Che! (1969) Script

CHE: Wherever death may surprise us, it will be welcome... provided that this, our battle cry, reach some receptive ear... that another hand stretch out to take up weapons... and that other men come forward to intone our funeral dirge... with the staccato of machine guns and new cries of battle and victory.

[CROWD SHOUTING INDISTINCTLY]


CROWD [IN UNISON]: Che!

Che!

Che!

Che!

Che!

Che!

Che!

Che!

Che!


CHE: When revolution is indivisible... he who fights under another flag to liberate a nation... takes a giant step in the liberation of his own.


So he's dead.

Bravo.

Would to God he died the first day he set foot on Cuban soil.

Bastard. He murdered my brother... and hundreds of other decent Cubans.

Dead?

No. He is a living presence here... in every Cuban town.

Let me tell you something.

Che taught me to read and write.

Yes, me, a grown man.

In the sierras, between battles, he taught me to read and write.

And now I am a teacher.

And my school is named for him.

CHE: We heard you calling, Cuba.

Pearl of the Antilles.

Firstborn of New America.

Eye of the hurricane.

Island of anguish. Vale of tears.

Island of infamy.

Bastion of butchers.

We heard you calling for deliverance.

We heard your orphaned children, your mute and nameless martyrs.

We heard your keening widows, your grieving daughters.

We heard your prayers and curses.

Windward, we heard your Caribbean cry.

[WOMEN SCREAMING]

CHE: We heard you calling, Cuba... and we came.


[INAUDIBLE DIALOGUE]


We must be here, Alegria de Pio.

Eutimio.

Yes, comandante?

You promised us a dense forest at this spot.

It can't be far, just another 30-minute march.

That's what you said two hours ago.

Where is Guevara? Fell behind. Had another attack.

Mm. Here he comes.

FIDEL: That's all I need... an asthmatic doctor and a guide who has lost his way.

Stragglers are sure to die, don't you know that?

I'm not a straggler.

I'm your rear guard. Ah.

You're not, you're the company doctor.

See what you can do for the men with the blistered feet.

You've got 10 minutes.

[PLANE WHIRRING]

Isn't it a little late for chiropody?

The buzzards are already circling.


You should have broken in your boots before you left Mexico.

From now on... your feet are more vital to you... than some other parts of your anatomies... and will certainly get more use.

[ALL LAUGH]

[GUNFIRE]

Into the cane.

Into the cane, all of you!


JUAN: Ammunition!

SOLDIER: Medic!

Medic! Ammunition!

Ammunition!

SOLDIER: Medic!

[GUNFIRE CONTINUES]

[GUNSHOT]


I still don't understand how Che survived that ordeal.

He was wounded, bleeding badly, choking with asthma... yet he never complained.

He seemed to welcome pain.

He felt some need to mortify the flesh, like a...

Like a Hindu holy man.

A week later we found Fidel in the sierra.

Of the 82 men who made the landing...

66 had been killed or captured.

Only 12 of us survived.

Faustino Morales, a lawyer... and a few others had already sought out Fidel... and joined his group.

It soon became all too clear that including the newcomers... the entire rebel army consisted of just 17 men.

FIDEL: You've committed every blunder in the book.

Two hundred rounds, that's all we have left.

Enough... let's hope, for our first mission.

Tomorrow night... we attack the army barracks at La Plata.

If we can take the arsenal... we'll have more arms and ammunition than we can carry.

Ramon's squad must reach the barracks wall... before we run out of ammunition.

I have only two bursts left.

When I fire the first one...

go.

Let's take our positions.

Keep your hands clean, doctor... until it's all over.


[GUNFIRE]

[GRENADE CLATTERS]

They're duds.

The Molotov.

Cover me.

I've run out of ammunition. SOLDIER: Me too.

[GUNFIRE]


[PEOPLE COUGHING INSIDE]

Drop your weapons.

Drop them!

[ALL COUGHING]

You disobeyed a direct order.

Thank heaven.

Get that ammunition out of there.

RAMON: As Fidel predicted, we now had all the arms and ammunition we could carry... but we gave a lot of it back in our own way.

[GUNFIRE]

ROJAS: After the rebels' early victories...

Cubans from all walks of life were migrating... to Fidel's liberated zone in the mountains.

And the dictator's troops no longer dared to enter it.

I first met Che in their new camp near Mount Turquino.

I had brought a load of weapons, food, medicine.

But the primary purpose of my mission was a talk with Fidel.

I was there as an emissary of ex-Premier Ignacio Ruiz.

Now, we have landed 600 men in Escambray.

All of them well armed.

Now, Dr. Ruiz has sent word to me from Miami... that he is prepared to offer more men, more...

Suddenly Nacho smells success.

