- Fifty-one years after Che’s death, today it is known that Gustavo Villoldo Sampera, Félix Ismael Rodríguez Mendigutía, and Julio Gabriel García García, who received military training at U.S. bases, were responsible for his assassination.
The presence of a large group of Cuban-born infiltrated Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents in the Bolivian Interior Ministry, there to wage war against the guerrilla forces of Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara and to lead criminal actions against the left in this country, was recently confirmed by the revelations of a close collaborator of the United States, who served as head of the Bolivian Intelligence Services and the CIA Technical Department in La Paz, between 1964 and 1968.
In the documentary titled Operación Gaveta 1964-1968, La CIA en Bolivia, testimonio del agente CIA Ricardo Aneyba Torrico | The CIA in Bolivia: Testimony of CIA agent Ricardo Aneyba Torrico, Aneyba states that “It was the gringos who were in charge in Bolivia. The entire third floor of the government ministry was run by the Cubans of Miami, by the gusanera, CIA officers and agents.”
The historic research carried out by Cuban doctors Adys Cupull and Froilán González, included in the books The CIA Against Che and Sin olvido crímenes en La Higuera, identified no less than 12 Cuban-born CIA agents, with false identities, and some with a history of terrorist activity.
They specify that three of these agents participated actively in the assassination of Che and his comrades: Gustavo Villoldo Sampera, Félix Ismael Rodríguez Mendigutía and Julio Gabriel García García. The three were all part of the terrorist anti-Cuban mafia and received military training in U.S. bases; were on the CIA payroll, which trained them in techniques of infiltration, interrogation, torture, explosives, interception of correspondence, telephone communications, and persecution.
They were also included on police reports for their implication in drug trafficking scandals in different parts of the world, including in the countries where they carried out criminal missions on behalf of the CIA. However, the evidence against them was never “sufficient” and they always escaped the U.S. justice system.
A quick look at agent Gustavo Villoldo’s career reveals him working as a collaborator of Fulgencio Batista’s police in 1959; a year later, he was recruited by the CIA to act against Cuba; and two years later he was already the main agent of infiltration and sabotage groups. In Bolivia, he participated in the interrogation and torture of detainees, and publicly boasted of having kicked and slapped Che’s body, and of the decision to cut off his hands.
In Brazil and Mexico, he coordinated plans for attacks against Cuban diplomats. He was sent by the CIA as an agent of torture to Vietnam, and to Honduras during the dirty war against Nicaragua.
As early as 1978, the FBI had presented the CIA with arguments and evidence of his involvement in drug trafficking, and of a plane he owned having disappeared with two Cuban-born crew members mixed up in the illicit drug trade. The Agency protected him and dismissed the evidence. Five years later, he established a business selling seafood, which was denounced as a cover for his narcotics operation, linked to the mafia.
He attended a military training course at Fort Benning, Georgia, alongside terrorists Luis Posada Carriles, Jorge Mas Canosa, and Félix Rodríguez.
This last terrorist, who called himself Félix Ramos and was born in Cuba in 1941, was educated by his uncle José Antonio Mendigutía Silvera, Fulgencio Batista’s minister of Public Works, and one of his closest collaborators.
“El Gato” (The Cat) Félix, as he was also known among Miami mafiosos and CIA agents, had studied at the Havana Military Academy before leaving Cuba in 1960. He arrived in Florida, was recruited by the Agency and sent to the Panama Canal to receive terrorist training. His first proposal was a plan to assassinate Comandante en Jefe Fidel Castro Ruz, and he immediately became involved in the infiltration of equipment and explosives for sabotage actions, as well as supplies to the internal counterrevolution to support the invasion at Playa Girón. A month after the crushing defeat there, he sought refuge in an embassy, from where he left for Caracas, Venezuela, and then traveled to the U.S.
It was precisely CIA agent Félix Rodríguez who at 10:00am on October 9, 1967, received the encrypted message from his superiors with the order to assassinate Che. He carried out the order past 1:00pm that same day, after attempting to interrogate Che, beating him and telling him that he was going to kill him. This cowardly attitude was repudiated even by the Bolivian soldiers present. Researchers note that “The CIA agent also fired at Che’s body.”
Having earned his stripes as a murderer, Rodríguez was rewarded with U.S. citizenship. The CIA sent him to Peru in 1968, to teach intelligence and patrol classes to a paratrooper unit; and he was later sent to South Vietnam to torture and interrogate prisoners. The Agency awarded him the “Star for Valor.”
During the 1980s, he was used in U.S. operations and dirty wars in Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Chile, and Nicaragua, where he was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal, accused of participating in arms and drug trafficking, in collusion with the CIA and the Nicaraguan Contras.
The last public images of Rodríguez place him in Panama City during the 2015 Summit of the Americas, fleeing into a minibus faced with the popular response to his provocations along with other anti-Cuban mafiosos and terrorists.
According to the research by Froilán González and Adys Cupull, the CIA agent who decided to sever Che’s hands was Julio Gabriel García García, born in Havana in 1928, a man with delusions of grandeur and hallucinations, who worked in the fascist police force of Francisco Franco in Spain, and later in Batista’s secret police. It was he who, on the triumph of the Revolution, transferred part of the archives of the Bureau for the Repression of Communist Activities (BRAC), where he was an instructor, to the U.S. Embassy in Havana, for their subsequent transfer to that country.
In Bolivia, he installed himself in the Interior Ministry building, and occupied almost the entire third floor, taking over the Intelligence Service for his purposes. He participated in interrogations and torture of campesinos, social leaders, and guerrillas, using savage violence, including throwing guerrilla fighters out of helicopters to their death.
He also received U.S. citizenship for his bloody service record, which he considered “the highest honor” of his life. He would later advise military dictatorships in Latin America, and end up involved in a drug trafficking scandal in the pay of the Miami mafia along with some Guyanese, which led to an FBI search of his residence and a gun in his mouth. The scare caused him angina; he became ill and ended up having to have both legs amputated.
Villoldo and Rodríguez were among the few who attended his funeral, and had to help his widow to pay for it, who complained that the CIA had abandoned him and his 22 years with the Agency had earned him nothing.
Fifty-one years after those events, the immortal, Latin American and universal Che, inspires an optimistic and rebellious struggle for the future, in the face of the injustices and crimes of today’s mobsters and agents who, like yesterday’s, have no other future than contempt, condemnation, and oblivion.