An iconic symbol of violent revolution, Ernesto “Che” Guevera has gone down in history as one of the most feared revolutionaries of the late twentieth century. But until now, details of his capture and execution have been told with a sympathetic eye toward the icon. Using government reports, documents, and eyewitness accounts, Hunting Che reveals how the Green Berets trained Bolivian soldiers in the spring and summer of 1967 to hunt the legendary revolutionary who was hiding in the mountainous jungles of the South American country. A sweeping narrative, Hunting Che tells the untold story of one of the first truly successful U.S. Special Forces missions in history—a mission later duplicated in Afghanistan and Iraq.
By the mid-1960s, Guevera had become famous for his outspoken criticism of the United States and his support for armed Communist insurgencies. He had been one of the architects of the Cuban Revolution, and was attempting to repeat his success throughout Latin America. His guerrilla tactics and talent for proselytizing made him a threat to American foreign policy—and when he turned his attention to Bolivia in 1967, the Pentagon made a decision: Che had to be eliminated.
Major Ralph “Pappy” Shelton was called upon to lead the mission to train the Bolivians. With a hand-picked team of specialists, his first task was to transform a ragtag group of peasants into a trained fighting force who could also gather intelligence. Gary Prado, a Bolivian officer, volunteered to join the newly formed Bolivian Rangers. Joined by Felix Rodriguez, a Cuban exile working for the CIA, the Americans and Bolivians searched for Che. The size of Che’s group and when they would strike were unknowns, and the stakes were high. If Bolivia fell, it would validate Che’s theories and throw South America into turmoil.
Hunting Che follows the exploits of Major Shelton, Felix Rodriguez, and Gary Prado—the Bolivian Ranger commander who ultimately captured him. The story begins with Che’s arrival in Bolivia and follows the hunt to the dramatic confrontation and capture of the iconic leader in the southeastern village of La Higuera. With the White House and the Pentagon secretly monitoring every move, Shelton and his team changed history, and prevented a catastrophic threat from taking root in the West.