and attempted to implement Che's foco theory by infiltrating a small group of guerrillas into neighboring Argentina in the hope of crea- ting a foco insurrecional. Masetti, calling himself "Comandante Segundo", committed a series of mistakes that quickly led to the group's defeat and his demise. The parallels between Masetti's adventure and Che's Bolivia campaign are unmistakable. Both men established a base in southeastern Bolivia, compromised the security of their forces foolishly, and committed their guerrillas prematurely against the enemy. Both died in the jungles of South America.9 Che's function in Castro's early sponsorship of Latin America revolutions was restricted to providing moral and logistical support to the participants rather than personal involvement in the fighting. That relatively passive role changed in 1965. Events causing his fall from power in Castro's government, coupled with his personal desire to return to a more active role in the revolutionary effort, dictated a new course of action. Ironically, Che's return to combat occurred in a country far away from his native region - the Belgian Congo. This brutal civil war erupted after a military coup deposed the Soviet backed Patrice Lumumba in 1960. Fighting continued be- tween the rebel factions and the government for the next seven years.10 Che had become committed to the struggle in Africa, as evidenced by his remarks in his United Nations speech in December 1964 that "The free men of the world must be prepared to avenge the crime committed in the Congo."11 Che's years of travel had led him to Africa frequently and he established close ties with many revolutionary figures on the continent, including the Congo- lese rebel commanders. Soon after his return to Cuba in March 1965, Che convinced Castro to permit him to lead a contingent of guerrillas to assist the Congolese rebel effort. Castro agreed and in July Che departed with about 125 hand-picked Cubans. The group infiltrated into the African country and began to serve as advisors to the rebel troops under the leadership of Gaston Soumialet and Pierre Mulele.12 The campaign soured early for Che. The rebel tribesmen were illiterate and ill-equipped to fight President Tshombe's highly effective European mercenaries. Although little is known about the details of his experiences in the African jungle, evidence indicates that Che became disillusioned with this ruthless civil war. One of his fellow guerrillas who was to later accompany Che into Bolivia, Ciro Roberto Bustos, stated that Guevara confided to him that "There is no will to fight, the leaders are corrupt."13 The revolutionaries in the Congo evidently failed to meet Che's standards of ideological purpose and individual code of conduct. Sources differ in recounting events leading to Che's departure from the Congo. Disgust and disappointment in the rebels' conduct of the war may have caused Che to decide to return to Cuba approx- imately nine months later.14 Another theory proposes that Castro was forced by external pressures to withdraw his mercenaries. The Soviets, alarmed that discovery of the Cubans would cause an inter- national crisis, may have urged Castro to order Che and his group home. Peking may have also affected the circumstances leading to the Cuban withdrawal. Castro had started a feud with the Chinese, accusing them of plotting to subvert the Cuban army by distributing anti-Soviet literature to the Cuban troops. Peking retaliated by threatening to end its substantial financial support of the Congo- lese rebels if Che and his guerrillas did not leave.15 Castro, facing pressure from both the USSR and Red China, may have decided that the stakes were too high. Che's reasons for ending the Congo adventure may be unclear, but the results of the campaign cannot be debated. The attempt had failed, a bitter blow to Che. The experience, however, seems not to have dimmed his revolutionary spirit. He returned to his adopted country more determined than ever to lead a successful revolution outside of Cuba. Chapter VI WHY BOLIVIA? Che Guevara's decision to choose Bolivia as his next revolu- tion was not generated after his return from the Congo. He had previously considered Bolivia. Although the aborted campaign in Africa may have acted as a catylist in setting his plan into action, Che revealed his intentions while in the Sierra Maestras almost a decade earlier: I've got a plan. If some day I have to carry the revolution to the continent, I will set myself up in the selva at the frontier between Bolivia and Brazil. I know the spot pretty well because I was there as a doctor. From there it is possible to put pressure on three or four countries and, by taking advantage of the frontiers and the forests, you can work things so as never to be caught.1 These remarks, coupled with Cuba's attempt to subvert the Bolivian government in 1961, indicate that Che had long considered the coun- try well-suited for a foco style revolution. Bolivia shared many geographical, economic, social, and poli- tical characteristics with other countries in Central and South America. Inhospitable terrain, abject poverty, marked class dis- tinctions, and political corruption exist in many Latin American countries and Bolivia is certainly no exception. Such comparisons, however, reveal only general commonalties and omit many of Bolivia's unique features. Like all nations, Bolivia is a product of its past and any conclusion that it is essentially no different than any other country in South America ignores its distinct historical evolution. A landlocked nation, Bolivia is bordered by Peru, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. (Refer to Map #2, page 107). The "Swit- zerland of South America"2 is a geographically diverse country. Towering mountains, windswept vistas, and deep tropical valleys divide Bolivia into many distinct regions. The Andes Mountains, running north to south, separate the western high plateau, the Alti- plano, from the tropical savannahs and plains to the east. The Altiplano contains three fourths of the population and its capital city, La Paz. This area is also the heart of Bolivia's economic resources, the tin mines.3 These natural geographical barriers have also created separate cultural and economic regions. Although mining dominates the economy, only 4% of its labor force work in the mines. Over 50% of the popu- lation is Indian, most of whom make a living through farming. The predominant Indian ethnic group, the Quechuas, remain culturally distinct, speaking their own language rather than Spanish. Highly distrustful of outsiders, the Quechua's loyalty rarely extends beyond their own families.3 In contrast, the caucasian Bolivian upper class consider themselves from purely Spanish heritage. This group forms the foundations of wealth and political power in Bolivia. Traditionally, a notion of race superiority exists among these citizens, fostering a very class-conscious society.4 A country of great natural wealth, Bolivia has suffered ex- ploitation of its resources since the Spaniards discovered the vast silver deposits in the Altiplano during the 16th century. This "Beggar on a throne of gold"5 has surrendered an estimated $200 billion worth of mineral resources over the ensuing centuries, with very little profits remaining in the hands of its inhabitants.6 When Che entered Bolivia in 1966, the country had the highest unem- ployment rate in South America and only 40% of its people were lit- erate.7 Despite massive economic support from the United States, Boli- via still labored under extreme poverty. United States foreign aid amounted to 457.3 million dollars since 1946 with 38.8 million dollars sent to Bolivia in 1966 alone.8 Since 1954, no other South American country had received more assistance from the U.S. than Bolivia.9 Bolivia's political history reflects its turbulent beginnings during South America's independence movements in the early 19th century. Since Simon Bolivar became its first president in 1825, forty-four men had served as the head of government by 1965.10 Bolivia possessed the dubious distinction of being the most prone to revolutionary change of all South American countries. One of the most significant causes of continued political turmoil in the 20th century was the bloody Chaco war with Paraguay during 1930-32. Bolivia lost 50,000 troops and a large portion of the Gran Chaco territory in the southeast. The aftermath of this humiliating defeat saw the formation of the National Revolutionary Movement (MNR). In 1952, the MNR, under the leadership of Paz Estenssoro, gained the support of the powerful labor movement and succeeded in overthrowing the La Paz government. Widely regarded by Boli- vians as "their revolution", the Paz Estenssoro government institu- ted many economic and social reforms, including national land real- location and universal sufferage.11 In 1964, Paz's popular vice president, air force General Rene Barrientos, took the reigns of power in a bloodless coup. His theme was the continuation of the revolution, not the overthrow of it, an important platform since the idea of the Bolivian revolution was still very much alive. Barrientos continued the reforms begun in 1952 and strengthened the army. By the mid 1960's Bolivia's army enjoyed considerable prestige and improving morale.12 Barrien- tos' flamboyant behavior earned him the title, "Latin America's Captain Marvel", and he used his popularity to build a wide base of support. He was confident enough to conduct a government controlled election in 1966, winning formal election to the presidency.13 Bolivia's historical development had molded its social, economical, and political makeup into a distinct entity. Bolivia, in 1966, shared little in common with Cuba's situation ten years earlier. Unlike Batista, Barrientos enjoyed general popular support anong the people. Although the country's upper class commanded a disproportionate share of the power and wealth, steps had been taken to redistribute land and generally improve the plight of the poor. Cubans, under the Batista regime, existed in a state of regression while the people of Bolivia perceived pro- gressive reform and social improvement. Most significantly, Boli- vians generally believed that their "revolution" had occurred in 1952. In historical hindsight, Bolivia appears to have been an ex- tremely poor choice for conducting a foco insurrection in 1966. The essential ingredients necessary for igniting revolutionary fervor among the people simply did not exist. Che's guerrilla warfare concepts, when applied to Bolivia, did not mesh with the realities of existing circumstances. On the contrary, his theories constituted a formula for failure. Why, then, did he choose Bolivia? Understanding the steps leading to Che's selection for his next revolution first requires an appreciation for Cuba's position in 1965 as the vanguard for the worldwide "wars of national liberation". The newly formed Organization of Solidarity of Asian, African, and Latin American Peoples (commonly called the Tricontinental) met in Havana during January 1966. Che's revolutionary concepts were the central topic discussed by the 400 delegates attending the con- ference. Castro was publically committed to maintaining his leadership role in the international revolutionary movement.14 At the Tricontinental conference, he created the Latin American