Bolivian Diary: In the Footsteps of Che
Ann Wright


Che's monument in La Higuera

Ever since I read Che Guevara’s Bolivian Diaries in 1970, I had always wondered about that remote region where he fought, died, was buried, and his corpse was finally unearthed. When I was recently asked to translate a book by Argentine painter Ciro Bustos dealing with some of the events surrounding Che’s guerrilla movement in Bolivia, I thought ‘here’s my chance.’ I persuaded myself I needed to research the vegetation, terrain, topography in order to describe it better in the book.

First stop, though, was La Paz, the capital of Bolivia high in the Andes at 3,500 metres, far from the low agricultural region where Che fought but where I’d have a chance to talk to Bolivians whose lives were affected by the tragic episode four decades ago. When I recovered from two days laid low by the ‘mal de soroche’ (altitude sickness), I met Loyola Guzman who acted as liaison between Che’s guerrilla’s and the Bolivian Communist Party, then Antonio Peredo a well known journalist whose two brothers ‘Inti’ and ‘Coco’ fought with Che, and finally Carlos Soria another journalist who has spent a life-time studying the whys and wherefores of Che’s defeat and is one of the few people to have actually seen Che’s original diary kept in Bolivia’s central bank. In a field were so many people have so many different versions of events, his website gives as fair a rundown as possible.

(I also took the opportunity of a side trip to Lake Titicaca and in it the Island of the Sun where the Inca God/King Viracocha apparently appeared. It is the highest large expanse of water in the world, a bright blue surrounded in the distance by the white capped mountains of the Andes; magical on a sunny day.)

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