Gary Prado Salmón, Bolivian Captor of Che Guevara, Dies at 84


Gen. Gary Prado Salmón, who as a Bolivian Military captain led the operation that captured the Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, a important ally of Fidel Castro’s within the Cuban revolution, in 1967, died on Might 6 in a hospital in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. He was 84.

His son Gary Prado Arauz introduced the loss of life on Fb however didn’t give a trigger.

After leaving Cuba in 1965, Mr. Guevara tried and didn’t stoke a Communist revolution motion in what’s now the Democratic Republic of Congo, after which he and different guerrillas headed to Bolivia the subsequent yr, hoping to overthrow the federal government of President René Barrientos Ortuño, a normal who had seized management of the nation in a coup.

Captain Prado and his males — a part of a C.I.A.-backed particular forces unit — had been looking the guerrillas for months when he acquired a tip from a farmer, an previous pal from faculty, who stated he had seen them in a deep ravine close to the small village of La Higuera.

At about 1 p.m. on Oct. 8, 1967, Captain Prado heard shouting from the ravine: His troopers had captured two guerrillas.

As certainly one of them surrendered, Normal Prado later instructed The New York Occasions, he known as out, “I’m Che Guevara, and I’m price extra to you alive than lifeless.”

Mr. Guevara had been wounded within the battle, his gun damaged.

“He introduced a pitiful determine, soiled, smelly and run-down,” Normal Prado stated in a 2017 interview with FT Journal. “He’d been on the run for months. His hair was lengthy, messy and matted, and his beard bushy.” And, Normal Prado stated, “He had no sneakers, simply scraps of animal skins on his toes.”

Mr. Guevara was held in a single room of a small schoolhouse within the close by village of La Higuera, the place he spoke a number of occasions with Captain Prado. Requested why he was combating in Bolivia, Mr. Guevara stated, “The revolution has no border.” Captain Prado instructed him he had come to the flawed nation, which he stated had undergone its personal revolution by means of agrarian reform and the nationalization of its mines.

“Then got here his concern about his future,” Normal Prado instructed the publication CE Noticias Financieras English this yr. “‘What will occur to me?’” I instructed him he’s going to go to trial.”

However the subsequent day, after Captain Prado left to pursue different guerrillas, he stated, Mr. Guevera was executed by a military sergeant on the orders of President Barrientos. Captain Prado returned in time to assist strap Mr. Guevera’s physique to the runners of a helicopter that took it to close by Vallegrande.

“He was then laid out on a concrete slab within the little laundry behind the hospital, and round 30 press photographers from everywhere in the world have been invited in to shoot photos of the physique because it lay in state,” Normal Prado instructed FT Journal. “It was vital for the federal government and the navy to indicate Che lifeless as a lesson to anybody desiring to invade or threaten the Bolivian lifestyle sooner or later.”

Normal Prado ultimately wrote two books, “How I Captured Che” (1987) and “The Defeat of Che Guevara: Army Response to Guerrilla Problem in Bolivia” (1990).

Normal Prado wrote two books about his seize of Che Guevara.

Gary Augusto Prado Salmón was born on Nov. 15, 1938, in Rome, to Julio Prado Montaño, a Bolivian Military officer who was on task within the metropolis, and Adela Salmón Tapia. At 15, after the household had returned to Bolivia, Gary enrolled in navy school, and graduated as a second lieutenant in 1958. He grew to become an teacher on the school.

In 1974, seven years after the seize of Mr. Guevara made Captain Prado a navy hero, he was arrested as one of many leaders of an rebellion in opposition to the navy dictatorship of President Hugo Banzer Suárez. A yr later, although, he was reinstated.

In 1981, by now a colonel commanding the military’s Eighth Division, he led the recapture of an Occidental Petroleum pure gasoline plant in Santa Cruz that had been held by ultra-rightists who had threatened to blow it up until Bolivia’s navy junta resigned.

However it could be Colonel Prado’s remaining active-duty operation: He was paralyzed by a bullet to his backbone fired by certainly one of his personal males. Citing a witness’s account, The Miami Herald reported that he had been shot by a second lieutenant in what Colonel Prado stated was an accident.

Colonel Prado was ultimately promoted to the rank of normal, however the damage, which left him in a wheelchair, blocked his path to being the military’s commander, as he had as soon as hoped. He retired from the navy within the late Nineteen Eighties, after which served as Bolivia’s ambassador to Britain and later to Mexico.

Details about his survivors was not instantly out there.

Some Mexican admirers of Mr. Guevera opposed Normal Prado’s appointment as ambassador. Throughout a reception at a Mexican cultural middle in 2001, Alberto Hijar, an artwork critic, threw a glass of wine at Normal Prado and shouted, “To Che’s well being!” Mr. Hijar instructed The Chicago Tribune, “He’s a conflict felony.”

However Normal Prado instructed The Tribune: “I’ve acted appropriately in all of my life, not solely on this episode. I don’t must be embarrassed or to cover.” He tried to reduce the significance of capturing Mr. Guevera, including, “All of that incident is hardly 4 traces within the historical past of Bolivia.”


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