Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fishing in the East River

Forty six years ago today, at 12:10 PM EST December 11th 1964, a bazooka shell landed in Manhattan’s east river and sent up a “15 foot geyser” of brown river water. Guillermo Novo had purchased the bazooka earlier in the year for $35 from an 8th avenue shop, and had lovingly rebuilt it. Novo lashed the bazooka to a rock filled crate in a weedy lot on the east bank of the East river, and attached it to a “clock-like” timer that would initiate its firing. The bazooka round fell almost 200 yards short of its intended target, which was the 38 story UN headquarters building.

On the inland side of the UN building Molly Gonzales had detached herself from a small group of demonstrators and ran towards the UN headquarters’s front entrance. After she was subdued she explained that she wanted to kill Che Guevara, who was addressing the UN General Assembly at the time, with the seven inch hunting knife she was brandishing.

The explosion had rattled windows in the building and Guevara remarked that the explosion had: “given the whole thing more flavor”. When he found out about the two assassination attempts he replied:

it is better to be killed by a woman with a knife than by a man with a gun" – Che Guevara 11 December 1964.

On October 9th 1967 Che was shot to death by a man with a gun. The half-drunk executioner (a Bolivian Sergeant by the name of Mario Teran) would lose his sight to cataracts over the coming decades. In 2006 Cuban doctors would restore his sight as part of the Cuba-Venezuela Operación Milagro. In 2007 Teran’s son wrote a thank-you editorial to the Cuban doctors in which he stated: “Che returns to win yet another battle.”



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Che is my personal hero.

adult onset atheist said...

The speech Che gave at the UN was a moving piece about human rights and the revolutionary activities needed to secure them. One of the great speeches in history. In many ways he played Trotsky to Castro's Stalin.