Interview with Nicaraguan Rodolfo Romero,
Internationalist fighter and founder member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front
He discribes meeting che (who just happened to be) in Guatemala at the moment it was liberated by CIA armed freedom fighters.
The story comments in it's opening that "exiles from everywhere came knocking on the door of this Central American country" - and then this Nicaraguan "exile" commie's interview begins
"It was June 24, 1954 and Guatemala City had just been terribly bombed. Che arrived at the house of the Augusto César Sandino youth brigade, of which I was the leader, with a letter from a Chilean communist. He asked for Edelberto Torres, another Nicaraguan exile and the son of an eminent anti-Somoza fighter."As Edelberto was in a meeting of the Party, I asked him to come in and wait. Around two in the morning, when the guards changed shift, he asked me if he could participate in the relief. I didn’t really know who he was, and the responsibility of giving such a task to a stranger made me hesitate, but the letter that he carried with him ended up convincing me.
"Without much ceremony, because in wartime everything is pressured, I gave him a Czech carbine from the guard going off duty who, incidentally, was not Guatemalan, but the Cuban Jorge Risquet Valdés. "And how does one handle this?" he exclaimed when he had it in his hands. In the dark and in a hurry, it was me who gave him some lessons about handling it."
In that meeting with Che, you not only met the revolutionary who voluntarily, without knowing how to use a weapon, would risk doing guard duty with it. You also discovered the romantic man, who loved the poetry of Darío."Yes, the night we met, when I told him that I was Nicaraguan, he became very enthusiastic and began to talk to me about Rubén Darío, how much he admired his works, and his desire to read everything that he wrote some day. We didn’t talk for more than an hour, but in that brief time I was able to confirm his great humanity. The next day we said goodbye and I didn’t see him again for a while.
When they gave Arbenz the ultimatum, I went underground, and the Communist Party ordered me to contact all the exiles in the embassies.Dressed in a burlap sack and barefoot, looking like a charcoal vendor, I began to make the rounds of the diplomatic headquarters, and I met Che in the Argentine one. Rapidly, we made arrangements for him to move to the Mexican one.
How did a young Nicaraguan come to lead a communist brigade in Guatemala?The objective of the Nicaraguan exiles was to train ourselves for overthrowing Somoza, while at the same time contributing to the just democracies of other peoples. First, we were receiving military training in Costa Rica, but pressure from the CIA and the OAS forced us to leave there for Guatemala, at the end of 1948. Incidentally, it was a Cuban airplane that took us.
Immediately I made contact with the communist forces in this country; I even took part in the founding Congress of its party. Activist life in Guatemala shaped my development: I read a lot, studied Marxism, I understood the essence of imperialism and class struggle.
My involvement with nation became great, but I never lost sight of my real cause that was awaiting me in Nicaragua.
Also around this time you knew about the similarities between the dictatorships that oppressed the Cuban and Nicaraguan peoples. How was your first meeting with the leadership of our Revolution?At that time, the Guatemalan Communist Party gave us the task of collecting signatures in support of a call from Stockholm to convene a peace conference. Whoever collected the most signatures would receive the prize of traveling to the International Conference for the Rights of Youth, in Vienna. In less than 10 days I had collected 1,000 signatures, and off I went.
One day, we Nicaraguans and Cubans sat down to exchange experiences about Somoza and Batista, and it was there that I met Raúl Castro, who expounded to us his certainty that dictators could only be defeated by bullets.
With the passing of time, I kept fully up to date with what was happening in Cuba; in order to inform myself, I tuned in to Radio Rebelde.
Wait... you mean Secretary Dulles was right in his Radio and Television Address of June 30, 1954? This is where he states
From their European base the Communist leaders moved rapidly to build up the military power of their agents in Guatemala. In May a large shipment of arms moved from behind the Iron Curtain into Guatemala. The shipment was sought to be secreted by false manifests and false clearances. Its ostensible destination was changed three times while en route.
At the same time, the agents of international communism in Guatemala intensified efforts to penetrate and subvert the neighboring Central American States. They attempted political assassinations and political strikes. They used consular agents for political warfare.
It seems a lot like documents related to communist subversion of Honduras from Guatemala the freedom fighters captured after they ejected their communist rulers
And Che would admit this he was a communist two years later after he was arrested and interrogated by Mexican police.
Over 20-24 June , under pressure from Batista, Mexican authorities arrested Fidel Castro and five of his 26th of July Movement (M-26-7) associates. They were charged with violations of immigration laws, illegal possession of military weapons, and conspiring to mount a revolution against a foreign government. During their interrogation they betray the existence of Bayo’s M-26-7 training camp, and the police then raid the rebel training camp (Santa Rosa Ranch, aka Las Rosas), arresting the other 45 Castro followers, and seizing the rebels' weapons, supplies, and cash.
During his interrogation Guevara confessed he was a Communist, that M-26-7 was preparing a revolutionary force to violently overthrow the Cuban government, and that he advocated of armed revolutionary struggle throughout Latin America.
