(PanAm) – Retired General Gary Prado Salmón captured the legendary leftist guerrilla rebel Ernesto “Che” Guevara 49 years ago.
He stands trial for terrorism after a confusing episode in 2009 when the police defused a plot to allegedly overthrow the Bolivian government — accusations that he claims are a way to avenge the downfall of Guevara.
“They have created a myth around him,” Salmon said. “Who will you blame? I am one of the few survivors of that time, and they have no one else to blame for that.”
Salmon is currently confined to a bed due to paralysis after an accident 35 years ago involving a gunshot wound. He has been on trial for the last six years for participating in an alleged terrorist plot that sought to launch secessionist militias in Santa Cruz, a region controlled by opponents of President Evo Morales.
Salmon, 77, said he believes the trial is revenge by those who admire the former guerrilla leader.
This form of payback has increased, Salmon said, after Bolivian President Evo Morales called him a “separatist that killed Che” on Twitter.
“When the president says I am the murderer of Che […] he is totally out of reality. I do not know whether out of ignorance or what, but there is a desire to put on me the burden of execution,” Prado said, explaining that he captured Che after a battle, and handed him to his superiors.
He also clarified that it was the sergeant Mario Teran who carried out the order to execute the Marxist revolutionary on October 9, 1967.
The retired general argued that the presiding judge, Sixto Fernandez, is complicit with the alleged persecution due to his affiliation with the Communist Party.
This report prepared by Karina Martín for PanAm Post.