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Americas mark death of Che Guevara
Commemorations to be held to mark the 40th anniversary of revolutionary's death.
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2007 16:55 GMT
Guevara's image is one of the most recognisable in the world [AFP]
Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, the late doctor-turned-rebel-leader, is to be honoured in ceremonies in Central and South America, 40 years after his death.
 
The main ceremony in Cuba will begin at 8am on Monday (1200GMT) in Santa Clara, a town 300km east of Havana, where Guevara fought during the Cuban revolution in 1958 and where his remains are buried.
Aleida March, Che's widow, will attend the event, along with four of his children.
 
The ceremony is to be headed by a "leader of the revolution," the Juventud Rebelde, a Cuban newspaper, reported.
It did not specify whether Fidel Castro or Raul, his brother, the country's interim president since Castro underwent stomach surgery last year, will lead the commemoration.

Regional honours 

Meanwhile in Bolivia, Evo Morales, the president, will lead a ceremony in the southeastern town of Vallegrande, where Guevara's bones were found in a mass grave in 1997.

Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, will hold a ceremony at Pico del Aguila, west of the country, which Guevara had visited 55 years ago.

Other events include a session in Brazil's senate in Guevara's honour on October 23, as well as ceremonies in Guatemala and Mexico, where Guevara lived for many years.

A memorial is being built in Argentina to celebrate the 80th anniversary of his birth in June 2008.

'Revolutionary' ideals

Guevara was convinced that violence was needed to overturn what he saw an an "unjust social order" in Latin America.

After leading a group of Cubans fighting with Marxist rebels in the Congo, Che traveled to Bolivia in 1966. 

He led a small group of rebels in Bolivia for 11 months while trying to spread revolution, but found little support.

The Bolivian army and two Cuban-American CIA agents captured him in the village of La Higuera, and executed him on October 9, 1967. He was 39.

Marketing 'Che'

Guevara then became the personification of rebellion.

Businessmen used a photo taken by photographer Alberto Korda showing a defiant-looking Guevara and reproduced it on products ranging from t-shirts to backpacks.

However, Guevara's critics still see him as a dangerous and deluded terrorist.

"We feel sick about this grand show that goes on every year on the anniversary of his death," said Gary Prado, the commander of the Bolivian army rangers unit that captured Che.

"Rather than honour a man who came to invade the country, we should honour the armed forces, the soldiers who defended the country," he said. 

Prado described the Bolivian ceremony as "an offence to the country's dignity".
Source:
Agencies
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