The soldier believed to have executed Che Guevara during his failed attempt to foment revolution in Bolivia has died.
Mario Teran Salazar, the man accredited with killing the Argentine physician turned Marxist revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, died on Thursday, 10th March.
The former army sergeant passed away at the age of 80 in a military hospital in Santa Cruz in eastern Bolivia.
Teran Salazar had been living in the health facility due to age-related health problems.
He had reportedly been suffering from complications due to lung disease and had reportedly spent three weeks in intensive care.
Born in Cochabamba in central Bolivia, he first came to the world’s attention in 1967 after the French magazine Paris Match published his photo.
The magazine reported that he was ordered to execute Guevara following his capture during his failed attempt to foment revolution in the South American nation.
Years later, he would go on to recall: “That was the worst moment in my life. At that moment, Che appeared large, very large, enormous. His eyes shone intensely.
“I felt like he was on top of me and when he stared at me, it made me dizzy. ‘Be calm’, he said, ‘and aim well!’ ‘You’re going to kill a man!’
“Then I took a step back, towards the doorstep, closed my eyes and fired.”
But in 2014, he apparently backtracked, telling the Spanish newspaper El Mundo it was not he who killed the guerrilla leader but a namesake.
Despite speaking to the press on occasion, he generally led a discreet life away from the eyes of the media.
He leaves behind a wife and five children.
Che Guevara died on 9th October 1967 aged 39.
He is best remembered for being a major figure of the Cuban Revolution, which began on 26th July 1953 and ended on 1st January 1959 with the establishment of a revolutionary government led by Fidel Castro.
Cuba remains a unitary Marxist-Leninist one-party socialist republic to this day.
A well-known portrait of Guevara snapped by Cuban photographer Alberto Korda has been dubbed “the most famous photograph in the world”.
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