Bolivia, Kevin Mauer, Che Guevara discussed on John Batchelor

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Mitch wise and Kevin Mauer are the authors. Kevin is here. Kevin very good evening to you on the brand of DCA. It's flown by way of Panama City, Lima, Peru. And now as landing in La Paz Bolivia is a man name Felix Rodriguez and his colleague Gustavo, the Lodo who are they? And why have they flown Bolivia? Well, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Well, Felix as you pointed out, the beginning is sort of one of our main protagonists, and he and Gustavo were tapped by the US government are there Cuban exiles whether you're urban to fly to Bolivia and help to Bolivia track down Che Guevara? And the reason why they got not Americans is because at the time the warned Vietnam was bogging down troops. And there was a real aversion to sending more American troops into a foreign war. So did they were a policy that banned American soldiers from going into what they call the red zone, which is the area in Bolivia where the guerrillas rob writing. So to get around that the CIA hired these two Cuban exiles to do it. And therefore since they're not American citizens. They are able to go into the red zone. The head of the CIA station in Bolivia at the time is John Tilton. Now he knows Rodriguez and the lull dove by their pseudonyms their nom-de-guerre Rodriguez has called Felix Ramos. Medina and Vallejo has called Edwato Gonzales, they are Cubans. And they're veterans of the twenty five oh, six brigade. What is that? Kevin the twenty five or six brigade or the Cuban exiles that were trained and initially backed considerably by the American government to invade Cuba during the bay of pigs there also the same guys that were left behind by the American government on the beach when nothing went south. So they wouldn't they return from that operation post Gustavo, and and Felix were were old hands with the CIA in Miami working all the little operations in an anti-castro operations. They were running there. And they knew Guevarra was he's an Argentine. He's not a Cuban and they knew him, and they knew his reputation and they condemn completely. They want him caught. They want him dead volcano in particular. What is it about Che Guevara and his conduct with Castro that made them disdain him so much. Well, I mean. Changle various is arguably if not well, he's one a on the list of folks to the Cuban exiles hate the most mostly because he has a very interesting history. He gets a lot of credit for being what people believe is this liberator of the oppressed in insane up for the for the people, but his track record really doesn't support it especially after the revolution in Cuba. He really became an executioner. He ran a prison named LA Cabana, and he had a really harsh reputation of of taking care of opposition to the revolution. So that's what the Cubans. Remember is is a guy who was an execution in a prison. Warden and gets volda remembers him, particularly because his father had been confronted by shea. Personally. This is during the revolution in nineteen Fifty-nine, February fifty nine and his father had been given a choice either kill yourself, or we'll kill your sons and his father had committed suicide. So this is personal with the logo. And personal with Rodriguez because he'd been part of twenty five zero six at the bay of pigs the Kennedy administration, this is five years later, and these men have recovered to the point are they I officers are. They cut outs. Are they CIA payroll at this time Kevin there? I think there's sort of contractors at this point Felix on having a lustrous career with the CIA later after this. But at this point, I think they were sort of they were on the payroll that they weren't I wouldn't consider them officers. I wouldn't consider them staff at this one. And they when they fly into lapaz do believe the chairs there, they have accepted all the rumors. As fact and they're going to now hunting. Let's go back to the early days of the spring of sixty seven who is president Generale Rene Barrientos are tuna who does the who is he at the time. And what part does he play on this? Well, this was the president of Bolivia a former air force general took over and a coup was real. Elected. And you know, he he's got a very checkered history as well. But he was very popular with the the native American population. There. And then also he was also very popular with some of the peasants campesinos because of some land reforms that he's government had had done years before. So he's the president. You know, he's allowed American president. But you know, there's a lot of debate about how good he wasn't how wasn't but at that point. He was a staunch anti-communist. He was an ally of the United States and the United States was looking for allies in Latin America because it was in a contest with Cuba that it was then backed by the Soviets, and so this is very much a Cold War story. Even though we're in La Paz. Oh, yeah. This is ground zero of the Cold War. This is probably one of the first major engagement. So the Nicole were fight in my in America for sure now, the puzzle here is how do they know? It's chase. They don't when it first happens. There's an ambush an army patrol is attacked by men with weapons that may be guerrillas. May be revolutionaries the outback as you describe it. Kevin in your book with Mitch wise. This is beyond jungle this is mountainous terrain where there's no real accuracy of anybody's account. There tells stories that tell legends. I thought often I was reading the treasure this year Madre giant Tigers and elephants and bears anything's possible. And that was sort of one of the things that attracted us the story. I mean, there's a lot of legend that goes around the hunt and capture and eventual execution is takeover. So that was sort of one of the fun parts of doing this as we we really comb through a lot of the archives of papers to look at. How the reporters time we're telling the story, and and at the time, you know, share was a ghost. They weren't positive exactly where he was he was coming up in rumors constantly and every little hotspot in Latin America, there was a rumor that it was because he really dropped off the map after his his his kind of disastrous attempt to to spurn revolution in central Africa. There's an there's an ambush in real non Kar Juan L valley, which is very far away from La Paz. And there's a rumor of guerrillas, but these significant breakthrough is the capture of documents in a Jeep. It's amazing. You can't make this stuff up in a place called St. in chimera, which is one hundred and sixty miles from Santa Cruz, the large city, what did they find in the post? He picks up. It's a it's a woman named Tanya. She's a eastern east German. I believe eastern European who who was working with Che as part of sort of his exhilarating at that point chaired arrived in Bolivia and his of goal was to set up a revolution in Bolivia an expert at all over Latin America because Bolivia's sort of a central central location in in South America. It was just a good spot to start at. So change is is out training. His guerrillas Tanya is helping with a lot of logistics and stuff, but she had all the documentation, she had all the networks. So they find her Jeep because she goes in with Rene. Neighbor, not Rene very interest with the Debray, a French communists who wanted to taste the revolutionary life. So he goes in to meet with Che and tanya's could take some and when she's doing that they find a living find her Jeep, and then when the Jeep they find documents that lay out the complete network of chase chase group. And that's how they really start pulling the threat where they have a good idea that is chain fact in Bolivia, I'm speaking with Kevin our, and he and his colleague Mitch Weiss have put together a book that tells the dramatic story of the hunt for Che and their moments here where you think this is going to fall apart. They can't possibly pull this together. When we come back. We're going to introduce the special forces into this drama because very carefully nine nineteen sixty seven there were rules. There were rules of conduct and the rules forbid the United States getting directly involved as it in the twenty first century in guerrilla war. I'm John Batchelor. This is the John Batchelor show. This is Dr Howard founder and formulator of balance of nature. We're changing America one life at a time. Now, these are probably the best supplements have ever had I've cut out all the other stuff then taking and stuff like that. I went to the us the blood pressure meds almost immediately. 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