Mario Terán, the military man who killed Che Guevara, dies in Bolivia
Mario Terán Salazar, the Bolivian military man blamed for the assassination of Ernesto Che Guevara in October 1967, died on Thursday, March 10, at the age of 80, in a military residence in the department of Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
At 7:15 Bolivian time, he passed away at the Military Social Security Corporation (Cossmil), according to Raúl Azurduy, pastor of the evangelical church the family attended, reports local newspaper El Deber, which was able to speak with the man who led the operation in which Guevara was captured, retired general Gary Prado Salmón.
“Terán] was a brave man. I maintained contact with him, what worried him most was the harassment from the press, because he wanted to maintain his anonymity, because he simply complied voluntarily with the decision that came from the Presidency,” Prado said.
For several years, Terán Salazar had been living in this residence in Santa Cruz due to health problems typical of his advanced age.
The then Bolivian Army sergeant became world famous in 1967, after the French magazine Paris Match published a photograph of him and said that he had been ordered to execute Che once he was captured.
“That was the worst moment of my life. At that moment I saw Che big, very big, huge. His eyes were shining brightly. I felt he was on top of me and when he stared at me, I felt dizzy. ‘Be calm,’ he told me, ‘and aim well! You’re going to kill a man. Then I took a step back, towards the door, closed my eyes and fired,” Terán recalled years later.