When I came to him for money to finance my expedition... he thought I was mad.

But you were mad.

I don't believe in miracles, but you performed one just by surviving.

And now Dr. Ruiz is willing to place his entire force under your command if...

FIDEL: You can tell that thief Nacho... that he can go and... CHE: Here. Drink this.

No Novocain? Dr. Rojas didn't bring any.

Open wide.

This one right here. I know which one it is.

FIDEL: Mm. Keep talking. Take his mind off it.

ROJAS: If you will agree to reinstate Dr. Ruiz in the provisional cabinet...

Didn't he steal enough money from the Treasury when they were in power?

Suddenly every pig in Miami...

CHE: Sit back. Open wide. Wants another go at the trough...

[FIDEL GROANS]

Dr. Rojas, you've picked a poor moment to make a deal.

I suggest you leave now... and continue this talk later in the day when my patient's feeling better.

All right.

What do you mean, make a deal? I'm surprised Fidel didn't spit in his face.

You don't spit at the offer of 600 men backed by a millionaire.

Fidel should promise Dr. Ruiz anything and renege later.

He who pays the piper calls the tune. CHE: Not this time.

If their rebel army enters Havana under a unified command... with Fidel as the acknowledged leader... we can ship all the bourgeois politicians right back into exile.

Will you both shut up!

So we can get on with it.

[FIDEL GROANS THEN SCREAMS]

You're even less a dentist than a doctor.

CHE: Did it really hurt that much?

Here. Rinse your mouth.

Which reminds me...

Dr. del Valle arrives tomorrow.

He'll take over your duties.

I have no further use for a quack except as a...

As a leader.

Tomorrow you take command of the second column.

With the rank of comandante... same as mine.

Here's your hot water. Thank you.

I don't know how you Argentineans can drink this...

This horrible tea, when you can have Cuban coffee.

[CHE CHUCKLES]

Pure Cubana.

Spoken like a true nationalist.

In Buenos Aires we pave our streets with your coffee, it's that strong.

How do you feel about giving up being a doctor?

[CHE SIGHS]

Oh, I've given up lots of things since I, uh...

made my decision.

A comfortable middle-class existence in Argentina... my friends and parents... my wife and children in Mexico.

Now giving up being a doctor isn't too difficult for me.

After all, I wasn't very good at it.

I'll probably make a worse leader.

Fidel doesn't think so.

Apparently.

But, well, what do you think?

How can I answer that?

Maybe Fidel knows me better than I know myself.

CHE: Now, listen carefully.

Guerrilla warfare is a people's war, a mass struggle.

To try and carry out this type of war without the support of the population... is to court inevitable disaster.

We must convince the poor peasant that this is his war... a war for land as well as liberty.

The peasant is like a wild flower in the forest... and the revolutionary like a bee.

Neither can survive or propagate without the other.

There is one essential difference between us and the bees, however.

In this hive, I will not tolerate drones.

Discipline has been lax.

As of now, any breach of discipline...

will call for the harshest penalty.

So the physician burned his Hippocratic oath... and a latent martinet revealed himself.

For months we'd been convinced there was a spy in our ranks.

Peasants friendly to us were soon known to the enemy... and tortured if they wouldn't talk.

We were constantly on the move, but Batista's planes found us repeatedly.

[PLANE WHIRRING]

[GUNFIRE]

CHE: Get down!

FAUSTINO: We finally discovered the informer was our trusted guide, Eutimio.

The blood money was found in his boot.

So Colonel Casillas gave you 200 pesos?

For services rendered? No.

To assassinate you, Fidel.

I had to agree... or they'd have shot me.

I couldn't kill you, comandante.

You know I couldn't do it.

I had to take the money... or how else could I get away?

And every time you left camp to visit your family... you had a little chat with Colonel Casillas?

No. Only once.

And you gave him the names of the peasants who aided us.

The colonel would have tortured me.

So I gave only Lopez and Peña.

They had turned against us anyway.

I could never have killed you, Fidel.

Believe me.

Didn't I confess everything?

Give me another chance.

I swear, I will leave the Sierra Maestra and never come back.

As I could not take your life... please, Fidel... don't take mine.


In that split second all of us knew who it was... who would generate the harsh discipline it takes... to win a revolution.

After that...

Che declared that one life... or even thousands of lives, including his own... were of no importance in carrying out world revolution.

Executions soon became commonplace.

There was Julio Maceo... an ignorant boy who'd been with us only a few weeks.

Shot for desertion.

And what's his name...?

Aristidio.

Accused of contact with the enemy.

The evidence was flimsy.

And the kid we called "El Maestro."

He'd been accused of impersonating Dr. Guevara... and using this deceit to rape a peasant girl... who came to him for treatment.