Solidarity Organization (OLAS) with the charter to control and coordinate revolutionary activities in the western hemisphere.15 With this framework as the foundation for extending Cuba's influence in Latin America, Che Guevara inherited a natural role in its implimentation. Following his failure in the Congo, Che's status in Cuba was in limbo, dictating a reevaluation of his own revolutionary aspirations. All evidence indicates that Che assigned himself the mission of Bolivia. Fidel, alarmed at Cuba's failure to follow through on his promise of carrying successful armed struggles abroad, evidently believed that his prestige could be restored if Che could succeed in Bolivia. Castro promised to support the campaign, even at the risk of incurring the wrath of the Soviet Union for sponsoring another insurgency without its sanction. Che's strategic plans for revolution sprung from his oldest dream of liberating the Latin American people and later evolved into a desire to lead a continental movement independent of Moscow. He fantasized about an alliance of revolutionary governments in the western hemisphere with Cuba serving as the ideological capital.16 Che was not alone in yearning for another fight. Many of his com- patriots from the Sierra Maestras willingly followed him into Bolivia. Of the 17 Cubans who accompanied Che on his final mission, five held the rank of "commandante" in the Cuban army, one was the chief of Cuba's border forces, and seven others were army officers of lesser rank.17 This nucleus of guerrilla fighters was to form the Bolivia foco. Central to Che's strategic theme was his old nemesis, the United States. He believed that the bonds of oppression in Latin America could only be broken by ejecting the imperialist giant from the north. Recognizing that the Vietnam war was drawing the U.S. into a morass that was causing significant internal strife, Che believed that simultaneous confrontations in Latin America could lead to the final defeat of his ultimate enemy. It is the road of Vietnam; it is the road that should be followed by the people; it is the road that will be followed in Our America... The Cuba Revolution will today have the job of... creating a Second or Third Vietnam of the world.18 Che considered other countries for his insurgency, particu- larly, Peru and Argentina. He found political conditions unfavor- able and turned his attention to Bolivia. His analysis of circum- stances in that country stemmed from his personal experiences there in 1953 and periodic reports that he received in Cuba from sources supposedly familiar with conditions in Bolivia. When Che stopped in Bolivia in 1953 during his travels as a young man, Bolivians were celebrating the previous year's overthrow of its repressive government. Revolutionary fervor ran high and Che was impressed with the people's spirited acceptance of radical social reform. He was convinced that in the years since his visit, politicians, generals, and the United States had corrupted the revolution. Two Bolivian communists, Coco and Inti Peredo, reinforced Che's analysis of conditions in Bolivia when they visited Cuba in 1962 and 1965. They, along with other wishful thinkers, told of widespread dissent with Barrientos. Finally, the Cuban intelligence service reported that the Bolivian security forces were the most badly organized in Latin America.19 Che's intelligence regarding the social conditions in Bolivia were exaggerated, but the strategic geographical importance of Bolivia, for Guevara's purposes, remains unquestioned. Bolivia lies in the heartland of South America and borders most of the con- tinent's major countries. From the sparsely populated areas in southeastern Bolivia, guerrillas could strike at neighboring coun- tries with a secure sanctuary in easy reach. Che planned to establish a base of operations in the Nancahuazu River valley, a tropical, heavily forested region in the southeast. After organizing his foco, building a logistical cache, and training his guerrillas, Che intended to strike north at three of Bolivia's major cities: Cochabama, Santa Cruz, and Sucre. Once his force controlled these cities, the railway link to Argentina would be severed, and the Gulf Oil Company pipeline cut that runs between Santa Cruz and Camiri. By then breaking his guerrillas into small groups, Che hoped to cause the Bolivian army to disperse, placing themselves at the mercy of aggressive "hit and run" tactics. In accordance with foco doctrine, Che counted on the campesinos (peasants) and miners to rally to his support as the guerrillas demonstrated their ability to defeat the army. Once the Bolivian guerrilla movement was firmly established, Che planned to infiltrate other focos into Peru and Argentina. His timetable called for inserting a nucleus of guerrillas into Peru by the end of 1967. Convinced that the United States would commit advisors to Bolivia once the insurgency gained momentum, Che hoped to draw the U.S. into ever increasing commitments throughout Latin America. As the second and third "Vietnam" erupted, the hated "Yanquis" would rapidly exhaust themselves trying to suppress the uprisings.20 Che dismissed certain fallacies in his plan. Significant poli- tical and military dangers imperiled his scheme from the start. The communist party in Bolivia was seriously split between Pro-Peking and Pro-Moscow lines. Che distrusted the Moscow group and had pro- mised Fidel that he would not deal with the Peking faction. Che minimized this split and opted to seek the support he needed from the few Castroites in the party, primarily, the Paredo brothers. 21 The foco theory of revolution rejected the need for orthodox commu- nist party direction but its author acknowledged the necessity for organized support within Bolivia to sustain his guerrilla movement. Che apparently was confident that he could unify the two factions once his insurgency gained popularity.22 Che's confidence was not deterred by the fact that Bolivian leftist groups had a history of failure whenever they attempted to promote armed revolt.23 Che's contempt for the Bolivian army was based upon its past performance and current appearance. It had never won a war and filled its ranks with one year conscripts. Almost none of the sold- iers had received any counter-insurgency training. These short- comings, however, belied an important fact about the Bolivian armed forces. Since 1952 the army had engaged in extensive civic action programs throughout the country. The conscripts were true "citizen- soldiers", rather than professional fighters, and they were per- ceived as a "peoples' army".24 The army's progressive image differ- ed greatly from Batista's ruthless soldiers. Che could not count on Bolivia's peasants to betray the regular army for his benefit. Final preparations for the campaign commenced during, or just after, the Tricontinental conference in January, 1966. Castro met with the Bolivian communist chief, Mario Monje, and discussed the plan. Moje reportedly pledged his full support for the project.25 If Che perceived and analyzed the weaknesses in his plan, he dismissed them as of little consequence when compared to the many favorable conditions that he saw in Bolivia. Its geographical importance for conducting further operations, coupled with the reports depicting a corrupt government and weak army rendered Bolivia an ideal target for his revolution. Che, by selecting Bolivia, engendered his own destiny. He prepared to embark on his last mission. Chapter VII THE FOCO IN ACTION Final Preparations - January 1, 1966 - November 2, 1966 Fidel Castro's meeting with Monje during January 1966 propelled the Bolivian campaign into its active planning and preparatory stage. Although Che did not officially join the foco until ten months later, important events occurred in the ensuing months as he prepared for his final mission. During this period Che went into hiding. Amid worldwide press speculation concerning his whereabouts, reports emerged of Che's death in the Dominican Republic,1 followed by accounts of appearances in Columbia and other Latin American coun- tries.2 Daniel James addresses the mystery of Che's activities after returning from Africa, admitting that the paucity of historical facts renders any account pure speculation. According to James, Che pro- bably went into seclusion for a time but evidence also indicates that he may have secretly visited Bolivia in early 1966.3 Notwithstanding the secrecy surrounding Che's activities while preparations progressed for the operation, details of his compatriots' actions exist from various sources. The most fascinating aspect of Che Guevara's Bolivian campaign is the existance of four diaries outlining the day to day activities of the guerrillas. In addition to Che, three of his subordinates produced diaries: Israel Reyes Zayas (Alias "Braulio"), Harry Villegas Tamayo ("Pombo"), and Eliseo Reyes Rodriguez ("Rolando").1 These three Cuban army officers augment Che's revealing accounts of events during the ill-fated in- surgency. Che's diary covers only the period he spent in Bolivia, while the other three also disclose glimpses of activities that took place before their leader arrived to take command of the foco. Rolando's initial diary entry, dated August 11, 1966 reads: "Today our training begins.", revealing that he and other guerrillas received formal training before embarking on the operation. Rolando's next entry tells of visits to the Cuban training camp by "Ramon" (one of Che's code names during the campaign) and "C" (Castro).4 As early as March 1966, Bolivians were receiving guerrilla training in one of Cuba's many revolutionary "schools".5 Meanwhile, preparation for the guerrillas' infiltration into Bolivia continued at a steady pace. Cuban agents coordinated with communist party officials in La Paz, arranging for logistical support of the forthcoming operation. Working with these agents was Tamara Banke Bider, a young woman of Argentine-German nationality who later gained international fame as "Tania". Tania had met Che in East Germany while serving as his interpreter during one of his visits in 1960.6 She became enthralled with Che and his revolutionary ideas. 