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We Brought Heroes
After 10 years, the discoverer of Ches remains still has work to do in the Bolivian jungles

His life adventure began in 1995. Since then his name and that of Commander Ernesto Che Guevara share an interesting symbiosis of science and history. They were joined by chance, but their lives had in common the will to fight until the summit is reached, the duty is fulfilled or the dream comes true.

It was something exceptional because the one we found was no other but Che

For sure Dr. Jorge González Pérez Head of the scientific team that discovered the remains of Che in 1997 has spoken about this topic many times, but in every narration he finds a new detail and another reason to continue to tell his experiences on Bolivian lands.

- Did you ever think the remains of the guerrilla fighters were not to be found?

- We were always convinced that sooner than later we would find it because above all the political will of our country was certain and the finding, one way or the other, was scientifically possible. We had no doubts it was going to appear.
The uncertainty was rather related to the when. The situation was rather related to the pressure exerted by the political circumstances of the country. However, we had to accelerate the moment of the discovery due to the situation the Bolivians imposed us, finishing the work to avoid any interference of the electoral process. The new president was to take up his post on August 6 and the finding took place on June 28, that is to say, when the one who was in place was no longer president nor was the president-to-be either.

It was a period of political uncertainty and that was very difficult because the new President would be Hugo Banzer, a dictator, a general linked to the Condor Operation. Therefore it was necessary to do whatever possible to find the remains before August "

- On June 28, 1997, you declared the discovery had been something exceptional in your career...

- From the scientific point, it was something we had never done before on such a large scale. Our team had been to many countries, in search for Cuban internationalists as part of the Tribute Operation.
But those were places to which we would go looking for well located burials. In the case of Bolivia it was to atart in the north a search we had not defined so well, therefore it was something exceptional, it was not the same we knew until that moment and the one we found was not any other but Che.

- Several people in the world have tried to question the truthfulness of the discovery ...

- In the first place, the identification of the Che was the easiest in which I have worked in more than 30 years as a forensic specialist. We had the denture mold that had been made to transform his appearance when he left Cuba. With such an aid, we would have attained absolute identification, not other trst was necessary. However, we used identification patterns like age, sex, race and height. We also had an x-ray plate that was taken of him in 1954 in Mexico.

There were all his teeth and his skull. We had the autopsy done by Bolivians themselves, in which seven bone injuries were described. Everything was compared and fitted.

We also found Ches coat and in one of its pockets the snuffbox he used.

The enemy always questioned why we did not conduct a DNA test. Simply, because it was not necessary. Any way when we arrived in Cuba we did DNA tests to prove the quality of the technique employed. There was full coincidence between Ches DNA and that of the skeleton. We are absolutely certain that it matches.

Therefore, I don't have anything to tell you on those who doubt. We have an answer for scientists and for those holding their own opinions, not for mercenaries who are paid to say lies."

- What do you think it means for Cuba to have brought the remains of the Che?

- What we brought was heroes, heroes of the Homeland, heroes of the world, people who have offered the maximum they could offer, their lives to make other lives better. That deserves respect, admiration, recognition. Che and his companions are paradigms of the revolutionary fight, example of solidarity, internationalism, devotion, revolutionary vocation. From the scientific point of view, we know the value of the fact, but I believe that the most important aspect is the political, human and sentimental meaning it has.

- Did this discovery change something in your life?

- It changed my life in several ways, because one gets engaged in a historical process, then on seeing that he was convinced there was no obstacle to reach anything in life, you commit yourself. Everything is attainable, only that you have to figure out the ways you can reach everything. It depends of how to face and overcome the obstacles.

The work meant thousands of difficulties, but we overcame those difficulties working together. The search demonstrated me, once again, the importance of collective work and the role played by everyone in fulfilling his or her task. Also, the emotion, the satisfaction of rescuing the Che, commits me much more with him, with his ideas and with all he defended and continues to defend.

Jorge is the dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of Havana and host of the "Science Against Crime TV program". He still finds his work incomplete. As the dreamer he is, he wants to go further

"I am convinced we will return to Bolivia and the work will come to an end. Just as we expected the necessary time to find Ches remains and those of his companions 30 years later, we will find the rest."


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