[SPEAKING IN SPANISH]

FAUSTINO: El Maestro admitted the error of his ways.

He begged the tribunal to let him die in the next battle.

Che turned him down.

[GUNFIRE]

Ah.

After my first visit...

Dr. Ruiz sent Fidel a radio transmitter.

Batista's entire propaganda machine was no match for Fidel... who as a law student... had won the Latin-American annual award for oratory.

Citizens of Cuba...

our rebel army will soon be on the march.

When I call upon you, rise up against Batista.

Burn trucks. Derail trains.

Destroy Batista's income.

Burn every sugar plantation.

Yes. Yes, I know what you're thinking.

Yes, I know what this will do to the Cuban economy... what it will do to the Cuban worker.

Burn.

Burn every single blade of sugar.

And the first plantation I want burned is my own.

Yes. I mean my very own.

Join the people's revolution.

We are determined to be free... or to perish.

Those of us who remain in Cuba... are constantly reminded that Fidel Castro was the maximum leader... the military genius.

Don't you believe it.

If you tell anyone I said this, I'll call you a liar.

But it was Che himself who helped create this image.

Fidel constantly borrowed Che's military knowledge... as well as his political maxims.

I know that because I was there.

Fidel needed a large-scale map of Cuba for a briefing... so I made one.

More a work of art than a map.

Woefully out of scale and with even more woeful misspellings.

Still, he was impatient to get it.

We'll hit Havana with three columns, from three different directions.

Nacho's 600 from the south.

You and Camilo... Fidel.

Do you mind a suggestion?

No, go ahead.

A frontal assault on Havana would be suicidal.

With Batista's superiority in weapons... and men fighting from fixed positions, we'd be wiped out.

It was you who taught us never to forget that ours is a war of mobility.

That we win battles only when we fight where we choose to fight.

You have a better plan?

Our primary objective is to paralyze Havana, to isolate it.

Don't you agree?

If you and Raul swept across Oriente Province as you originally planned... you can block the movement of any government troops to central Cuba... while Camilo and I...

Cut the highway and the railroad... while Nacho's 600 support us from the rear and take Santa Ciara.

And I say, no!

A frontal assault on Havana... would be purely emotional and suicidal.

The key to our success... has been perpetual mobility.

Our objective is to paralyze Havana... to isolate it.

If we can seize Santa Ciara... we'll cut the island in half.

The capture of Santa Ciara is of such critical importance... that I have decided to assign...

Che and Camilo to lead their columns... in what could be the final campaign of the revolution.

FELIPE: Fidel was not even aware of his growing dependency on Che.

As far as I am concerned it was Che... who led us from the Sierra Maestra on the long trek to victory.


[INAUDIBLE DIALOGUE]


[ALL CHEERING]

[ALL CHATTERING]

[ALL CHEERING]

[GUNFIRE]

[GROANS]


[ALL SHOUTING INDISTINCTLY]


[BAND PLAYING UPBEAT MUSIC]

Operator.

Operator.

Operator, don't cut me off again.

Operator.

It's no use. Fidel is still there, but the lines to Santiago are down again.

Keep trying. MAN 1: Che! Che!

Che, did you hear the news?

Batista has fled the country!

Where did you hear that? Radio Havana.

They're finished, Che.

And the commander of the Havana garrison wants to negotiate a surrender.

To the victory! To the victory!

To the victory.

To the victory.

ANITA: To the victory.

MAN 2: Viva! ALL: Viva, Che.

- Viva, Che! MAN 2: Viva, Che!

My God, I just realized.

Tomorrow's New Year's Day. Ha-ha-ha.

And what a way to start the new year.

[RAMON CHUCKLES]

I still can't believe it.

Only a month ago this struggle seemed to go on forever... and suddenly, it's all over. Ha-ha-ha.

Oh, no, good friend.

Cuba's only the beginning.


SOLDIER: Open them up.

[SOLDIER SPEAKS IN SPANISH]

Get them, get them! Get them out!

[ALL CHEERING]

[BAND PLAYING LIVELY MARCH]

[INAUDIBLE DIALOGUE]


[GUNFIRE]

[ALL CHEERING]

[GUNFIRE]


This is monstrous.

Can't you do something?

When will he see us? When he is ready.

I won't wait any longer. Sorry, captain.

Fidel wants me to see him right away.

What are you doing here?

Fidel sent me. He wants you beside him on the rostrum.

Fidel has no need of me today.

Have a look.

[INAUDIBLE DIALOGUE]

Why don't you turn up the sound? I know what he's going to say.

Besides, I'm working.

Che, why don't you come to the plaza?

Let the crowd see you.

Get some fresh air. You'll feel better.

No. You run along. Enjoy the celebration.

What shall I tell Fidel?

That I'm busy.

