by Michael Ratner and Michael Steven Smith
In compelling detail two leading U.S. civil rights attorneys recount the extraordinary life and deliberate killing of the world’s most storied revolutionary: Ernesto Che Guevara. Michael Ratner and Michael Steven Smith survey the extraordinary trajectory of Che’s career, from an early politicization recounted in the Motorcycle Diaries, through meetings with his compañero Fidel Castro in Mexico, his vital role in the Cuban revolution, and his expeditions abroad to Africa and Latin America. But their focus is on Che’s final days in Bolivia where, after months of struggle to spread the revolution begun in Havana, Che is wounded, captured and, soon after, executed. Bound and helpless, Che’s last words to his killer, a soldier in the Bolivian Army, are “Remember, you are killing a man.”
Referencing internal U.S. government documentation, much of it never before published, Ratner and Smith bring their forensic skills as attorneys to analyze the evidence and present an irrefutable case that the CIA not only knew of and approved the execution, but was instrumental in making it happen. Cables from the agency disavowing any U.S. role in the murder were merely attempts to provide plausible deniability for the Johnson administration.
The spirit of Che Guevara, as an icon and an inspiration, is as vibrant today as it ever was. News photographs of democracy protestors in the Middle East carrying his image have circulated the world in recent months. For anyone drawn to his remarkable life and its violent, unlawful end, Who Killed Che? will engage, anger and educate.
“Ratner and Smith cut through the lies and distortions to provide a riveting and thoroughly documented history of the murder of Che Guevara. In an era when ‘targeted assassinations’ and ‘capture and kill operations’ have become routine, and are routinely glorified by the mainstream U.S. press, their examination of the U.S. role in Che Guevara’s death could not be more timely.” —Amy Goodman, host and executive producer, Democracy Now!