LA PAZ – President Evo Morales attended a ceremony this weekend honoring the former Bolivian soldiers who helped defeat guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara 50 years ago, but he delivered an address praising the Argentine revolutionary.
Morales, an admirer of Che’s communist revolutionary ideology, told the armed forces high command and the retired soldiers that there was a difference between “interventionism” and “internationalism,” arguing that Guevara and his guerrillas were practitioners of the latter and followed in the steps of Simon Bolivar.
“Some 50 years ago, Che also came to liberate Bolivia, perhaps to refound it, as we are now refounding Bolivia. Interventionism to subdue us, internationalism to liberate us,” Morales said.
On Saturday, the former soldiers were awarded medals and honored with a military parade after they complained that Morales had participated in events last week marking the 50th anniversary of Che’s execution in Bolivia but had ignored them.
After taking office in 2006, Morales suspended ceremonies honoring the soldiers who fought against Che and his band of rebels in the southeastern region of Ñancahuazu.
On Oct. 8, 1967, the Bolivian army – with backing from the CIA – captured Guevara and wiped out his rebel forces; the revolutionary leader was executed the following day in the southern village of La Higuera on the orders of President Rene Barrientos.