The big part of the day is the story of Che Guevara as told by the keeper of the keys to the school where he was executed.
We arrive at the small village of La Higuera about 4:00 in the afternoon after 62 km of winding, dusty gravel road from Vallegrande where Che’s body was put on display and then secretly buried. Our journey ending where he was captured and shot.
The story is fact or historic fiction, we will never know. When we arrive in La Higuera we are lead to the infamous school that was used for a prison and place of execution. There are several artifacts around the room and we spend 10 minutes pursuing them, mostly items commemorating Che’s quest left behind by previous visitors.
Without any warning, the keeper starts to rattle out the local story of the time Che was in the village. There is no written or taped record of the story, just the local accounts as passed on over almost 50 years, from those that were there to this keeper who was only 2 years old at the time. Fact or fiction, this account was delivered in true belief and with passion, with all the embellishments and changes that happen to an account as time marches on. The keeper’s daughter and grand daughter were present and this story will soon be passed from generation to generation and changed and modified as each person becomes the holder of the story.
This is the oral tradition in action. The story will soon be, if not already is, fact and will be the accepted account of how history took place. The incident happened recently enough, but there is no record, which the powers at the time may not have wanted, so the history with be passed on as oral history, changing with time.