The Fall of Che Guevara: A Story of Soldiers, Spies, and Diplomats

The Fall of Che Guevara: A Story of Soldiers, Spies, and Diplomats

The Fall of Che Guevara: A Story of Soldiers, Spies, and Diplomats

The Fall of Che Guevara: A Story of Soldiers, Spies, and Diplomats

Synopsis

The Fall of Che Guevara tells the story of Guevara's last campaign, in the backwoods of Bolivia, where he hoped to ignite a revolution that would spread throughout South America. For the first time, this book shows in detail the strategy of the U.S. and Bolivian governments to foil his efforts. Based on numerous interviews and on secret documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from the CIA, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the National Security Archive, this work casts new light on the roles of a Green Beret detachment sent to train the Bolivians and of the CIA and other U.S. agencies in bringing Guevara down. Ryan's shows that Guevara was an agent of Cuban foreign policy from the time he met Fidel Castro in 1955 until his death--not a mere independent revolutionary, as many scholars have claimed. Guevara's attempted insurgency in Bolivia was in reality a Cuban attempt to achieve another badly-needed revolutionary success. This dramatic account of the last days of Che Guevara will appeal to scholars and students of United States foreign policy and Latin American history, and to all those interested in this revolutionary's remarkable life.

Excerpt

The purpose of this book is to tell the story of the U.S. government's response to Che Guevara during his insurgency in Bolivia in 1966-67. This story serves as a case history of U.S. counterinsurgency practices as they developed following World War II and were honed to a fine point during the tense Cold War years of the 1960s. Many people who remember how disastrously wrong the attempt at counterinsurgency went in Southeast Asia tend to forget that it succeeded in Latin America.

Guevara hoped not just to start a guerrilla war in Bolivia but to ignite a rebellion against the established order in all of South America, while at the same time delivering a major blow to U.S. influence there--to "Yankee imperialism," he would say. Readers must determine for themselves whether the defeat of Cuban aspirations should be regretted or applauded, but unquestionably it had an important effect on politics in the Western Hemisphere. Guevara's failure not only diminished Cuban revolutionary hopes but also reduced the value of Cuba's hand in its bitter struggle within international communist circles over the proper way to create revolution. Consequently, the case had greater significance for both sides than indicated by the limited dimensions of the actual fighting, and therefore it merits close attention.

In studying the U.S. response to the insurgency, I will closely examine the controversial involvement of U.S. officials in Guevara's death. I will also present biographic sketches of the main actors in the drama and occasionally focus on disputes among officials and on personal tensions . . .

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