And tell the delegation outside I'll see them now.

[GUNFIRE]

Well?

Do you enjoy this?

I feel no joy of any kind just now.

What do you want?

In the name of God, comandante, stop these mass executions.

There are no mass executions.

They're tried one at a time and shot four-by-four.

You speak of trials like a lawyer.

These men are being murdered. No.

Three tribunals are at work around the clock.

Go below, see for yourself.

Hear the evidence.

They swore to uphold the military code.

They had to obey orders.

The war is over.

Faustino, do you have any friends among the accused?

Of course not.

These men are war criminals.

Comandante, we are not here just to save the life of one man or two or 10.

Spare Cuba another bloodbath.

That's precisely what I'm doing.

[CROWD CHEERING ON TV]

Would you rather we unleash this mob?

Do you really want to see a bloodbath?

How many thousands would they kill in vengeance before the day is over?

[MUTES TV]

I'm saving lives by executing known butchers now.

Do you understand that?

[WHEEZING]

No, I suppose not.

Willy... throw them out.

Willy.

These death sentences I've already signed.

These, I'm not yet sure about.

Would you like a cup of maté?

Yes.

[SIGHS]

It took two years to reach Havana.

And after two days...

I'm sick of it.

[INAUDIBLE DIALOGUE]

CHE: We heard you calling, Cuba.

Firstborn of New America.

We heard you crying for deliverance.

The revolution gestates in the womb of war.

Its birth pangs come with peace.

[UPBEAT MUSIC PLAYING]

[CROWD CHATTERING]


Che, Che.

Come in here. I wanna talk to you.

SOLDIER: Fidel, wait.

Control tower says Nacho Ruiz's private plane is circling the airfield... asking permission to land.

Let that thieving pig circle until he runs out of gas.

And then tell him that he's not welcome in the New Republic of Cuba.

Let the bastard swim back to Miami.

The new Cabinet.

Well, what do you think?

Mostly lawyers, architects...

[CHE CHUCKLES]

A couple of doctors.

It's kind of you to acknowledge the science of medicine.

[FIDEL CHUCKLES]

Well, it is just a respectable front.

A rubber-stamp Cabinet.

Harmless functionaries.

All charter members of the establishment.

Dull, but I wouldn't exactly describe them as harmless.

There's not a man on this who's not ready to support a military coup to overthrow you.

Yes, but my barbudos now command the regular army.

I'd like to remind you that every dictator in Latin America... was spawned in the regular army.

Right now, one of your barbudos wearing the uniform of new Cuba's army... is already dreaming of the day when he can dump you.

[SIGHS]

Your only safeguard against a military coup... is a well-armed and controlled people's militia.

You're right.

To my chief of the people's militia.

Why not, Che?

Why not?

Who else can I trust?

I wouldn't even dare to turn my back on this pack of...

Cabinet minister, administrative jobs, it's just no part of my life.

But then, what do you want, Che?

I just don't understand. I don't understand what it is.

What do you wanna do? Do you want to...?

Do you want to explode a lot of revolutions in the Yankee's face?

Do you want to...? Do you want to...?

What better place to train your leaders... and your guerrilla cadres than in the militia?

Under your control, right here.

And then you'd still be at my side while we rebuild a new Cuba.

Che, Cuba needs you.

I need you.

ROJAS: Some idiots claim Che spurned personal power.

[CHUCKLES]

Not only did he become chief of the militia... but also president of the National Bank... and minister of Industry.

The most powerful posts in the Cabinet... and all at the same time.

This was Che's retreat from the bureaucrats... and from Fidel himself.

But before the Bay of Pigs crisis...

Fidel's visits to this room became more and more frequent.

Fidel was furious.

He had to drive back and forth from the Hotel Riviera... often in the middle of the night.

But Che always refused to move from his monkish cell.

I've reserved a suite at the Riviera for you next to mine.

Thank you, I don't need it.

I know why you stay here.

So that you can work out your little plots in secret.

You think I don't know what's going on.

You think I don't know that every damned communist leader in Latin America... has been summoned into this room.

I have no secrets, not from you.

I knew you'd hear about these meetings, but you're a chief of state.

You have more pressing preoccupations. You bet I do.

Every day now, some ambassador lodges a formal protest... in the Latin American alliance against me.

I'm charged with fomenting a guerrilla movement... financing an invasion in Haiti, of shipping guns to Venezuela.

I'm charged with everything you do... and what have I done?

Nothing much outside Cuba.

I've told you that I've got to consolidate the home front first.

And I'm faced with enormous domestic problems... and you're the most vexing of all.

Your problems stem from the fact that you haven't revealed yourself.

Now, what does that mean?

Tell the Cuban people and the world that you're a communist.

