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Bolivian terror cell update: The "Che" connection

gary-prado.jpg

If this man's face gives you an ugly feeling (as it does me), it's well warranted. This is one key member of the death squad responsible for the cowardly, secretive assassination of Latin America's most famous guerrilla hero. And that's apparently not the only death squad he ran with. It appears that his penchant for right-wing terror against leftist leaders continues to this day, and that he has branched out to democratically elected leaders, since there are no more guerrillas to go after. And his most recent associations are damning...

Gary Prado, the ex-general who captured the legendary guerrilla, Ernesto "Che" Guevara in the Bolivian jungle in 1967, faces the accusation of suspected links with a terrorist network in Bolivia.

Prado was summoned to make a statement on Friday before prosecutor Marcelo Soza, who accused him of exchanging "ultra-secret" e-mails with Eduardo Rózsa Flores, head of the terror cell, killed last April during a firefight with federal police in a hotel in Santa Cruz.

"Mr. Prado needs to explain why he exchanged encrypted electronic messages with Rózsa," said the prosecutor.

Seven persons are currently jailed in connection with the case, one of whom is the son of a former governor of Santa Cruz.

According to Soza, Prado used the pseudonym "Sucupira", and Rózsa was "Camba 3" when they exchanged secret e-mails with military codes. The content of the messages has not been divulged.

Prado formerly denied links to Rózsa, saying he sought him out as a journalist. He said he will not appear to testify in La Paz, where the investigation is based, but in Santa Cruz where the events took place.

Prado's son, who bears the same name and is a candidate for mayor of Santa Cruz under the banner of an opposition party, has also been summoned to testify on Friday over suspected ties to Rózsa's group.

"This is worse than a badly-written Venezuelan soap opera," said Prado Jr., announcing that he also would not show up in La Paz but is prepared to speak his piece in Santa Cruz.

Gary Prado Sr. was an army captain when his patrol captured Che in the southeastern jungles of Bolivia. The guerrilla leader was executed on October 9, 1967.

Mexican writer and movie critic Alberto Hijar once dashed a glass of wine in Prado's face while shouting a toast "to Che's health".

In 1981, while still in active service, Prado Sr. was hit by a bullet in the spine and remains disabled.

Eduardo Rózsa Flores was a Bolivian-Hungarian veteran of the Croatian war, who had been contracted by radical opposition separatists to organize a militia against Evo Morales, president of Bolivia. He died in April of last year, along with Magyarosi Arpád (Hungarian-Croatian) and Michael Martin Dwyer (Irish), in a hotel where they were staying. Detained in the same raid were Mario Tadic (Bolivian-Croat) and Elöd Tóásó (Hungarian).

Translation mine.

Considering how many of the thugs responsible for Che's death seem to have been hit with a curse immediately following the dirty deed, Gary Prado, Che's chief captor, has gotten off rather lightly. He's still alive, for one thing. Eduardo Galeano lists a litany of karmic curse-bearers in his excellent Days and Nights of Love and War.

Jon Lee Anderson's less poetic, but more factually detailed bio of Che also notes a chilling pattern:

Many of the men who were associated with Che's death in Bolivia went on to die violently, leading some to believe in a so-called "curse of Che." The first to die was Bolivia's military president, General René Barrientos, whose helicopter fell out of the sky in unexplained circumstances in April 1969. Honorato Rojas, the peasant collaborator who had betrayed Joaquín's column, was executed by the "second" ELN in late 1969. In 1971, Colonel Roberto Quintanilla, Arguedas's intelligence chief at the Ministry of the Interior, the man who made Che's fingerprints, was murdered in Germany.

The populist president General Juan José Torres--who as a member of Barrientos's joint chiefs of staff had cast his vote in favor of Che's execution in 1967--was murdered by the Argentine death squads in 1976, after his overthrow and flight into exile. Only two weeks earlier, General Joaquín Zenteno Anaya had been gunned down in Paris in an action claimed by the obscure "Che Guevara International Brigade."

After his acclaimed role in the "defeat of Che", however, Captain Gary Prado rose rapidly within the armed forces, eventually becoming a colonel. But, during an operation to suppress an armed revolt in Santa Cruz in 1981, he was shot and left paralyzed from the waist down. [...]