Through the intervention of Mexico’s former president Lázaro Cárdenas all were released by the end of July, beginning on July 6. By July 10, only Fidel Castro, Ché Guevara and Calixto García Martínez remained in detention. On July 24 Castro was freed, Guevara and García were released a week later.
And none dared call it a conspiracy... not any more anyway, after the guy has been whitewashed by the same nations who asked for our help. From TIME, Jul. 12, 1954:
"No recognized government in Latin America has ever matched this inhuman cruelty," a Latin diplomat in Guatemala exclaimed as the grisly evidence piled up.
The whole story is worth posting
Monday, Jul. 12, 1954
The Hemisphere: After the Fall
"Communist perfume," Guatemalans called it: they meant the stench of decaying human flesh. Searchers tracing that noisome odor last week found in three shallow mass graves the bodies of 47 men who had opposed the Red government of President Jacobo Arbenz in its last days. In a basement torture chamber on the capital's Seventh Avenue, bits of hair, plastered to the wall with dried blood, told of victims hurled around the room and battered against the walls by sadistic guards. Out of the jails stumbled 711 lesser oppositionists, some from cells built for five men but crammed with 60. Fifteen men numbly took off their clothing so that U.S. reporters could see the festering cuts and throbbing bruises that covered them from neck to thigh.
In its last desperate bid for survival, the Arbenz government had resorted to savage repressions carried out by its boss policemen, Colonel Rogelio Cruz Wer and Colonel Jaime Rosenberg. The frenzy grew as the downfall neared. Survivors testified that on the last day, Cruz Wer, close to a gibbering collapse, planted himself in front of a cell crowded with political prisoners and screamed, "I am a condemned man, but I will take some of you bastards with me!" He fired a burst from a machine pistol into the cell, and four men fell dead. After Arbenz quit, Cruz Wer and Rosenberg escaped in a small plane to Mexico, where they blandly demanded sanctuary as political refugees.
A Rotten Regime. "No recognized government in Latin America has ever matched this inhuman cruelty," a Latin diplomat in Guatemala exclaimed as the grisly evidence piled up. But the stories helped explain Arbenz' sudden downfall: his government was too rotten to fight for, and the army had refused to fight for the Communist cause it despised.
That the Arbenz regime was too hollow to fight was hardly suspected before it was put to a test — the kind of test that other Communist governments never got.
Six months ago, Castillo Armas was an unimportant exile in Honduras, plotting in impoverished frustration against Arbenz' powerful regime, and generally given no chance. The impression now almost universally held in Guatemala is that the U.S. at that point moved cautiously in to guide affairs. There is still no direct evidence of this [note: there is now, more then 50 years later]. But hindsight reasoning indicates that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency correctly appraised Arbenz' fundamental unpopularity and brutality, his army's unwillingness to stand up for him or for his Communist advisers, and Castillo Armas' capabilities.
Circumstantial support for this theory comes from the known facts. Honduras openly granted bases to Castillo Armas, an act the U.S. could have stopped with a frown. Castillo Armas got money; the revolution must have cost well over $1,000,000 — perhaps as much as $5,000,000. He got airplanes: four F47 fighters and two C-47 cargo planes. He also got expert pilots to fly them.
Latin Americans generally assumed that the U.S. was in Castillo Armas' corner and after he invaded Guatemala, a dank breeze of Communist-abetted anti-Yankeeism swept through some of the hemisphere's countries. Students squawked in demonstrations in Panama, Uruguay, Chile Peru, Cuba, Argentina and Honduras: a U.S. flag was burned in Chile. But there was none of that in Guatemala, where the U.S. role was understood and deeply appreciated. As the overthrown regime's victims were dug out of their graves and the luckier survivors emerged from their cells Guatemalans raised grateful cheers for the U.S. and for Ambassador Peurifoy.
Off to Asylum. The Arbenz crowd meanwhile, had scuttled to asylum. Many of them found the Mexican embassy, right across the street, the handiest. There went most of the Guatemalan Congress. There went the major Communists: Presidential Adviser Jose Manuel Fortuny, Labor Leader Victor Manuel Gutierrez, Peasant Boss Leonardo Castillo Flores, Editor Alfredo Guerra Borges. There went ex-Foreign Minister Guillermo Toriello.
And there, too, went Jacobo Arbenz—after first forcing the Government Development Bank to extend a second mortgage on his cotton farm for $200,000 payable to his wife. He is also accused of having taken funds from the Treasury. Other government fat cats, who had done their looting earlier, were in the Salvadoran embassy; their six 1954 Cadillacs crowded the ambassadorial courtyard.
Political refugees, by convention, are supposed to get safe-conducts out of the country. But the mob of holed-up Arbenzistas may have difficulties. Opinion has swung violently against the Red regime.
Mobs plundered Arbenz' luxurious house (finding, among more valuable spoils, stacks of Communist propaganda and four bags of earth, one each from Russia, China, Siberia and Mongolia). More ominously, a Communist judge who last year sent four alleged plotters to death without trial was himself executed by a firing squad. That showed that the new junta means business with any Communist criminals it can get its hands on.