Che, sometimes I just don't understand you.

If I did that, I'd have the U.S. Marines in my penthouse before breakfast.

Not necessarily.

There might be a way to stop the Yankees in their tracks.

How?

All we need is military parity.

Military parity with the Yankees?

I think you've lost your mind.

If we had 50 or 100 nuclear missiles...

Che...

Batista didn't leave enough money in the Treasury to buy 50 tractors.

But if we could convince the Russians that Cuba is the ideal missile site...

We could reach every major city... every industrial center in the United States.

Do you think the Soviets would go for it?

All right, sir, let me ask you one simple question.

Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R has placed and is placing... medium and intermediate ranged missiles and sites in Cuba?

Yes or no?

Don't wait for the translation. Yes or no?

[CHATTERING]

[ALL LAUGHING]

[ZORIN SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN]

INTERPRETER: You spoke to me in the fashion in which a prosecutor does.

In due course, you will have your reply.

STEVENSON: You're in the court of world opinion, and you can answer yes or no.

You have denied that they exist. I want to know if you...

If I have understood you correctly.

MAN 1: I should like to take this...

MAN 2: Please continue your statement. You'll have your answer in due course.

MAN 3: Mr. Stevenson, continue your statement.

You will receive the answer in due course. Do not worry.

[ALL LAUGHING]

[INTERPRETER SPEAKING IN RUSSIAN]

STEVENSON: I'm prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes over... if that's your decision.

It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile... launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere... as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States... requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.

[SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN]

To world peace.

[ALL SPEAK IN RUSSIAN]

Why wasn't I told of this meeting?

I was deliberately excluded, wasn't I? FIDEL: Let's discuss it when we're alone.

So you've backed down and agreed to let them take back their missiles?

FIDEL: Relax, Che, pour yourself a drink. We'll talk about it later.

Why the caviar?

What's there to celebrate?

Why aren't our Russian friends on their knees eating crow?

That's enough, Che.

AMBASSADOR: If the Soviet government is down on its knees eating crow... if indeed we fear anybody, it is your careless Major Guevara... who does not mind setting off a holocaust... that neither the United States nor my government seeks... a full-scale nuclear war that could mean the destruction of the human race.

I must instruct you on behalf of my government... that our aid to Cuba will be discontinued at once... unless you'll find a way to silence this provocateur.

You think your million-dollar-a-day handout to Fidel is enough to shut our mouths?

Mr. Ambassador... That's enough.

As president of Cuba, please accept our apologies.

And I must state emphatically that...

Major Guevara does not speak for this country.

[AMBASSADOR SPEAKS IN RUSSIAN]

CHE: Fidel.

Fidel, don't capitulate. The Yankees are bluffing.

No, they're not bluffing.

They've got enough nuclear-armed bombers in the air... to reduce this island to a cinder.

We've got 200,000 militia to take the missiles away from the Russians.

This is our one chance to achieve parity with the imperialists.

The decision has been made.

The debate is over.

CHE: You have all become Russian puppets.

I've had enough of Cuba.

[DOOR CLOSES]

Sometimes I loved him... and sometimes I hated him and wanted to kill him... but always respected him.

Personally, I preferred to believe they parted good friends.

I was there the last night when Fidel sent for him.

CHE: You don't look well.

Eh, I can't sleep.

The air conditioning unit broke down again.

Still on a diet of brandy and Benzedrine?

Let me see your eyes.

I didn't call you here for a medical checkup.

Then bring in your own doctor. You look jaundiced.

Well, later.

They tell me you're leaving Cuba... for good.

Who are they?

Your secret agents?

Well, you no longer confide in me, so you're no longer above scrutiny.

Don't you owe me... some explanation?

Well, it's true.

I am leaving.

When we lost the missiles, Cuba lost its promise.

My departure's long overdue.

Yes, I know, I know, you told me.

Things are moving too slowly for you here.

You told me a dozen times.

The battlefield must be hemispheric.

Don't you see?

First we must make Cuba a model for Latin America.

You want to build socialism on one flea speck in the Caribbean.

Flea speck.

When we build the new Cuba... the idea will take root and flourish.

As things stand now, you're doomed.

Cuba's growth is stunted by the Yankee's quarantine.

You'll be forced to choose between the Yankee imperialists... and the Soviet imperialists.

A choice between the plague or cholera.

That's true now, but in time, we won't need either one of them.

That's why I want you to stay here.

I'm sorry but my mind's made up.

Where are you going?

Frankly, I'd rather not say.

Well, I can't stop you from leaving... but I can't help you either.

I know you can't help me.

And I can only help you if the revolution is rekindled elsewhere.

I've got to start more fires than the Yankee firemen can put out.

The Soviet ambassador once called you a provocateur.