Lieutenant Colonel Andrés Selich fared the least well of those who were directly involved in the capture and execution of Che Guevara. In 1971, Selich led a military revolt that ousted President Juan José Torres and brought the right-wing General Hugo Banzer Suárez to power. After serving as Banzer's interior minister for only six months, however, Selich was sidelined and sent into diplomatic exile as ambassador to Paraguay. He soon began conspiring against the dictator, and after secretly re-entering Bolivia in 1973, preparing to launch a new revolt, he was caught and beaten to death by army thugs on Banzer's orders. [...]

The executioner, Mario Terán, is a pathetic figure, a man who continues to live in hiding--at times wearing wigs and other disguises--out of fear for his life, convinced he has long been targeted for assassination by Cuba or its allies. Given a series of menial jobs by the army to keep him going, including that of bartender in the officers' club of Santa Cruz Eighth Army Division headquarters, Terán is a deeply bitter man, seeing himself as a scapegoat for his superior officers [...]

Emphasis added.

Anderson also notes that the infamous Félix Rodríguez, the ex-Cuban CIA man who had relentlessly pursued Che, and who had a morbid trophy picture taken of himself with Che shortly before the latter's execution, and who was later to get his disgraceful come-uppance during the Iran-Contra affair, came down with an illness whose nature can only be described as karmically fitting:

Within a few days, Rodríguez was back in the United States for debriefings with his CIA bosses. He had brought back some personal relics from his trip, among them several Rolex watches found in Che's possession, and Che's last pouch of pipe tobacco, half-smoked, which he had wrapped in paper; later, he would put the tobacco inside a glass bubble set into the butt of his favorite revolver. The strangest legacy of all, though, was the shortness of breath he developed soon after arriving in Vallegrande [with Che's body, which was secretly buried there near a military airstrip]. "As I walked in the cool mountain air I realized that I was wheezing, and that it was becoming hard to breathe," Rodríguez wrote twenty-five years later. "Che may have been dead, but somehow his asthma--a condition I had never had in my life--had attached itself to me. To this day, my chronic shortness of breath is a constant reminder of Che and his last hours alive in the tiny town of La Higuera."

Touched by a ghost, perhaps?

Anderson downplays the curse angle, but the conclusion is inescapable. Che had a lot of mojo...and that spirit continued to make its presence felt long after his body lay moldering in its secret grave in Vallegrande, planted there by cowards who could not bear to bury him like a man.

And Evo is no slouch in that department, either. The opposition to him is crumbling; he has the support of two-thirds of Bolivia's population, and it cuts across class and color lines. Even in Santa Cruz, supposedly an oppo stronghold, Evo's popularity is growing. "A bad Venezuelan soap opera" it certainly is...and the right-wingers are the authors of their own damn farce in both countries. None of them can do politics without recourse to racism, sabotage, and murder, it seems. And the harder they try to topple him, the more Evo rises, and the more they sink. That, too, is karmically fitting.

I have a hunch that Prado's curse has not played out to its end, though. And since he seems to have taken part in a plot to kill Evo as well as Che, he's in for a heavy karmic whammy.

Sucks to be you, Gary Prado.

Comments

As to the asthma, and I have it myself, it couldn't happen more appropriately or to a more deserving person. What a slimeball.
Ya know, 'Bina, it was a great Canadian band who sang, "...No sugar in my coffee, no sugar tonight in my tea,...". Maybe we could get someone to add a little sugar to his coffee or tea. Mixed with something REALLY nasty.
Just kidding...or not.

Yep...it was the Guess Who.

As for the sugar, there's another song (not by the Guess who, but on the Burn After Reading soundtrack) that goes: "Who can take the sugar from the sack/Put in LSD, and put it back?/Fuckin' A men/CIA men..." Since ol' Félix is CIA, I'm sure he can appreciate a little LSD in his tea.

Or better still, a LOT.

There is not really that much mystery about the deaths, and karma is probably not involved either.

The Che was a jew, and the jews will go after anybody who kills one of them. The deaths listed above look like planned hits, made to look like like a 'curse' or whatever appeals to the superstitions of the Bolivians and more widely all South Americans.

The people still alive can be theorized to be more useful alive than dead, either to run badly thought out conspiracies against Evo, or as an example of somebody living in dishonorable conditions, like the guy working as a bartender.

Just a thought.

If Che was Jewish, how come his entire family was Roman Catholic?

Just a thought.

Good research. The man appears as if he is looking at his doom. Hasta siempre, Prado hdp.

I hope he's soiling himself at the prospect of what he sees, too.