Six skeletons uncovered during search for Ernesto Che Guevara
Jun. 28, 1997
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) _ Investigators will try to determine if the remains of guerrilla leader Ernesto ``Che'' Guevara are among six skeletons discovered Saturday under a Bolivian airstrip.
Cuban and Argentine forensics experts located the skeletal fragments in a common grave near the town of Vallegrande, said Dr. Jorge Gonzalez of the Cuban Institute of Legal Medicine.
Tests are to be conducted to determine whether the remains are those of Guevara and his rebel forces, Gonzalez said.
Bolivian forces seized Guevara and other rebels on October 8, 1967, near Vado del Yeso, in a remote area 250 miles southeast of the capital. The captured men were flown were flown 300 miles away to Vallegrande, where Guevara and some of his forces were executed.
Guevara was a charismatic Argentine doctor who fought with Fidel Castro in Cuba and was Cuba's second most influential leader until he returned to South America to foment revolution.
He remains a figure of almost mythic proportions, his bearded image appearing across Latin America on everything from T-shirts to mudguards on trucks.
Differences persist over the fate of Guevara's remains.
Retired Gen. Gary Prado, who headed a U.S.-trained military unit that hunted down Guevara, said last year that Guevara's body was incinerated and the ashes spread over a rain forest shortly after he was killed.
Retired Bolivian military officers claimed two years ago, however, that his remains were buried in a mass grave under the airstrip at Vallegrande, 550 miles east of the capital.
A four-month search by the experts in Vallegrande last year unearthed the remains of four slain rebels four miles from the airstrip. They renewed their hunt in May.