1All of the guerrillas, including Che, used one or more code names while operating in Bolivia. Daniel James' book, The Complete Bolivian Diaries of Che Guevara and other Captured Documents lists every alias used by the guerrillas on pages 324-325. Click here to view image The woman subsequently traveled to Cuba where she was recruited and trained by Che to become one of his agents.7 Tania entered Bolivia in 19648 and began establishing important contacts on be- half of her mentor. Under specific orders from Che to obtain stra- tegic and tactical information, Tania proved highly effective.9 Tania also worked for another employer, the KGB.10 Her long association with the Soviet intelligence agency surfaced after the the campaign ended, rendering her loyalties while serving as Che's liaison highly suspect. This controversial double agent was to play a key role in the Bolivia drama, serving two masters - and dying in the process. Following the script originated in Mexico ten years earlier, Che ordered his agents to purchase a farm where the foco could train and organize. In June 1966 the Peredo brothers bought an abandoned 3,000 acre farm for $2,500 at Nancahuazu in the rugged southeastern region of Bolivia. Located fifty miles north of Camiri (refer to Map #3, page 108), Nancahuazu sits in a very hostile en- vironment in a sparsely populated area. Characterized by steep can- yons, mosquitoes, thin reeds, vines, and cacti, the site provided the necessary isolation for Che to begin the critical, initial steps of building an effective fighting force.11 Recruitment of Bolivian guerrillas to augment the Cuban contin- gent continued throughout the summer. Monje promised to supply 20 men from his communist organization and negotiations began with the Bolivian Maoist labor leader, Moises Guevara, in hopes of obtaining miners for the cause.12 Che considered the addition of Bolivian revolutionaries vital to the success of the insurgency, planning to use his veteran Cuban guerrillas to train and lead the natives un- til they were prepared to assume responsibility for liberating their own country.13 Infiltration of the guerrillas from Cuba commenced in late summer. Groups of two and three men flew from Havana to various Eastern Bloc countries where they were able to continue their journey without arousing suspicion.14 Using false passports they again flew across the Atlantic into cities in Latin America, finally slipping into Bolivia by both ground and air transportation. This incremental deployment of the Cubans lasted until the end of the year. Their commander, however, was among the first arrivals, enter- ing Bolivia on November 3, 1966.15 The Beginning - November 3, 1966 - January 31, 1967 Che's itinerary from Cuba into Bolivia cannot be clearly docu- mented. Sources assert three different routes and methods of entry. This conjecture concerning how he entered the country illustrates Che's elaborate attempts to disguise the nature of his journey from Cuba to Bolivia. He entered the country in early November as a clean-shaven, bald man wearing glasses and he carried two Uraguayan passports. One was under the name of Adolfo Mena and the other used the alias Ramon Benitez. Che then traveled to the Nancahuazu farm where he joined three of his guerrillas.16 These four men formed the advance party of the foco. Che opened his diary on November 7th with the words: "A new stage begins today."17 As more Cuban guerrillas and a few Bolivian recruits steadily made their way to the farm, Che directed the construction of Click here to view image underground tunnels, refuges, storage sites, and a well-concealed field hospital.18 Increasing amounts of supplies, ammunition, and weapons were smuggled into the camp from La Paz, approximately 400 miles away. In mid - December the group, now totaling 24 men,19 erected a second camp farther away from the ranch house.20 Che, thinking in terms of a struggle lasting "seven to ten years", in- tended to establish a permanent base that was impregnable.21 Construction of the foco base of operations proceeded as scheduled, but not without problems and mistakes that were to haunt the guerrillas in the future. Upon his arrival, Che dis- covered that the farm was not as isolated as he had believed. Neighbors were nearby, including one right next door, Ciro Alga- ranaz. Algaranaz, who suspected the group of building a cocaine factory, represented the guerrillas' first breach of security.22 Overconfidence led the guerrillas to commit numerous violations of security from the start. Photographs were taken, diaries writ- ten, and wireless communications sent routinely.23 As further in- dication of the group's rather disjointed efforts, Che directed the study of Quechua, only to later discover that this important Indian language, although used in the Bolivian highlands farther south, was not spoken by the local peasants. The people in the Nancahuazu region spoke Guarani.24 A fateful event occurred on December 31 when Mario Monje, the Bolivian communist chief, visited the camp. The results revealed Che's strong beliefs concerning his personal role in the revolution. Monje wanted to control all aspects of the guerrilla movement on Bolivian soil, including the military operations. Che immediately dismissed the proposal as unrealistic, commenting in his diary: "I would be the military chief and I was not going to accept ambigui- ties on this point. Here the talks ended in a stalemate...".25 Monje then talked to the Bolivian guerrillas who unanimously opted to remain with Che. Dismayed at the turn of events, Monje depar- ted and later went to Cuba to present his viewpoint to Castro. Despite Castro's mediation, the breach never healed. Thereafter, the Bolivian communist party gave lip service to the campaign but refused to actively support the operation.26 As training and stockpiling of supplies continued during Janu- ary 1967, the group experienced further problems. Many of the guer- rillas became ill as a result of their field diet and the hostile environment. Occasional friction erupted between the Bolivians Click here to view image and the Cubans, usually regarding the Cubans' leadership positions in the foco. Che's leadership, however, prevailed and the group began to slowly coalesce. A final disturbing episode in January nearly compromised the developing operation. A Bolivian police detachment arrived in response to a report from the neighbor, Algaranaz, that the farm was a cocaine factory. Fortunately for Guevara, the officials found nothing and departed, apparently with- out suspicion.27 Che's analysis of January reflected his main con- cern with the progress so far: the slow recruitment of Bolivian combatants.28 The Long March - February 1 - March 20, 1967 The 24 man foco, which included 17 Cubans (including Che) and 7 Bolivians, completed both camps by the end of January. Che organ- ized the unit into two platoons of equal size, further designating a vanguard, center and rear-guard unit. The Bolivians, because of their inexperience, performed most of the menial tasks. Che quickly pointed out to them, however, that their lowly status was transi- tory. This cadre of natives was ultimately destined to ascend to the leadership positions in Bolivia's struggle for liberation.29 Che believed that his group now required training in the rigors of field operations. After designating one man to remain at the camp, the guerrillas embarked on a march on February 1. Che inten- ded to accomplish three fundamental objectives: to harden his men and teach them how to adjust to the rigors of guerrilla life, to explore the terrain, and to establish a base of popular support.30 Juan Vitalio Acuna Nunez (Joaquin), one of the Sierra Maestra veterans, assumed duties as second-in-command. Communications continued with Havana through a high powered radio, used to broad- cast and receive coded messages. Che planned a march of 25 days. It lasted 48 days because of various unfortunate events which were bad omens that foretold the future of the campaign. From the begin- ning the group was plagued with miserable weather, mosquitoes and other severe hardships. Four of the Cubans suffered from malaria and none of the group was physically prepared for a hard march, in- cluding Che. The 38 year old asthmatic revolutionary discovered that his stamina had diminished considerably since his days in the Sierra Maestras.31 His February 23rd diary entry reveals his physi- cal deterioration: "A black day for me; I made it by sheer guts, for I am very exhaused."32 Their maps proved highly inaccurate and the group wandered over some of the most rugged terrain in Bolivia. Marching and counter- marching, Che exhausted his men. Communications failed and his group regularly became separated. Tragedy struck twice as the guer- rillas attempted to cross rain swollen rivers. Two of the men drowned and valuable supplies were swept away by the torrents. Lack of food added to their misery. Scavenging for edible plants and wild animals to kill became the principle daily activity. Not surprisingly, all of these hardships caused dissension among the guerrillas and incidents of friction between individuals became commonplace. Encounters with local peasants eliminated hopes of achieving the final objective of Che's march, gaining popular support for the insurgency. The peasants' Guarani dialect rendered communication difficult even for the Bolivian members of the group. The natives failed to respond to the revolutionary cause, remaining curious about the guerrillas but unwilling to commit themselves to this strange band. Such responses were to become typical throughout the coming months. Through the month of February and into March the demoralized, exhausted guerrillas wandered through the area northeast of their base camp. During the arduous march their sole contact with the outside world existed through the high powered radio as Castro remained faithful in maintaining contact with his expedition. The guerrillas, lost most of the time, finally found their way back to the Nanchuazu area on March 20.34 As the ragged band approached the campsite, Che recorded another disturbing omen in his diary: "...a small plane was circling..."35 The Guerrilla Offensive - March 21 - July 6, 1967 During the guerrillas' absence from the camp a number of events occurred which greatly affected the progress of the campaign. Rumors had been circulating in La Paz of guerrilla activity in the south- east, creating increasing interest by the police concerning the Nancahuazu farm. New recruits had also arrived at the camp. Most were Bolivians enlisted by Moises Guevara, the labor leader. Coco, the Cuban guerrilla who had not accompanied Che on the march, brought the group into the camp, only to lose two through desertion in early March. The two men had become quickly disenchanted with living in the primitive camp. They left on the morning of March 11, ostensibly to hunt game, and proceeded to Camiri where they tried to sell their rifles. Their actions attracted the police, who arres- ted both men. During questioning the deserters gave detailed accounts of the guerrilla activities at Nancahuazu. The Fourth Army Division, headquartered in Camiri, was alerted by the police. The commander ordered aerial observation of the Nancahuazu site and dispatched a small unit to verify the deserters' stories. On March 17, the army unit reached the camp and discovered various documents, including Braulio's diary and various photos. The soldiers also captured another Bolivian recruit before returning to Camiri.36 Another episode that compromised the guerrillas has since crea- ted controversy regarding Tania, the double agent. Tania, dispatch- ed by Che to Argentina in January for a liaison mission with guer- rilla leaders in that country, returned to Bolivia in early March. She then escorted two men, Regis Debray, the young French leftist writer, and Ciros Bustos, one of Che's Argentine contacts, to the camp. (Che had been notified of both men's upcoming visit via coded message from Havana). The trio rendezvoused in Camiri with Coco, who transported them to Nancahuazu. Tania left her jeep parked on a deserted street in the town. The vehicle eventually attracted police attention, who searched it and discovered a wealth of information about Che's foco, including a notebook list- ing all of his urban contacts. Whether by design or stupidity, Tania sabotaged the operation through her actions.37 In the midst of these dramatic circumstances Che returned to the camp on March 20. Greatly disturbed by the army's discovery of the base camp