“This insurgency seems more sophisticated and professional than similar efforts elsewhere in latin America. These guerrillas are well-trained and disciplined and well-schooled in Che’s insurgency techniques.” (report by CIA Director Richard Helms to President Johnson, Aug. 8, 1967.)
A year later Che’s captured diaries were published and revealed that at the very time of the report Che had split his forces and the two bands were bumbling around the Bolivian wilderness in literal circles–starving, bedraggled and often engaging in firefights against each other (!!!) (mistaking each other for the Bolivian enemy!)
So the world’s most feared communist guerrilla–as assessed by the world’s most “expert” intelligence agency–in fact seemed incapable of applying a compass reading to a map!
“Me and my staff were all Fidelistas,” boasted Robert Reynolds, the CIA’s “Caribbean Desk’s specialist on the Cuban Revolution” from 1957-1960.
“Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State was pro-Castro, except (Republican) ambassador Earl Smith.” (CIA operative in Santiago Cuba 1957’59, Robert Weicha.)
“Don’t worry. We’ve infiltrated Castro’s guerrilla group in the Sierra Mountains. The Castro brothers and Ernesto “Che” Guevara have no affiliations with any Communists whatsoever.” (crackerjack Havana CIA station chief Jim Noel 1958.)
I guess old habits die hard.
It’s an old story here at Babalu, amigos.