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La Higuera and around

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LA HIGUERA, the hamlet where Che Guevara’s dreams of leading a continent-wide revolution ended in defeat and death, lies about 50km south of Vallegrande, a three-hour drive along a very rough dirt road via the slightly larger village of Pucará. Set in a region of low, crumpled mountains covered in scrubby vegetation broken by occasional maize and potato fields, La Higuera is a tiny collection of simple adobe houses with tiled roofs. A handful of monuments commemorate the fallen guerrilla leader. The most recent is a large, well-made bronze bust of Che, erected in 1997 on the thirtieth anniversary of his death. The other is a small, roughly fashioned plaster bust that was destroyed three times by the Bolivian army over the years, and replaced each time by local sympathizers. The schoolhouse where Che was executed has been turned into a small museum. Many of Che’s admirers visit, but unless you share their veneration of the charismatic revolutionary icon, there’s little reason to come here.

If you ask around you’ll probably find someone willing to guide you to the Quebrada del Churo, the ravine a few kilometres away where Che was captured. It is a beautiful, and poignant, two-hour hike. You may have to pay a small fee to pass through private land en route.

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