and infuriated at Tania for her indiscretions, Che assessed the situation. After learning that her jeep had been dis- covered, Che's diary entry reveals his inescapable conclusion: "Everything appears to indicate that Tania is spotted, whereby two years of good and patient work are lost."38 He had no choice but to keep Tania with the group now that her cover in La Paz was des- troyed. Foolish mistakes of such magnitude by an experienced agent should have aroused suspicion but Che appears to have only attribu- ted her actions to simple "feminine stupidity". He restricted his punishment of Tania to an emotional, verbal reprimand. Che, despite the realization that his base was compromised, chose to remain at the site rather than move elsewhere. When sold- iers were discovered in the vicinity, Che decided to take the offen- sive. His guerrillas ambushed an army unit near the camp on March 23, killing seven soldiers and capturing fourteen. The prisoners were interrogated, divested of their clothes, and set free.39 The guerrillas' baptism of fire was a success. The guerrillas regrouped at the camp and joyfully listened to transistor radio broadcasts of their victory. The remaining days of March were used to consolidate the force and prepare for further operations. The foco reached its maximum strength of 43 combatants, which included 17 Cubans (including Che), 23 Bolivians, and 3 Peru- vians.40 The bare majority of Bolivians in the group failed to im- press Che, who characterized most of them as quitters, slackers, and dregs. Tania, Debray, and Bustos remained with the guerrillas as non-combatants. Both of the male visitors were anxious to leave, particularly Debray. His introduction to the realities of guerrilla life, about which he wrote so eloquently, convinced Debray that his contributions to revolutionary warfare should remain theoretical. Che, the activist, was not impressed: "The Frenchman stated too ve- hemently how useful he could be on the outside."41 The guerrillas departed Nancahuazu on April 1 and proceeded to raise havoc with the Bolivian army for the next four months. Che's guerrillas foiled attempts by the army to encircle them, inflict- ing heavy casualties while sustaining very few. Their second en- counter with the army occurred at Iripiti, 12 miles north of the original camp (see map #3, page 108): they inflicted 19 casualties on the army. During April the guerrillas clashed twice more with the army in the area southwest of Nancahuazu between El Meson and Muyupampa. Again, the guerrillas surprised the soldiers with deadly ambushes. Guerrilla casualties remained light, although Rolando, one of Che's most valuable lieutenants and a diary author, was killed at El Meson.42 Despite the military victories of April, two significant events occurred which were of particular importance to the campaign's out- come. Debray, Bustos, and George Roth (an English journalist in search of a story who had managed to locate the group in mid-April) elected to leave the group. They were almost immediately apprehen- ded by the army. The public announcement that the famous French writer was among the guerrillas caused a worldwide sensation. Debray confirmed that Che Guevara was leading the insurgency, which added to the excitement of the news.43 The Bolivian government now realized the significance of the guerrilla movement and responded to the threat with increased mobilization. Six hundred soldiers were placed in the field to fight the guerrillas. Che induced the second event by committing a disastrous blun- der. While planning a raid on Muyupampa on April 17, Che divided his force, leaving Joaquin north of the town with approximately 14 guerrillas, including Tania. She and another guerrilla were very ill and Che apparently elected to split his unit rather than allow the two sick members to impede the raid. Che discovered that Muyupampa was under heavy guard and he diverted his force north towards Ticucha.44 The change in direction delayed his plan to rejoin Joaguin's detachment. Unaware of the turn of events and unable to communicate with Che, Joaquin finally began searching for the main unit but to no avail. For the next four months the two groups unsuccessfully scouted the region south of the Rio Grande looking for each other. The loss of nearly a third of his unit severely hampered Che's ability to concentrate his forces on the enemy. The two units never found each other and the Bolivian Rangers, after first disposing of Joaquin's band, only had to deal with two thirds of the original guerrilla force.45 May and June activities included some inconsequential engage- ments with army units at El Pincal, Muchiri, Caraguataenda, and Abapo as the guerrillas moved generally north across very rugged terrain.46 The strenuous, unrelenting pace began to take its toll on Che. He sufferred violent asthmatic attacks without any remain- ing medicine for relief; at times he was nearly incapacitated. Nearly every entry in Che's diary during this period describes his personal fight with asthma. Despite this adversity, Che claims in his May analysis that "...the guerrilla movement is acquiring a powerful morale, which, if well administered, is a guarantee of success."47 His June analysis repeats the same theme. Che's main concern still reflects his inability to recruit peasants to the cause. The military successes bolstered Che's confidence in his guerrillas' fighting abilities and reinforced his contempt for the Bolivian army. He states: "The legend of the guerrilla movement continues to grow. Now we are super-men guerrillas."48 From Guevara's perspective, his foco was achieving the propaganda effect necessary to convince the peasants that the revolution was gaining momentum. Against this backdrop, Che led his men in a daring attack on the small army post at Samaipata, a town nearly 80 miles north of Nancahuazu. The assault took place on the night of July 6 in view of a large number of spectators. The guerrillas quickly captured two policemen and the eleven soldiers manning the barracks. After raiding the local pharmacy in search of medicine for Che's asthma, they left their prisoners naked in the dark and withdrew to the south. Che's military motives for attacking the barracks remain un- clear. The guerrillas apparently sought no particular military objective such as cutting off the Cochabama-Santa Cruz highway that ran through the town or temporarily seizing and occupying the bar- racks. The raid, however, turned into a publicity coup for Che, making nationwide headlines and convincing the Barrientos govern- ment that the guerrillas were overrunning the southeast. The town mayor added to the sensational news by declaring that he had person- ally seen the famous Guevara leading the guerrillas, confirming what Debray had confessed to his captors earlier.49 The Samaipata raid was clearly the highlight of the campaign. Che, however, was Click here to view image denied the full fruits of victory, remarking in his July 6th entry that his guerrillas purchased the wrong medicine at the pharmacy and "...bought nothing of the items necessary for me..."50 The Final Days July 7 - October 8 1967 Following the Samaipato raid Che's group moved southward, vain- ly searching for Joaquin's unit. Joaquin meanwhile had moved his detachment into the Nancahuazu area, doggedly pursued by elements of the Fourth Division. Morale problems plagued the group as their situation deteriorated. Some of the Bolivian recruits, in particular, had become disenchanted with the guerrilla force. Since joining the group they had experienced nothing but hardships and danger with nothing to show for their efforts. On July 9 Joa- quin's guerrillas were ambushed and forced to flee, leaving behind a number of documents, photographs, a code book, and a list of the members of his group. On the following day the soldiers again attacked the group, killing one of the Bolivian guerrillas. Joa- quin's unit fled northward with the army in close pursuit. Two Bolivians deserted in the confusion and surrendered: then subse- quently led the army to the remaining cache of supplies hidden at Nancahuazu.51 As Joaquin moved north, Che travelled south towards the towns of Florida and Moroco. On July 27 and again on the 29th, the guer- rillas clashed with the army. Both sides suffered casualties. More significantly, in the confusion during the second encounter, Che lost the tape recorder used to record coded messages from Cuba.52 By this time their radio was capable of receiving messages only; none could be transmitted. The guerrillas' isolation was now com- plete. Although Che remained positive in his July analysis, he ad- mits in his diary: "The negative aspects of last month prevail...". Che complains about the loss of men in his group (now down to 22), the failure to make contact with Joaquin, and the lack of contact with outside sources.53 During August Che's group worked its way southwest towards the Rio Grande River. Che sent several men ahead with orders to retrieve his asthma medicine from the cache at Nancahuazu. Short- ly after the group departed, Che heard over the radio that the two deserters from Joaquin's group had led the army to the supply caves at the original campsite. The soldiers had discovered documents, rolls of film, and Che's medicine. He recorded in his diary his feelings after hearing the terrible news: "Now I am condemned to suffer asthma for an indefinite period... it [the loss of medicine] is the hardest blow they have given us...".54 His asthma now be- came nearly intolerable and Che was forced to ride one of the pack mules. The entire group now suffered from hunger and thirst as they made their way across the inhospitable terrain north of the Rio Grande. The only bright moment occurred when the men sent to obtain Che's medical supplies managed to return to the main group. Although they returned empty handed, the guerrilla force badly needed all 22 men available. Joaquin's group had progressed northward to the Rio Grande where they hoped to find the other unit. Joaquin committed a fatal error by requesting information from a local peasant concerning the best place to ford the river. The peasant told the guerrillas of a nearby ford called El Vado del Yeso where it was possible to wade across the river. An army patrol of 32 men operating nearby appeared at the same peasant's house the following day and ob- tained information about the probable location of the guerrillas. In the early evening hours of August 30, the soldiers destroyed Joaquin's group as they waded across the ford. Only one guerrilla survived to become a prisoner. The rest of the group, including Tania, Joaquin, Moises Guevara, and Braulio (another diary author) were killed within minutes of the ambush's opening salvo.55 Che, unaware of the tragedy at the Rio Grande, summarized August as "...without a doubt, the worst month we have had so far in this war." Che describes a completely demoralized unit and his usual optimism and confidence are missing entirely.56 Following firefights of little consequence on September 3 and 6 near Masicuri Bajo, Che and his men headed northwest towards the village of Alto Seco. The guerrillas were jolted by two radio broad- casts, one detailing the ambush of Joaquin's group at El Vado del Yeso and the other announcing that 16 members of Che's underground network in La Paz had been arrested. The army's