LA HIGUERA, Bolivia, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Thousands of people gathered in Bolivia this week to mark the 40th anniversary of the execution of Marxist guerrilla Che Guevara.
While Tuesday marks the day Guevara died in a schoolhouse at La Higuera, about 7,000 people from several countries converged on Vallegrande Sunday and marched toward La Higuera for a Monday rally, ACN, the Cuban news agency, reported.
In Cuba, where Guevara helped Communist dictator Fidel Castro seize control, about 10,000 people gathered in Santa Clara to pay tribute to the slain revolutionary leader, the Cuban newspaper Granma reported.
In Chile, youth groups rallied with Harry Villegas, another guerrilla survivor, who expressed satisfaction at seeing Guevara's example living on.
Meanwhile, a former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency operative told The Independent Guevara was shot by Bolivian soldiers against the U.S. government's wishes. Felix Rodriguez told the British newspaper he was unsuccessful in convincing a Bolivian colonel to reject his president's order to kill Guevara.
"I went into the room, I stood in front of him and said 'Commander Guevara, I'm sorry, I tried my best. But this is an order from the Bolivian high command,'" Rodriguez said. "He perfectly understood what I was saying; he turned white like a piece of paper, I've never seen anybody look depressed like he did. But he said, 'It's better this way, I should have never been captured alive.'"
Within 20 minutes Guevara was dead.