I'm beginning to think that he was right on target.

This conversation is pointless.

Goodbye, Fidel.

I see it all now.

You want it to be your own show all the way.

You don't want my advice or counsel... because you can't bear being second to anyone.

CHE: Take care of him, Celia.

I'll drop you a line from somewhere. Good luck, Che.

And you, comrade... be of good faith and good health.

FIDEL: Celia.

A few days later, Che disappeared.

Nobody saw him leave La Cabaña.

He vanished in what became one of the mysteries of the century.

Only one man knows when Guevara planned his Bolivian expedition.

He's dead.

Guevara had become anathema to the Russians.

He was undermining their diplomacy, patience in Latin America.

Excuse me.

Take him inside. All right, move those men back.

[REPORTERS CLAMORING]

No, no pictures.

Move them back.

RAMON: The experts say he chose Bolivia... because 80 percent of Latin America's population lived in its immediate proximity.

And its mountains were ideal guerrilla terrain.


Che must have believed that the impoverished peasants... would swarm to this natural bastion... and new guerrilla bands would proliferate throughout Latin America.

Give him his due.

Unlike most visionaries, he was a meticulous organizer.

And he had a brilliant aide in Tania Guitterez Bauer.

Heh, heh. What a clever bitch.

She was a fellow Argentine, educated in East Germany.

Spoke five languages and was a specialist in communications and cryptography.

With the help of influential contacts... she obtained a post in our Ministry of Information.

There, she created her own assignment:

To collect and record the folk songs of the Quechua Indians.

[BAND PLAYING UPBEAT FOLK MUSIC]

SALAZAR: With this cover, she could travel freely from the lowlands to the Andes.

We know now that it was Tania who provided Che with all his false passports... and the Cuban infiltrators with transports on their way to the guerrilla base.

ANTONIO: By mid-December, the last group of Cubans had arrived.

Naturally, there was a big reunion.

They were all veterans, all former comrades-in-arms.

[ALL CHATTERING]

ANTONIO: We respected them, for we were young and green.

So it hurt when they made us feel like aliens in our own land.

The truth is, the Cubans didn't trust us from the start.

They made their plans in secret, ignoring the Bolivian party leaders.

New Year's Eve marked a turning point for us.

The Cubans were celebrating the eighth anniversary of their revolution.

Our party chief had come from La Paz to see Che.

While we gorged ourselves... they had their showdown.

MONJE: How can you accuse me of vacillation... when you have deliberately refused to consult with the party leadership?

Here. Bring us a bottle of rum.

You've tried to recruit Bolivians without going through party channels.

Comrade Monje, the time had come to act.

We'd have grown lame and senile waiting for your blessing.

I admit the time is ripe for guerrilla activity.

But it must be coordinated with the struggle of the towns and of the mines.

It must be adapted to Bolivian conditions and placed under Bolivian leadership.

Your personal leadership?

Do you object?

And just what experience do you have as a guerrilla leader?

Just what experience do you have as a Bolivian patriot?

Comrade Guevara... this is my country, not yours.

How can you discount our national pride?

How dare you suggest that our revolution be led by a foreigner?

Your country was named after a foreigner.

And who, may I ask, has passed on to you the mantle of Simón Bolívar?

You've missed the point.

There are no foreigners here because this isn't the Bolivian revolution.

Your country is simply the staging area for a continental revolution.

And the nucleus of our force must be multinational.

Peruvians, Argentines, Cubans and Bolivians... fighting side by side under one flag.

And under one leadership.

Mine.

[THUNDER RUMBLING]

Care for a drink?

Your views are quite clear.

When I get back to La Paz, I will report them to the central committee.

And to the Russian ambassador?

Before I leave, I'd like a few words with the Bolivians in your group, alone.

Go right ahead.

If you can persuade them to leave, I won't object.

Why did you provoke him?

These petty nationalists sicken me.

No vision.

Just coffeehouse revolutionaries.

But he still runs the party.

Offend him and he can ruin you.

He needs me more than I need him.

He couldn't have been more wrong.

From that day forward, the party leaders sabotaged our struggle.

They broke up our supply networks... and threatened every comrade who wanted to join us with expulsion.

Che was right about the army. The rookies were no match for us.

Time after time, we ambushed their patrols.


[GUNFIRE]


GUILLERMO: We had a string of victories, but what did we gain?

Che ordered us to strip the prisoners and let them go.

Urge them to desert.

Let them spread the legend of our invulnerability.

They'll exaggerate, of course.

That's how legends are born.

But it didn't work out that way.

With each success, there were more desertions than new recruits.

And after every skirmish, we had to move again... farther from our supply base, farther from the populated areas.

Our maps were inaccurate, and half the time we were lost and hungry.