collecting of vari- ous documents and photographs during the summer had finally paid off and the last remnants of Che's Bolivia support structure was destroyed.57 On September 26 Che and his men reached La Higuera, a village near the Rio Grande. Che noticed that the village was nearly deserted, except for a few women. Coco discovered that a telegram had been sent to the town mayor, informing him that the guerrillas were in the area. Che immediately ordered his men to evacuate the village but his warning was too late. The army unit ambushed the group as they fled La Higuera. The guerrillas managed to escape annihilation but lost three men, including the invaluable Coco.58 Che summarizes September by reporting that the situation was the same as in August, except that the peasants refuse to help and "...are turning into informers." Che retained confidence in his guerrillas, remarking that the only potential deserter is one of Moises Guevara's recruits, Willy.59 As October began the guerrillas were forced to hide during the day and move only at night. The desperate group was now struggling over the extremely rugged ravines just west of La Higuera. Che's accounts during these final days reveal his realization that the end was near. On October 4 he comments about a radio broadcast that discusses where his trial will be held after his capture. Che's last entry, dated October 7 related the capture of an old woman who had wandered into the canyon where the guerrillas were camped. After questioning her, the guerrillas released the woman, bribing her with 50 pesos not to tell anyone of their presence in the area. Seventeen guerrillas now remained in the group as they departed the camp that night.60 Apparently, the old woman, or someone else who had observed the the guerrillas, government officials pressured U.S. ambassador Douglas Henderson for increased military aid in the form of jets, tanks, and napalm. Other men, both in La Paz and Washington, advocated American armed intervention to prevent "another Cuba". Ambassador Henderson opposed U.S. involvement and Washington shared his view. Despite official announcements to that effect, however, press reports persisted in publishing accounts of a U.S. military buildup. Although no evidence indicates that Che ever read it, the announcement by the La Paz newspaper, El Diario, that "We may be witnessing the first episode of a new Vietnam"1 would have thrilled the guerrilla leader. In fact, the initial U.S. response amounted to providing machine guns, carbines, and a large quantity of "C" rations to the Bolivian army. In April 1967, a few helicopters and field radio sets were added to the shipments. U.S. military personnel in Bolivia never exceeded 53 advisors, including a sixteen-man Mobile Training Team (MTT) from the 8th Special Forces Group based at Fort Gulick, Panama Canal Zone. Commanded by Major Ralph ("Pappy") Shelton, the MTT set up a training camp near Santa Cruz. The ad- visors arrived on April 29 and instituted a 19 week counter-insur- gency training program for the Bolivian 2nd Ranger Battalion.2 The intensive course included training in weapons, individual combat, squad and platoon tactics, patrolling, and counter-insurgency. The Bolivians responded well to the training and quickly developed into a spirited, confident, and effective counter guerrilla unit.3 The Samaipata raid on July 6 by Che's men shocked the army into launching two offensives against the guerrillas. The first, "Operation Cynthia", directed the Fourth Army Division from Camiri to conduct operations south of the Rio Grande River (see map #3, page 108). In early August the second offensive, "Operation Parabano", was initiated by the Eighth Army Division in the area north of the river. The Fourth Division soldiers pursued Joaquin's group northward throughout the months of July and August, periodi- cally clashing with the guerrillas. The "Cynthia" soldiers, however, were denied the final victory when Joaquin's band crossed the im- posed boundary at the Rio Grande. Their counterparts of the Eighth Division, waiting at the river, destroyed their prey at the El Vado del Yeso ford.4 The 2nd Ranger Battalion completed its training on September 15, 1967 and were immediately deployed to the "Red Zone", the name given to the area where the offensives were taking place. Following the La Higuera battle on September 26, the Bolivian General staff order- ed the Ranger Battalion to set up a screening force along the Rio Grande to prevent the guerrillas from escaping to the south.5 The Rangers saturated the area with patrols and received reports on October 7 of guerrilla movement in the Quebrada de Yuro, a steep ravine west of La Higuera (see map #4, page 109). Captain Gary Prado's B company (praised by Major Shelton as the Ranger's best unit)6 trapped Che's force on October 8. Prado's employment of his troops in the final fight with the guerrilla unit "...reads like a scenario out of a U.S. army counter- insurgency manual."7 When his point elements discovered the enemy and fixed their location, Prado immediately isolated the guerrillas by deploying his company on the surrounding high ground in a tight cordon. As the guerrillas fled in two separate groups the Rangers opened fire, killing six men and capturing three, including Che. The Rangers lost two of their own men in the firefight. The second group of guerrillas, led by Inti Peredo, somehow managed to escape the crossfire and avoided immediate capture or death. In subsequent weeks, half of this group were killed by the army. Three of the Cubans, including Pombo, the last of the diary authors, escaped into Chile. Inti and two other Bolivians went into hiding in Bolivia.8 Che, Willy, and the Cuban, Aniceto, were taken to La Higuera. Willy and Aniceto were placed in a shed while Che was led to a nearby two-room schoolhouse and treated for his leg wound. During the night the Bolivians questioned the three guerrillas. Che re- mained recalcitrant during the interrogation, barely responding to questions. The Bolivian army had anticipated the capture of Che and had discussed what to do with him. The turbulent trial of Regis Debray earlier that summer had attracted worldwide publicity, much of it adverse to Bolivia. The generals feared the repetition of interna- tional leftist sympathy for the famous guerrilla leader. They rea- soned that a highly publicized trial would serve as impetus for dissident factions in Bolivia to mount another insurgency. Under these circumstances, Che's fate was sealed. On the morning of October 9, 1967, two Ranger sergeants re- ceived orders to execute the three prisoners. Sergeant Mario Teran, after his companion shot Willy and Aniceto, walked into the school- room where Che sat, hands bound. As the prisoner stood, the two reportedly exchanged angry words. Teran fired a burst from his carbine, instantly killing Che Guevara.9 Click here to view image Thus, Che Guevara's last campaign ended with his execution in a tiny hamlet in southeastern Bolivia. With the death of its leader, the foco, now reduced to a few desperate stragglers attempt- ing to escape the country, immediately evaporated as a guerrilla threat. The insurgency that was intended to spark a hemispheric revolution lasting seven to ten years failed after only eleven months. Che Guevara's attempt to artificially create a "Vietnam" in Bolivia was a fascinating gamble. How that fate was avoided demands analysis of the various actions taken by both Che Guevara and Fidel Castro on one hand, and Bolivia and the United States on the other. Chapter IX THE BOLIVIAN CAMPAIGN IN PERSPECTIVE Brigadier Samuel B. Griffith, USMC (Ret.) introduced his translation of Mao Tse-Tung on Guerrilla Warfare by comparing the revolutions in Vietnam and Cuba. He analyzed the two campaigns through the use of charts, listing determinants in each revolution, assigning the categories arbitrary weights on a scale of 0 - 10, and examining the opposing sides comparatively. Figure I reflects General Griffith's conclusion that Fidel Castro enjoyed favorable odds of approximately three to two when he landed in the Sierra Maestras.1 Griffith stressed that specific aspects of various guerrilla situations differ. However, an impartial analysis in the same manner of Che Guevara's campaign provides an accurate portrayal of the situation in Bolivia at that time. Figure II applies the same determinants in comparing Guevara's forces with those of the incum- bant, Barrientos. "Supplies" and "external support" have been added to the chart since both factors directly affected the out- come of the Bolivia insurgency. The aggregate sum of the determi- nants (arbitrarily weighted by this writer) reveals that Che Guevara faced odds of two to three against success, exactly the opposite of Fidel Castro's situation in 1956. Closer examination of the eleven determinants validates this conclusion. Click here to view image Only three determinants favored the guerrillas in Bolivia: quality of leadership, military efficiency, and base area terrain. These factors, initially advantageous to the insurgents, actually became liabilities as the campaign progressed, working against the guerrillas in the end. Che Guevara's powerful leadership drove the guerrilla movement. Dedicated, charismatic, and competent, he enjoyed the complete loy- alty of his subordinates. Despite the differences that existed in the group between the Bolivians and Cubans, Che was able to initially maintain a relatively cohesive unit. The guerrilla leader, however, faced a capable opponent in Barrientos, who was also popular and effective, unlike Castro's foe, Batista. Furthermore, Che's effec- tiveness eroded greatly as the campaign progressed because of his asthma. Even Che's strong will could not overcome the dibilitating asthma attacks which dominated his daily existance and adversely affected his judgement. The military efficiency of Che's force in the initial stages of the campaign clearly surpassed that of the Bolivian army. His Cuban veterans raised havoc with their ineffective opponents for over three months. Ironically, Che's over-confidence in his guer- rillas' fighting ability, coupled with his contempt for the Boli- vian army, led him to commit his force too soon. The decision to attack the soldiers on March 23 rather than withdraw violated Che's own doctrine. His foco was still in its infant stage and not yet prepared for the second phase of the revolution. Che prematurely took the offensive and could not sustain the initiative as he attempted to integrate the raw Bolivian recruits into his unit while fighting the enemy. As Che suffered casualties, lost his base of operations, and split his force, the balance of military efficiency dramatically changed in favor of the Bolivian army. The introduction of newly trained Bolivian Rangers tipped the scales even further. The base area terrain operationally favored the guerrillas, but this advantage also eventually worked against them. Relatively isolated, the Nancahuazu region adequately served Che's purposes for organizing, equipping, and training his foco. The rugged terrain allowed Che to attack his foe from good cover and conceal- ment while frustrating the army's attempts to isolate the guerrilla force. This same terrain later extracted a severe toll on the guerrillas as their situation became increasingly desperate. Commu- nications failed, resulting