Battle of the Berets, A Bush Doctrine Prequel

2009 January 27
by Leah Yale Potter

In ASHP’s weekly staff meeting today, we watched Chevolution, a documentary on the history of the “Che” image (and inspirational photograph) that Josh brought in for us to screen and discuss.  A couple of questions came up about the CIA’s involvement in the 1960 explosion of La Coubre and Che’s assassination in Bolivia on October 9, 1967.  The facts remain pretty murky about the first, but clearly point to CIA knowledge and assistance with the second.  A White House memo from Walt Rostow to Johnson two days after Bolivia’s 2nd Ranger Battalion (trained by Green Berets) captured and shot Che, called the assassination “stupid” but useful as part of the “preventive medicine” the US was administering to would-be lefty insurgents.   Thank the National Security Archive for bringing this moment, and so many Cold War treasures, to light.

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