And the few peasants we found fled at the sight of us.

CHE: Wait.

GUILLERMO: And for the first time since I'd known him...

Che seemed bewildered and indecisive.

Indecisive?

You can't be serious.

Che made all decisions.

Despite his asthma and an arthritic condition... he drove himself beyond human endurance.

And he demanded superhuman efforts of us.

As a matter of fact, it's becoming totally nonexistent.

ANTONIO: Do you realize what chronic malnutrition does to a fighting man?

We were living on carrion and vomiting most of it.

All of us had sores that wouldn't heal.

Our bodies became bloated.

At one time, my fingers were so swollen I couldn't hold a rifle.

As we grew weaker, he grew tougher.

Che couldn't abide sickness, even his own.

Besides the diary, he kept a field journal in which he graded our deportment.

Let the loafers and malingerers get this straight:

Carry your share of the chores or you won't share our food.

This petty bickering... between our Cuban and Bolivian comrades must come to an end.

[WHEEZING]

We have no nationalities here.

We have no rank except one based on merit.

This kind of struggle calls for the highest order of the human species:

A revolutionary.

[CONTINUES WHEEZING]

Those of you who can't live up to these ideals... had better say so and give up the fight.

ANTONIO: Desperation was growing in him.

The search for new recruits became an obsession.

We raided village after village, always with the same result.

Where are the men?

They must have seen us coming.

Search the store. Get everything we need, but pay for it.

GUILLERMO: With what?

With promises.

Assemble the adults in the schoolroom. I'll speak to them.

Che, wait.

They resent being herded around like cattle.

Just do as I say.

It won't be long now.

Is he still talking to them?

He's been at it for almost an hour.

He's not getting through.

Che's using the wrong approach with these peasants.

Tell the men to think of their children.

Do they want them to grow up in shame... knowing that their fathers fought against their liberators?

There's a patrol arriving. Let's get out of here.

Stay where you are. You'll be safer here.

When the men return, tell them you saw Che.

Che, let's go.

And tell them I'll...

I'll be back.

Stay with the rear guard. Right.

[GUNFIRE]


These people are backwards, stupid, servile.

They're hopeless, chained to the past.

ANTONIO: He was losing control, not just of the situation but of himself.

He finally swallowed his pride and made contact with Fidel.

"All goes well."

Morale high, but shortages of food and medicine lower our efficiency.

Most urgent need is more fighters.

The government is disintegrating rapidly.

"With a hundred more good men, I could topple the regime."

That's all?

And it doesn't make any sense.

He must be losing touch with reality.

The Bolivian government isn't disintegrating.

Where did he get such a crazy notion?

And he doesn't actually request a hundred volunteers.

He must know that they'd never reach him now.

He isn't begging.

He's boasting.

Don't forget he's Argentine.

It's his pride.

He won't beg.

What can I do for him now? He's beyond help.

GUILLERMO: Conditions were getting worse.

So we survived by plundering the poor.

This time, we caught the men by surprise.

[VILLAGERS SHOUTING INDISTINCTLY]


GUILLERMO: Why blame Che?

He was again obsessed with winning converts.

He tried to recruit the very people we were robbing.

To learn to hate and strike back at your enemy is to be reborn.

We are here to offer you a second life on earth.

Who will be the first to volunteer?

Come, now, don't hang back.

What is at stake is your own destiny.

You're stupid animals.

You're rotten slop pigs.

Is there not one man in this village of the dead?

Stay there and rot.

Damn you! Rot!

- Comandante? Uh.

Some of the Bolivian comrades asked me to speak with you alone.

What is it?

They want to leave... but they want to do it honorably, with your permission.

Who are they?

I can't tell you... unless you promise to let them go.

Are you one of them, Antonio?

No.

Why not? You reek of disenchantment.

Yes, I'm disenchanted.

Not with the cause.

Only with you.

And I want to be around when you crack up.

[CHE CHUCKLES]

What are the symptoms of my impending breakdown?

They're all listed here.

Since the day I joined you, I've carried this:

Che Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare.

I know most of it by heart.

Come to the point.

You're no longer capable of leadership.

You've betrayed your own code.

You violate your own precepts.

How dare you address me in this way?

Someone's got to say it.

[CHE WHEEZING]

And you're gonna hear me out.

You no longer even try to understand our peasants... or gain their respect. You only bully them.

You intimidate the villagers and then you ransack their miserable homes.

To them you're nothing more than a bandit. You degenerate weakling.

Degenerate?

You're a fine one to talk.

"The true revolutionary is guided by love." Those were once your words.

But now your humanism blossoms from the barrel of a gun!

You don't love my people, you despise them!

[GRUNTING]

[WHEEZING]

Get out of my sight.

Leave this camp before I put a bullet through your heart.

