Cuba pays tribute to Che Guevara

Cuba pays tribute to Che Guevara
Raul Castro (left) and other veteran revolutionaries at the ceremony in Santa Clara

Ernesto Che Guevara would have been nearly 80 today had he lived

The memory of Latin American Marxist revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara is being honoured in Cuba 40 years after his capture and summary execution.

About 10,000 people are attending a ceremony at his mausoleum in Santa Clara, the town where he once fought a battle during Cuba’s revolution.

Raul Castro, brother of ailing Cuban leader Fidel, is at the event.

Other commemorations are being held in Bolivia and Venezuela, countries where the Argentine-born hero was active.

He had travelled to Bolivia to help lead an uprising but was tracked down and killed by soldiers in 1967.

Che’s ideas and looks have been captivating young people across the world since the late 1960s, his bearded face and beret acquiring iconic status.

‘Infinite revolutionary’

The ceremony in Santa Clara opened with the reading of a message from Fidel Castro, who paid tribute to Che as an "exceptional soldier".

A monument to Che in La Higuera village, Bolivia

A ceremony is expected to be held at the scene of Che’s death

Suffering from intestinal illness, the 81-year-old Cuban leader handed over power to his brother Raul 14 months ago.

Evo Morales, Bolivia’s leftist president, lavished praise on the dead revolutionary ahead of his country’s commemorations.

"It is impossible to eclipse the life of Che," he told Reuters news agency in an interview.

"Nobody could do that. One could consider themselves the successor of Che only if they give their life for humanity."

In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez described Che as an "infinite revolutionary" in a speech on TV.


Your pictures: Che Guevara images
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