in a loss of contact between Che and Joaquin's group and, finally, with Havana. As the guerrillas struggled over the inhospitable terrain they were forced to live off the land and discovered that food and water were scarce. Hunger and thirst, rather than military objectives, frequently drove the decision-making process. The determinant, "Appeal of Program", can arguably be consid- ered equal for both forces. Che's dedication to improving the plight of the peasants in Bolivia compared favorably to Barrientos' program of social reform. Although the Bolivian peasants were unresponsive to his program due to language barriers and their inherent distrust of outsiders, Guevara's ideas enjoyed a world- wide constituency. Barrientos' program, however, capitalized on reforms widely accepted by Bolivians after the 1952 revolution. The mass appeal of his program notwithstanding, Che vastly under- estimated the favorable perception by Bolivians of existing social reforms. The remaining determinants clearly favored the incumbent. Most of these negative comparisons stem from purely military considera- tions regarding the guerrilla force. Che, despite the cadre of Cuban veterans, commanded a unit of marginal quality. During the initial stages of the insurgency the guerrillas were able to capi- talize on the unprepared and confused Bolivian units. Their initial superior military efficiency stemmed from the guerrillas' initiative and the Bolivian army's disorganization, rather than an overall high- er quality of troops in the foco. As the fighting intensified, Che revealed in his diary that many of his men were "dregs" who were basically inferior guerrillas. The Bolivian recruits, with few exceptions, lacked the self- discipline and sense of purpose to fight effectively. Their poor performance, coupled with the Cubans' sense of superiority, caused dissension among the guerrillas, preventing the group from ever achieving true internal unity. The challenges facing every guerrilla force, equipment/supplies, communications, and sanctuary, presented unique problems for Che. Initially well equipped with weapons, ammunition, and supplies, his logistics support gradually disintegrated as the Bolivian army captured his base camp caches. As the campaign progressed, the guerrillas became totally isolated from their sources of supply. Communications failed internally as evidenced by the failure of Che and Joaquin's group to reunite. When the military situation worsened, the guerrilla force had no safe sanctuary in which to re- group. Tied down to a permanent base camp in his area of operations, Che was stranded in "enemy territory" after the army destroyed the Nancahuazu site. Ultimately, Che failed in Bolivia because of the lack of pop- ular support. Griffith submits that their is very little hope of destroying a revolutionary movement that gains the sympathetic support of a significant segment of the population (perhaps 15 to 20 percent).2 Che could have probably overcome the many handi- caps inherent in his insurgency attempt if the peasants had support- ed his movement. His guerrillas, however, were never perceived by the local population as anything more than strange intruders, out- siders not to be trusted. Not one local peasant joined the guer- rillas during the campaign. On the contrary, Che admitted in his diary that they had become informers for the army. As a result, Che's guerrilla foco became little more than roving bandits, pur- sued by the authorities and feared by the citizenry. While lack of popular support condemned Che Guevara's Bolivia adventure to ultimate failure, certain external factors hastened his defeat. Cuban support to Che and American aid to the Bolivia army figured significantly in the insurgency. The Bolivian commu- nist party, Tania, and Fidel Castro further complicate the exami- nation of external support as a determinant in the revolution's outcome. The Bolivian communist party deliberately betrayed Che, first by giving false information to Havana about the political situation in Bolivia, and secondly, by failing to support him once the foco was in place. Richard Harris attributes the first act of betrayal to Mario Monje, who falsely portrayed Bolivia as an anarchic state ripe for revolution. Harris submits that Monje and his friends were "con artists" who planned a fraudulent guerrilla operation in order to expand their party treasury at Cuba's expense. When Che established the foco in Bolivia, Monje actively sabotaged the guer- rillas by withholding all support. Harris further claims that the pro-Moscow communists in La Paz were acting in accordance with in- structions from the Soviets, who regarded Che's operations in Bolivia as a serious threat to their Latin American policy.3 Tania's controversial role in the ill-fated campaign adds credence to Harris' theory of Soviet complicity. Daniel James refuses to attribute Tania's amatuer bungling of the affair in Camiri to honest mistakes. Accidently leaving incriminating documents in a deserted jeep is not the work of a professional agent who had successfully operated covertly in Bolivia for two years. That incident, plus other deficiencies in Tania's perfor- mance, drives James to conclude that: "Tania was sabotaging Che and his guerrilla movement in the interests of Moscow."4 Fidel Castro's complicity in Che's failure is not clearly evident. Castro certainly provided the guerrilla movement with the fundamental external support necessary to initiate the foco. He was its sole financier and contributed manpower, weapons, and supplies to Che's force. Bolivian guerrillas trained in Cuba and Castro bore all expenses. Yet, many Latin American communists be- lieve that Fidel Castro betrayed his comrades in Bolivian jungles. Betrayal implies that Castro intentionally subverted the guerrilla movement, an illogical accusation when the tremendous assets ini- tially provided to Che by Fidel are taken into account. Abandonment best describes Castro's actions as the situation deteriorated in Bolivia. Despite Che's implication by message on May 18, 1967 that he desired public announcement of the Bolivia insurgency, Castro never acknowledged to the world that Che Guevara was fighting for the "liberation" of Bolivia. He remained strangely quiet through- out the summer, when publicizing Che's presence in Bolivia might have achieved a propaganda victory for the beleaguered guerrillas. Castro may have sensed the inevitable defeat of Che's guer- rillas and decided to cut his losses, allowing the aborted campaign to wither away. Another theory behind Castro's abandonment of Che involves the underlying issue of personal problems between the two men. Daniel James proposes that Castro believed that publically announcing the insurgency would greatly enhance Che's reputation as a worldwide revolutionary. In view of the two men's recent diff- erences, Fidel may have considered resurrecting Che as a great lead- er counter to his own personal interests. James concludes: "Fidel Castro and the Bolivian army combined unwittingly to end a mutual threat."5 Any hypothesis regarding Fidel Castro's reasons for abandoning Che is based on speculation. The circumstances under which Castro abandoned Guevara, however, clearly indicate that the Cuban dictator deliberately deserted his former minister. Castro, a superb politi- cian, may have played Machiavellian politics. Guevara may have been a problem alive, but in Bolivia, Castro can "win either way: if Che fails and is killed, the cause has a martyr; if he wins, he is out of Cuba spreading the new zeal of revolutionary warfare. Martyrdom can always be used for propaganda victories. Castro may have real- ized that a dead Guevara would be more valuable to Cuba and a threat to the U.S. and its allies than he was alive. External support from the United States clearly enhanced the Bolivian army's counter-guerrilla effort. The United States' mea- sured response to pleas for sophisticated weapons proved entirely appropriate to meet the threat. By restricting material aid to fundamental equipment and supplies, the Americans prevented need- less and inappropriate escalation of the insurgency. The second decision to train the Bolivians to fight their own war rather than intervene directly with American combat troops was a significant factor in defeating Che. The Bolivia soldier proved fully capable of conducting effective counter-insurgency operations once he was properly equipped and trained. American recognition of this fact averted Che's hopes of "...two, three, many Vietnams...". Therein lies the central issue of why American students of guerrilla warfare should study Che Guevara's Bolivian insurgency- the avoidance of "another Vietnam". This relatively insignificant melodrama in a poor South American country contained all of the elements relevant to revolutionary warfare today: a charismatic leader committed to revolutionary social and economic change, oppres- sed people condemned to lifelong poverty, and a powerful, external government willing to support insurrection in another country. The gross miscalculations of Che Guevara notwithstanding, his Bolivian campaign began with the three essential factors in the framework for revolution: conditions conducive for revolt, revolutionaries willing to exploit those conditions, and external/foreign support. The battleground, whether rural or urban, matters little. The political cause, whether Leninist, Maoist, or reactionist, matters even less. The rank and file of guerrilla movements rarely fight for a particular ideology: they fight for food and freedom. People existing under such desperate conditions are easily swayed by lead- ers who are capable of indoctrinating the masses through ideological manipulation. A paradox results; the rank and file perceive the revolution as a means to improve their living conditions while the leaders see the real issue as a political struggle for power. By harnessing the powerful desire to escape poverty and injustice, revolutionary leaders ruthlessly exploit the oppressed as a means to their own political ends. Faced with these realities, the United States awaits the next Che Guevara. Intolerable social conditions still exist in many third world countries and powerful forces remain all too willing to support revolutions in other nations. Seething discontent only requires a revolutionary leader to ignite the flames of revolt. Training armies with U.S. advisors will strengthen a government's ability to conduct counter-insurgency operations but does nothing to eliminate poverty, hunger, and injustice. American commitments to fighting insurgencies must rely on more than military response alone. This single diminsion approach to eradicating revolutions inevitably results in the portrayal of the United States as the pro- tector of the status quo, while elevating the revolutionaries to the role of a vanguard force leading the oppressed to a better life. American involvement in fighting insurgencies must be universally perceived as a commitment to improving the welfare of the people where the insurgency is taking place. The Bolivia campaign illus- strates that point clearly. The United States supported a govern- ment that was relatively progressive and one that had gained true legitimacy from its citizenry. American military aid, although significant, played a secondary role in defeating the guerrilla movement. As