CNN Interactive
April 30, 1998

                      Che felt betrayed by Castro, Bolivian officer claims

                      Web posted at: 21:45 ART, Buenos Aires time (00:45 GMT)

                      LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) -- On the eve of his execution in Bolivia
                      three decades ago, Ernesto "Che" Guevara said he felt betrayed by
                      his colleague-in-revolution Fidel Castro, a retired Bolivian officer
                      said Thursday.

                      Guevara, who fought alongside Castro in the Cuban revolution in
                      the late 1950s and later fomented rebellion in Bolivia, also said he
                      favored starting a rebel front in Peru but traveled to Bolivia on
                      Castro's insistence.

                      While this is not the first time retired air force Gen. Nino de
                      Guzman has discussed Guevara publicly, he has never before
                      talked about his final moments with the doctor-turned-guerrilla
                      leader. The new revelations, which emerged in an interview with
                      The Associated Press on Thursday, include conversations between
                      the two and an exchange of gifts.

                      Guevara is revered as a revolutionary hero in Cuba and he remains
                      a mythic figure across Latin America, where his bearded likeness
                      can be found on everything from T-shirts to truck mudguards.

                      Nino de Guzman met Guevara on Oct. 9, 1967, after the guerrilla
                      leader had been injured and captured by Bolivian army troops. As
                      a helicopter pilot, the now-retired officer was sent to the village
                      where Guevara and other guerrilla survivors were being held.

                      After Guevara was executed, by Bolivian army soldiers on orders
                      from the military high command, Nino de Guzman took his body
                      by helicopter to Vallegrande, where it was buried near the airstrip.

                      "I was probably the last person to talk at length with Che before he
                      was executed," Nino de Guzman told the AP.

                      He said he met Guevara in a small room, surrounded by several
                      Bolivian soldiers, and that he struck up a conversation after lighting
                      Guevara's pipe.

                      `"Fidel betrayed me"', Nino de Guzman says Guevara repeated
                      several times. Guevara did not elaborate on the statement, he said.

                      During their meeting, he gave Guevara some tobacco, and the
                      wounded guerrilla took a brown-covered, hand-written booklet
                      out of his boot and handed it to Nino de Guzman. When Guevara's
                      skeleton was recovered last year in Vallegrande, pieces of the
                      tobacco were found in his jacket pocket.

                      The booklet was Guevara's first proclamation to Latin Americans
                      and Bolivians, and on Thursday, Nino de Guzman disclosed its
                      existence for the first time. He said he hadn't wanted to release the
                      booklet until now.

                      "We make our voices heard for the first time," Guevara wrote in
                      the booklet. "We have to reach all the corners of this continent
                      with the echo of our cry for rebellion. We rise today having
                      exhausted all possibilities of a peaceful fight to show through our
                      example the road to follow."

                      The former Bolivian air force officer, who was not present for
                      Guevara's execution, on Thursday also displayed what he said
                      were never-before-published photos of the guerrilla leader's body
                      before it was cleaned up and shown to the world press. One
                      depicted Guevara's head turned sideways, his body covered with
                      blood and his hair rumpled. Another showed Guevara's body
                      strapped to a helicopter just before it was taken to Vallegrande.

                      Nino de Guzman said Thursday that Guevara, Cuba's second
                      most-powerful leader following the revolution, told him that
                      support from Cuba and the Bolivian Communist Party was already
                      in decline early on in his ill-fated guerrilla campaign in Bolivia.
                      Divisions within the party and the Bolivian labor movement were
                      part of the reason, Nino de Guzman said.

                      The guerrilla leader went on to say that Peruvian peasants would
                      have been more receptive to rebellion than the poor in Bolivia,
                      who already owned land thanks to agrarian reform, he said.

                      Guevara's efforts to rouse the Bolivian peasants and Indians were
                      fruitless, and his tiny band was wiped out, by U.S.-trained Bolivian