Guevara 'hunted' by dictators

Marxist revolutionary Ernesto 'Che' Guevara was 'hunted down' by Latin American dictators in the months leading up to his death, secret papers have revealed.

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Argentinian doctor-turned-guerilla Guevara died at the hands of Bolivian forces in 1967, more than a decade after taking a leading role in the Cuban revolution.

Newly discovered documents show the leaders of several Latin American countries coordinated their efforts to track Guevara's movements across the region.

A confidential report, dated October 3, 1966, was sent from the head of Paraguay's secret service to his Brazilian counterpart, warning him of the rebel leader's arrival.

"Che Guevara left Corumba [a Brazilian town on the border with Bolivia] under the false name of Oscar Ferreira," the document said.

Secret archives

Guevara had a beard and was sailing aboard the Victoria dos Palmares, which was likely to arrive at dawn, it warned, stating "he is in charge of a mission".

The cooperation pre-dates Operation Condor, the secret plan hatched by South American dictators in the 1970s to eliminate their political opponents.

"It is the first time that we find the name of Che Guevara linked to the dictatorships before the elaboration of Operation Condor," said Paraguayan researcher Martin Almada.

Mr Almada, 70, was key in uncovering the "Archives of Horror" – masses of paperwork abandoned by Paraguay's secret service after the collapse of General Alfredo Stroessner's dictatorship in 1989.

In 1992 the researcher, who had been detained and tortured under Stroesser's regime, found documents showing the existence of Operation Condor.

Armed revolution

Mr Almada said he only recently discovered the Che papers "because I have many documents and have not finished examining them all".

Ernesto 'Che' Guevara believed armed revolution was the only solution to the poverty and oppression suffered by much of South and Central America in the 1950s and 60s.

After meeting Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro in 1954, he played a key role in the overthrow of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959.

He left Cuba in 1965, later trying to shore up support for a rebel uprising in Bolivia, where he was captured by the army – aided by the US – and executed on October 9, 1967.

Since his death, Guevara has become an iconic figure, his image reproduced on millions of posters and t-shirts.