stated earlier, the U.S. response proved to be entirely appropriate for the situation. Despite pressure in La Paz and Washington to intervene with more sophisticated weaponry and even combat troops, American aid was primarily restricted to carbines, ammunition, and a training team. Although key individuals - prin- cipally Ambassador Henderson - recognized that limited aid would suffice, others lobbied for a Vietnam type commitment from the U.S. Unfortunately, an argument can be made that Henderson's voice of moderation prevailed because Bolivia was considered a "sideshow" and relatively unimportant when compared to the then escalating war in Vietnam. Would the United States have introduced combat troops to Bolivia if our involvement in Vietnam had not reached such pro- portions in 1966 - 1967? Would we have stood idly by if Che's forces had routed the Bolivian army? The answers to those questions remain pure speculation but their ramifications pose important con- siderations for future foreign policy decisions in similar situations. For whatever reasons, Washington listened to Ambassador Henderson's realistic appreciation of the local situation and acted appropri- ately. Measured response rather than overraction carries a lesson which should not be forgotten in future crisis facing this country and its allies. Che Guevara committed many tactical blunders that led to his defeat, but, in the final analysis, his personality and ego prede- termined his fate in Bolivia. Che's supreme confidence in his lead- ership abilities to overcome any problems allowed him to ignore the obvious, fatal flaws in his Bolivian campaign. Che grossly over- estimated his capability to influence circumstances that existed in Bolivia. He remained convinced that the revolution depended upon Che Guevara alone to succeed. The same uncompromising, head- strong determination that cost him his influence in Cuba condemned him to die in Bolivia. Che, the purist, believed so strongly in his cause and his destiny to lead that cause, that he refused to consi- der any compromises in the pursuit of his goal. This dogmatic view of the revolution and his own role in it caused Guevara to overestimate his ability to fight the revolution without the support of the Bolivian communists. He was aware of the diverse factions that existed within the Bolivian communist party but Che believed that he could unite them and gain their full support. His insistence on commanding all aspects of the revolution led him to reject the communist leader, Monje's demands for control of the revolution. In both cases, Che falsely assumed that his personal leadership was essential to the success of the revolution. Bolivia was his revolution, not to be shared with others who pur- ported to have a claim to the leadership role in the "liberation" struggle. Che's foco theory of revolution inherently depends upon person- ality and leadership for its success. Without the backing of a powerful communist party to develop widespread support among the populace the foco leadership must ignite the revolutionary spirit through their own actions. Impetus for the escalation of the revolu- tion stems from the ability of the guerrilla foco to relate to the peasants: gain their trust and confidence, indoctrinate them in the goals of the revolution and demonstrate the corruption and weak- ness of the existing regime. By setting the example and showing the way to a better life, the guerrilla movement gains increasing momentum, finally reaching overwhelming proportions incapable of being stopped. Che possessed supreme confidence in his ability to establish a guerrilla force, manned largely by Cubans, in a foreign country. He grossly overrated the power of his own charisma and leadership. The Bolivian peasants were not prepared to cast their fate with these foreigners; Che Guevara discovered that more than his personality and charisma were needed in Bolivia. Therein lies the ultimate reason for the failure in Bolivia: the unwillingness of the Bolivian people to rally to Che Guevara and his cause. He never achieved the one vital element necessary to win a revolution: popular support. Mao Tse-Tung likened the people to water and the guerrilla to a fish who inhabits it. Che Guevara was condemned to the destiny prophesized by Mao for the guerrilla failing to achieve this vital alliance who: "...like the fish out of its native element, cannot live."6 Click here to view image APPENDIX B Identification of Main Personalities (Listed Alphabetically) 1. General Rene Barrientos. Bolivian Air Force officer who took reigns of power in a bloodless coup during 1964. President of Bolivia during Che's insurgency. 2. Tamara Banke Bider, "Tania". Young woman of Argentine-German nationality who was Guevara's primary agent in Bolivia. She also served as a double agent, working for the KGB. 3. Colonel Alberto Bayo. Former officer in the Spanish Republican Army who trained Castro's guerrillas, including Che, in Mexico in preparation for the Cuban insurgency against Batista. 4. Fidel Castro. Current premier of Cuba; led revolution that over- threw Batista regime in 1959. 5. Regis Debray. French leftist writer who was captured by the Bolivian Army. Court-martialed for his involvement in the insur- gency; he was convicted and imprisoned. 6. Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Argentine born revolutionary who became a principal figure in Fidel Castro's government. Led insurgency in Bolivia. 7. Moises Guevara (No relation to Che). Bolivian Maoist labor leader who recruited guerrillas for Che's foco. Among those killed by the Bolivian Army in ambush on August 31, 1967. 8. Douglas Henderson. U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia during the insur- gency. He advised moderate response by the United States to meet the guerrilla crises in Bolivia. 9. Mario Monje Molina. Bolivian communist leader who convinced Castro to commit guerrillas to Bolivia. He refused to support the insurgency after Guevara would not allow him to lead the revolution. 10. Juan Vitalio Acuna Nunez, "Joaguin". Second-in-command of the foco. Cuban veteran of Castro's "July 26th Movement". His group was accidentally separated from the main guerrilla force. He and most of his guerrillas, were killed in the August 31st ambush. 11. Captain Gary Prado. Bolivian Army Ranger who commanded unit that captured Che. 12. Major Ralph ("Pappy") Shelton. U.S. Army officer who commanded the American advisors that trained the Bolivian Rangers. 13. Sergeant Mario Teran. Bolivian Army non-commissioned officer who executed Che Guevara, following the orders of his superiors. Click here to view image INTRODUCTION ENDNOTES 1"Man In the News", New York Times, Dec 12, 1964. 2General Robert H. Barrow, USMC, Commandant of U.S. Marine Corps, in a speech to audience in New Orleans, Louisiana, May 1981 (attended by the writer) 3Richard Harris, Death of a Revolutionary, Che Guevara's Last Mission (W.W. Norton and Company INC 1970 New York) p. 69 4Andrew Sinclair, Che Guevara, (Viking Press, 1970, New York) p. 93 CHAPTER I The Leader - His Early Years ENDNOTES 1Daniel James, Che Guevara (Stein and Day, 1969, New York) p. 304 2James MacGregor Burns, Leadership, (Harper and Row, 1978, New York) , P. 83 3Burns, Leadership, p. 82 4Harris, Last Mission, p. 18 5Harris, Last Mission, p. 19 6Sinclair, Guevara, p. 3 7Sinclair, Guevara, p. 2 8Burns, Leadership, p. 90 9Sinclair, Guevara, p. 1 10James, Guevara, p. 55 11Sinclair, Guevara, p. 4 12Sinclair, Guevara, p. 1 13Harris, Last Mission, p. 26 14Harris, Last Mission, p. 28 CHAPTER II The Revolutionary Leader ENDNOTES 1James, Guevara, p. 77 2James, Guevara, p. 80 3James, Guevara, p. 83 4Sinclair, Guevara, p. 13 5Burns, Leadership, p. 239 6Harris, Last Mission, p. 29 7James, Guevara, p. 86 8James, Guevara, p. 86 9James, Guevara, p. 85 10Sinclair, Guevara, p. 17 11Harris, Last Mission, p. 33 12Che Guevara, Che Guevara On Guerrilla Warfare, (Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1961, New York), p. 3 CHAPTER III The Ideological Leader ENDNOTES 1Burns, Leadership, p. 248 2Sinclair, Guevara, p. 50 3Martin Ebon, Che: The Making of a Legend, (Universal Books, 1969, New York), p. 44 4James, Guevara, p. 113 5James, Guevara, p. 114 6Sinclair, Guevara, p. 54 7Burns, Leadership, p. 248 8James, Guevara, p. 162 9James, Guevara, p. 166 10Sinclair, Guevara, p. 64 11Sinclair, Guevara, p. 66 12"Shadowy Power Behind Castro", New York Times Magazine, June 19, 1960, p. 5 13James, Guevara, p. 131 14Ebon, Legend, p. 53 15Ebon, Legend, p. 49 16Harris, Last Mission, p. 36 CHAPTER IV Theories of Guerrilla Warfare ENDNOTES 1Bernard B. Fall, Street Without Joy, (The Stackpole Company, 1961, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) p. 381 2 Sir Robert Thompson, consult. ed., War in Peace, (Orbis Publishing Limited, 1981, London) pp. 148-149 3Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare, p. 4 4Sinclair, Guevara, p. 41 5Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare, p. 5 6Harris, Last Mission, p. 51 7Sinclair, Guevara, p. 34 8Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare, pp. 30-36 9Sinclair, Guevara, p. 34 10Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare, p. 27 11Sun Tzu, The Art of War, trans. Samuel B. Griffith (Oxford University Press, 1963, New York), pp. 77-84 12Mao Tse-Tung, Guerrilla Warfare, trans. Samuel B. Griffith (Praeger Publishers Inc., 1961, New York), p. 42 13Regis Debray, Revolution in the Revolution?, trans. Bobbye Ortez (Monthly Review Press, 1967, New York), p. 106 14Thompson, War in Peace, p. 175 15Thomas J. Deakin, "The Legacy of Carlos Marighella", FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, October 1974, p. 2 16Thompson, War in Peace, p. 175 CHAPTER V Prelude to Bolivia ENDNOTES 1"Shadowy Power Behind Castro", New York Times Magazine, June 19, 1960 2Harris, Last Mission, p. 54 3Harris, Last Mission, p. 56 4James, Guevara, p. 170 5James, Guevara, p. 169 6James, Guevara, p. 180 7James, Guevara, pp. 181-187 8James, Guevara, pp. 182 9James, Guevara, p. 187 10Thompson, War in Peace, p. 142 11Sinclair, Guevara, p. 88 12Harris, Last Mission, p. 59 13James, Guevara, p. 159 14James, Guevara, p. 160 15Harris, Last Mission, p.60 CHAPTER VI Why Bolivia? ENDNOTES 1Jean Larteguy, The Guerrilla, (World Publishing Co., 1970, New York), p. 19 2William H. Brill, Military Interventions in Bolivia: The Overthrow of Paz Estenssoro and the MNR, Political Studies Series No. 3, (Institute for the Comparative Study of Political Systems, 1967, Washington, D.C.), p. 3 3Harris, Last Mission, p. 62 4Thomas E. Weil, Area Handbook for Bolivia, DA Pamphlet 550-66, 2nd ed. (Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data, 1974, Washington D.C.), p. 109 5Brill, Military Intervention in Bolivia, p. 3 6William Weber Johnson and the Editors of LIFE, LIFE World Library - The Andean Republics, (Time Inc., 1965, New York) p. 102 7Weil, Introduction, Area Handbook, p. ix 8John D. Waghelstein, "A Theory of Revolutionary Warfare and its Application to the Bolivian Adventure of Che Guevara", (Thesis, Cornell University, 1973), p. 63 (Unpublished MA) 9Weil, Area Handbook, p. 257 10Johnson, Andean Republics, p. 101 11Harris, Last Mission, pp. 63-64 12Brill, Military Intervention in Bolivia, pp. 44-58 13Harris, Last Mission, p. 64 14Harris, Last Mission, p. 64 15Robert D. Hagan, "Che Guevara: An