Che ‘rises again’ in Bolivian town where he died

La Higuera (Bolivia), Oct 10 (IANS) In an unusual political-religious ceremony that brought to an end the official homage in Bolivia to Argentine-born Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the mythic rebel ‘rose again’ in symbolic form in this village where army troops killed him 40 years ago.

A Buddhist monk, a Catholic friar and an Anglican clergyman presided at Tuesday’s rite with prayers and songs dedicated to Che in front of the La Higuera school where he was executed Oct 9, 1967, by Mario Teran, a Bolivian Army sergeant, Spanish news agency EFE reported.

Support TwoCircles

Several dozen eccentrics and radicals from a wide range of ideologies attended the final act of homage, which was held after several days of Che-related ceremonies for which the nearby town of Vallegrande was the main stage. Bolivian President Evo Morales, an enthusiastic admirer of Guevara, attended some of the events.

Benedictine friar Marcelo Barros told EFE that the ceremony Tuesday was an act of resurrecting Guevara because he is once again alive “in the form of the community”, in like manner – he said – to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

“So, we’re called upon to be the living presence of Che in the world,” said Barros at the end of the one-day ceremony under the intense glare of the sun.

When told that Che was an atheist, Barros responded: “I think he was an atheist of a kind of God that the religions have spread throughout the world, which was a very conformist God, very much of the rich, of the kings, of the powerful.

“When we read about the life of Che we feel a very strong spirituality (regarding) the new man, a new land, the kingdom of God, as the Christians say, and in that aspect of things he seems to me to be a deep believer,” Barros said.

In La Higuera, ensconced in the mountains of southeast Bolivia, at an altitude of 2,200 metres (7,150 feet), on every anniversary of Che’s death, the stories about him surface, some of them real and others less so, from supposed witnesses of his sojourn in the area.

It is also possible to see objects that Guevara and his rebel comrades had or supposedly came in contact with that now form part of the museum set up by La Higuera resident Rene Villegas. Among those items is a chair to which Guevara was allegedly tied in the school.