The answer is generally the CIA, although in my dim recollection a local pulled the trigger. Preppies don’t shoot anything but birds.
I was reading another blog and apparently this is the anniversary of his death. I recently watched a documentary (available through Netflix! Now cut the pop ups and enroll me in the affiliate program you bastards! Just kidding! No not really) entitled “Nobody Listened” or in Spanish “Nadie escuchaba.” I can only recommend it for hard-core anti-communists for two reasons. One is they use white subtitles against a background that is frequently white, so you can read maybe 80% of them. My Spanish is weak so I really would have liked to read it all.
My second criticism is more to the point. Almost every one of the plaintive interviewees, so distressed by their maltreatment by the Cuban Communist revolution, was a former member of it. A few were close aides of Castro who went to prison within days of his victory. Many more were functionaries who ran afoul of him a few years later. Well, what did you morons think was going to happen? Please understand this- if you believe something that is obviously not true, the untruthfulness of which is easily established by readily available sources, you are stupid, regardless of your IQ, SAT score, or GPA is. If intelligence is not a tool to cope with the world then it is nothing. Simply aping things you have read in books or heard in lectures will get you nowhere, not even in a Communist or other socialist regime. I’m sure every day some young idealist in government or education gets eaten alive by “dumber” people who know the office politics of the outfit.
Somebody said a revolutionary regime needs many supporters, but few activists. So once it achieves victory it immediately has a surplus of activists who must be dealt with. Apparently in Cuba this was done immediately, while in the Soviet Union it took some years before it got started. Had Communists learned from the mistakes there? Did Soviet advisors tell Castro he needed to take care of right-sizing the organization quickly? The study of history is endlessly fascinating.
“Che” would have been a special case. I’m guessing that he and Fidel were as good friends as such people can be, and yet Fidel could hardly stand to have a charismatic hero around. On the other hand jailing and shooting him as a fascist saboteur was out of the question, even allowing for sentiment.
Sending him out of the country to murder people elsewhere was the most convenient solution. Still I can’t help but think Che knew he was being set up as soon as he got the assignment. Travel is quite dangerous for a high profile terrorist. The only place he would have had safe haven was Cuba, or traveling on a diplomatic passport as a Cuban government official. I doubt the romance of being out in the bush supervising operations had any charm left for him. It’s a job for a young man, of much lower status looking to prove something. It’s dangerous and having seen what happened in Cuba, the fascists were likely to be on guard, and keenly motivated to avoid the same fate.
My speculation aside, Guevara met with little success and a grim end after a relatively brief time. I don’t think appearing on millions of T-shirts would have held much consolation for him, however valuable of a propaganda symbol he is.
Che Guevara was killed by Fidel Castro just as surely as any of the unlucky victims shot by Che himself in Cuba. But how is that novel or surprising? The top of a revolution is a place quite as dangerous as the bottom, as the French and Bolshevik revolutions proved. Guevara, like so many others, though it was different for him. Being turned on by something you believe in is a bewildering fate- Orwell was an insightful, discerning man and it even surprised him. At least Che was spared the humiliating end of Yezhov and others.
Maybe he maintained much of his illusion in the last moments- I doubt he maintained it all, but he was not an introspective man so he must have kept some. We all treasure our delusions, but for a revolutionary they are a little more precious.