May I take my rifle?

No, nothing.

Let's see if you can survive on love.

CHE: Wherever death may surprise us, it will be welcome... provided that this, our battle cry, reach some receptive ear.

Let's get on with it. What's taking you so long?

We're not morticians. You asked for an autopsy.

Not quite.

I asked you to sign the death certificate and then embalm the body.

Why? You gonna ship it?

Of course not. But he'll be on display.

Reporters and photographers are waiting, and the stench will soon be intolerable.

Colonel, this man has been dead only five or six hours.

Nonsense. He died of battle wounds 24 hours ago.

It's true, he died of wounds. We counted seven of them.

SALAZAR: Well, then?

One was a bullet through the heart, which killed him instantly.

VASQUEZ: The CIA was not involved in this campaign in any way.

It is true our ranger battalion was trained in Panama... at the United States Special Forces School... and the textbook we used was Che Guevara's classic work...

Guerrilla Warfare.

We tracked the small group of the rebels to the Masicuri River... and prepared our ambush by the book, Guevara's book.

[GUNFIRE]


Che. Yes?

Joaquin...

Joaquin's group has been wiped out. Ambushed crossing the Masicuri.

Where did you hear that? Radio La Paz and the Voice of America.

The Voice of America?

Their lies are beamed at us, hoping to demoralize us... discouraging our supporters. Listen...

How many times have they broadcast the news of my death?

Tania was identified by name.

They fished her body out of the river, so there must be some truth in both reports.

I can't believe that they're all dead.

Don't tell the others.

This is probably the fatal one here.

The wound was sustained in resisting capture... at the Battle of Churro Ravine approximately 24 hours ago.

Yes, this is Guevara. There's no doubt of it.

See the eyes? You've seen it in the photographs of the Cuban revolution.

VASQUEZ: The raid on Alto Saco was the beginning of the end for Guevara... and although he scoured the countryside, he didn't find a single volunteer... and that raid set him up for the kill.

We ambushed his rear guard in La Higueras and we encircled him in the Churro Ravine.


[GUNFIRE]

[GROANS]


[BOTH GRUNTING]

[GUNFIRE]


Puma to Lancer. Puma to Lancer.

We've got Papa alive.

Repeat.

We've got Papa.


[GUNSHOT]

The order to keep you and your men alive... was rescinded by a higher authority.

It was only conjecture on my part... but since the death penalty has been abolished in Bolivia... they prefer not to give you a trial, an open forum.

I expect no justice from your courts and no mercy from you.

I take no pleasure in the orders I received.

[SCOFFS]

What do you take pleasure in, captain?

That uniform?

That badge of servility?

Certainly not in taking care of the needs of your own people.

You're an educated man.

How can you serve the lost cause of corrupt politicians... who betray the people, starve them and disinherit them?

Guevara, yours is the lost cause.

In your brief contact with my people, you have contributed nothing... but your arrogance and your brutality.

You cannot cure the illness of this universe with blood and violence.

And do you think that you can cure the illnesses of your people... with fear and repression?

What other function does your army have? Still the revolutionary... right to the bitter end.

Spare me your political theories. I've read your book.

Then you should have learned something from it.

My death is of no consequence.

[WHEEZING]

Killing me won't kill the people's dream.

If your superiors would permit you to think for yourself... you'd open your eyes and know that 20 years from now... you'd still be defending the same lost cause... against young rebels not yet born.

And you still won't know what the people want.

Old man, come in here.

Will you leave the goats out?

[SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY]

Look at him, Guevara.

One of your disinherited, the people.

He walked a half a day over sharp rocks to turn you in.

Tell me, old man...

why did you do it?

This man came here to liberate you, to free you.

To free me?

From what?

Nobody asked me what I want.

Ever since you come to these mountains with your guns and your fighting... my goats, they not make milk.

You frighten them.

The vultures followed you wherever you go.

You stink of death.

Yes...

I want to be free.

Free from you... and you and all your kind.

Why you not just go away and let us live in peace?


[GUNFIRE]

Here he is.

REPORTER 1: Colonel Salazar, why have you barred visitors from the village where he died?

The people of La Higueras don't like outsiders, particularly journalists.

Will he be given a Christian burial?

Was he a Christian? REPORTER 2: What will be done with the body?

By tomorrow there won't be a trace of it.

You mean cremation? In a Catholic country, colonel?

No comment. Colonel.

Do you have any explanation as to why all these people are here?

You're a journalist. Why do people in your country flock to see a dead gangster?

Sergeant, clear the laundry.

SERGEANT: Yes, sir. Get everybody out.

SERGEANT: All right, everybody out! That'll be all. Good evening, gentlemen.

SERGEANT: All out. Let's go, move.

Move.