epilogue", (Thesis, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, 1969), p. 55 (Unpublished) 16Harris, Last Mission, p. 65 17Waghelstein, "Theory of Revolutionary Warfare", p. 54 18Sinclair, Guevara, p. 93 19Harris, Last Mission, pp. 64-67 20Harris, Last Mission, pp. 68-69 21Harris, Last Mission, p. 72 22Harris, Last Mission, p. 65 23Weil, Area Handbook, p. 348 24Waghelstein, "Theory of Revolutionary Warfare", p. 41 25James, Guevara, p. 188 CHAPTER VII The Foco In Action ENDNOTES 1"Guevara Termed Slain in Dominican Republic", New York Times, Aug 21, 1965 2"Bogata Said to Circulate Photographs of Guevara", New York Times, Aug 29, 1965 3James, Guevara, p. 189 4Daniel James, ed., The Complete Bolivian Diaries of Che Guevara and Other Captured Documents (Stein and Day, 1968, New York), p. 226 5James, Diaries, p. 71 6Marta Rojas and Moita Rodriguez Calderon, eds., TANIA, The Unforgettable Guerrilla, (Random House, 1971, New York), p. 39 7Rojas and Rodriguez, TANIA, pp. 111-112 8Rojas and Rodriguez, TANIA, p. 146 9Rojas and Rodriguez, TANIA, p. 187 10James, Guevara, p. 200 11Harris, Last Mission, pp. 72-77 12James, Diaries, p. 71 13James, Diaries, p. 193 14James, Guevara, p. 193 15Harris, Last Mission, p. 75 16Harris, Last Mission, pp. 77-78 17James, Diaries, p. 80 18Weil, Area Handbook, p. 348 19James, Guevara, p. 215 20Harris, Last Mission, p. 78 21James, Guevara, p. 215 22Harris, Last Mission, p. 79 23Ebon, Legend, p. 95 24Harris, Last Mission, p. 78 25James, Diaries, p. 96 26Ebon, Legend, pp. 99-100 27James, Diaries, p. 73 28James, Diaries, p. 108 29James, Guevara, pp. 222-227 30James, Diaries, pp. 291-292 31James, Guevara, p. 227 32James, Diaries, p. 116 33Weil, Area Handbook, p. 349 34James, Guevara, pp. 224-233 35James, Diaries, p. 126 36Harris, Last Mission, pp. 87-89 37James, Guevara, pp. 237-239 38James, Diaries, p. 131 39Harris, Last Mission, pp. 86-87 40 James, Guevara, pp. 248-249 41James, Diaries, p. 132 42James, Diaries, pp. 74-75 43Harris, Last Mission, pp. 94-96 44Harris, Last Mission, p. 105 45James, Guevara, p. 256 46Harris, Last Mission, pp. 106-109 47James, Diaries, p. 164 48James, Diaries, p. 176 49James, Guevara, p. 262 50James, Diaries, p. 179 51Harris, Last Mission, pp. 112-113 52James, Diaries, p. 77 53James, Diaries, p. 190 54James, Diaries, p. 195 55Harris, Last Mission, pp. 119-120 56James, Diaries, p. 202 57Harris, Last Mission, p. 122 58James, Guevara, pp. 268-269 59James, Diaries, pp. 219-220 60James, Diaries, pp. 220 - 223 61Harris, Last Mission, pp. 125-128 CHAPTER VIII "Operations Parabano and Cynthia" ENDNOTES 1James, Guevara, p. 277 2James, Guevara, pp. 279-280 3Waghelstein, "Theory of Revolutionary Warfare", p. 74 4James, Guevara, p. 263 5Joseph P. Rice, "The Last Days of Che Guevara", (Monograph, US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, 1972), p. 3 6Waghelstein, "Theory of Revolutionary Warfare", p. 87 7Harris, Last Mission, p. 126 8Harris, Last Mission, pp. 127-128 9Ebon, Legend, pp. 115-117 CHAPTER IX The Bolivian Campaign in Perspective ENDNOTES 1Griffith, trans, Introduction, Mao Tse-Tung on Guerrilla Warfare, pp. 28-29 2Griffith, trans, Introduction, Mao Tse-Tung on Guerrilla Warfare, p. 27 3Harris, Last Mission, pp. 159-163 4James, Guevara, pp. 240-241 5James, Guevara, pp. 301-303 6Mao Tse-Tung, Guerrilla Warfare, p. 93 ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY Introduction. Research material for this paper included both primary and secondary sources. Ample sources were available, including the writings of Che Guevara, and, in particular, biographies by numerous authors. Most of the sources were written in the 1960's and early 1970's, reflecting the world- wide reputation of Che Guevara during that period. Following the death of Guevara in 1967, myraid books, articles, and dissertations were written about this controversial figure in revolutionary history. A. Primary Sources Guevara, Che. Che Guevara on Guerrilla Warfare. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1961. Essential to any research into foco theory. Concise, thorough explanation of Che's theory of revolu- tionary warfare. James, Daniel. editor. The Complete Bolivian Diaries of Che Guevara and Other Captured Documents. New York: Stein and Day, 1968. James' translations of Bolivian Diaries. Essential to research of Bolivia campaign. Day-to-day first person accounts of Che and three subordinates while in Bolivia. B. Secondary Sources Books Brill, William H., Military Intervention in Bolivia: The Overthrow of Paz Estenssoro and the MNR. Political Studies Series No. 3, Institute for the Comparative study of Political Systems, Washington, D.C., 1967. Comprehensive study of Bolivia's poli- tical, social, economic, and military history. Addresses Barrientos' ascendancy to power. Excellent background material for research into Bolivia's situation during early 1960's. Burns, James MacGregor Leadership. New York: Harper and Row, 1978. Thorough analysis of all types of leadership. Particularly relevant to this research regarding ideological and revolution- ary leadership. Uses historical leaders to illustrate evolu- tion of leadership styles and impact on society. Debray, Regis Revolution in the Revolution?. Trans. Bobbye Ortiz. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1967. Essential reading for any research into Cuban revolution. Leftist French writer who wrote about Castro and Guevara's revolutions. Particularly use- ful in studying foco theory. Ebon, Martin. CHE: The Making of a Legend. New York: Universal Books, 1969. Analyzes Che Guevara's rise to power and Bolivia failure. Useful for background material concerning external factors leading to Che's defeat. Explores Soviet complicity, Che's motivations, and events since his death. Fall, Bernard B. Street Without Joy. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The Stackpole Company, 1961. Although this book is a history of the Vietnam conflict prior to U.S. involvement, Fall discusses guerrilla warfare in general. Particularly relevant to study of Che Guevara's theories on guerrilla warfare and his tactical concepts, as compared to those used in Vietnam. Harris, Richard. Death of a Revolutionary, Che Guevara's Last Mission. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1970. Out- standing source for analysis of Che Guevara's Bolivia campaign. Also discusses Che's life and theories on guerrilla warfare. Particularly useful in analyzing why Che failed. James, Daniel. Che Guevara. New York: Stein and Day, 1969. Complete biography of Che Guevara. Highly useful to research of all aspects of Che Guevara's life. In addition to thorough des- cription of Che's life, James provides excellent objective analysis of why Che failed and his impact on future of guer- rilla war. Johnson, William Weber and the Editors of LIFE. LIFE WORLD LIBRARY-The Andean Republics. New York: Time, Inc., 1965. Limited use for this research but does provide good background material on Bolivia's history. Larteguy, Jean. The Guerrillas. Trans. Stanley Hochman. New York: World Publishing Co., 1970. Explores Latin America revolutions, including accounts of Che's conversations concerning his theo- ries on revolutionary warfare. Excellent source for analysis of Che Guevara and Latin American revolutions. Mao Tse-Tung. Guerrilla Warfare. Trans. Samuel B. Griffith. New York: Oxford University Press, 1963. Translation of Mao's classic work. Useful in comparing Che's theories with Chinese concepts. Introduction by Griffith is an outstanding concept or model for analyzing evolution of guerrilla warfare. Griffith compares Cuban and Vietnam revolutions in a unique, concise manner. Rojas, Marta and Moita Rodriguez Calderon eds. TANIA, The Unforgett- able Guerrilla. New York: Random House 1971. Leftist account of life of Tania. Somewhat idealistic portrayal of Tania through use of letters, photographs, and interviews. Very biased account, but useful in gaining another perspective of Tania's relation- ship with Che. Thompson, Sir Robert consult. ed. War in Peace. London: Orbis pub- lishing Limited 1981. Covers warfare and conflict since 1945. Essential to research on guerrilla wars for its concise but valuable overviews of wars, theories, and personalities. Of particular relevance to this paper are accounts of Cuban revolution. Sinclair, Andrew. Che Guevara. New York: Viking Press 1970. Biog- raphy that provides excellent source material, not as detailed as the James or Harris biographies, but outstanding analysis of why Guevara failed in Bolivia. Also addresses theories, Congo adventure, and relationship with Castro. Sun Tzu. The Art of War. Trans. Samuel B. Griffith. New York: Oxford University Press 1963. Translation of classic work that pro- vides excellent source for comparing Che Guevara's concepts to ancient theories of warfare. Journals and Periodicals Published "Bogota Said to Circulate Photographs of Guevara", New York Times, Aug 29, 1965, p. 45:5. Article discusses rumors of Guevara's presence in Columbia. Deakin, Thomas J. "The Legacy of Carlos Marighella", FBI Law Enforce- ment Bulletin., Washington, D.C., October, 1974. Compares urban guerrilla warfare with Che Guevara's foco theory. Concise, ana- lytical work relevant to current events regarding terrorism. "Guevara Termed Slain in Dominican Republic", New York Times, Aug 21, 1965 p. 6:8. Illustrates rumors circulating about Che's whereabouts prior to entering Bolivia. "Man in the News", New York Times, Dec 12, 1964, p. 13:1. Short article describing Guevara's continued rise to power in Cuba. Useful for capturing press opinion of Che while he was in Cuba. "Shadowy Power Behind Castro", New York Times Magazine, June 19, 1960, p. 5. One of the first portrayals of Guevara by American press. Excellent accounts of interviews with Guevara by an American reporter. Useful for gaining perspective of Guevara as seen in his early years in Cuba. Weil, Thomas E. Area Handbook for Bolivia. DA Pamphlet 550-66, 2nd 2d. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Cataloging in Publi- cation Data 1974. Provides excellent background material on Bolivia's political, economic, social, and military evolution. Unpublished Secondary Sources Barrow, Robert H., "Armed Forces Day Address", presented to audience in New Orleans, Louisiana, May 1981. Attended by writer. Remarks included discussion of potential commitments of U.S. armed forces. Hagan, Robert D. "Che Guevara: An Epilogue". Thesis. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island 1969. Unpublished work that provides only limited accounts of Che Guevara's Bolivia cam- paign. Does give good analysis of political framework in Cuba following Castro's revolution. Rice, Joseph P. "The Last Days of Che Guevara" Monograph. U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania 1972. Short account of final days in Bolivia. Author concentrates on Boli- vian Ranger interviews, giving detailed descriptions of final firefight. Excellent sketch maps included. Waghelstein, John D. "A Theory of Revolutionary Warfare and its Application to the Bolivian Adventure of Che Guevara", Thesis, Cornell University, 1973. Thorough analysis of revolutionary warfare. Gives comprehensive analysis of U.S. involvement in Bolivia campaign, including personal interviews with partici- pants. Outstanding source document for study of Che Guevara in Bolivia.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|