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Mbeki pays tribute to Che Guevara

President Thabo Mbeki on Friday paid tribute to Argentina-born revolutionary Che Guevara, who died at the age of 39 in Bolivia forty years ago.

More than anything else, Guevara’s was a life dedicated to the genuine independence of all countries, the true liberation of each people, social progress within all countries and emancipating the working people from the scourges of poverty, hunger and underdevelopment, Mbeki said in his weekly online newsletter, ANC Today.

”In Africa, Asia and Latin America, the decade of the 1960s, which claimed the life of one of the great human beings of the age, Che Guevara, was indeed characterised by many struggles and was driven by the hope shared by billions across the globe that they would achieve the goals to which Che dedicated his life.”

After playing a leading role in Fidel Castro’s Cuban revolution, Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to offer his ”modest efforts of assistance” in other parts of the world.

Having spent some time with the then-resistance movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Guevara went to Bolivia to offer assistance to the Bolivian people, Mbeki said.

He was captured by the Bolivian army on October 8 1967, having been wounded during a battle between his guerrilla unit and the army.

He was murdered the following day, October 9, shot by one Sergeant Terran, allegedly on the orders of the Bolivian high command.

”Apart from what has been reported, we do not know what else went through Che Guevara’s mind as he faced his assassin 40 years ago, determined to die standing.

”We do not know whether, like Shakespeare’s exiled Duke, he felt that his adversity would serve to liberate the despised, proving that, after all, like the toad, ugly and venomous, it too wore a precious jewel in its head, as in fact it did,” Mbeki said. — Sapa

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