Friday, October 9, 2009

A dose of irony

Today is the 42nd anniversary of the death of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the young Argentinian physician who in the 1950s linked up with Fidel Castro and helped carry out the Cuban Revolution.

Guevara as prisoner, surrounded by Bolivian soldiers.

On this date in 1967 Che was executed after being captured along with members of his band of Bolivian guerrillas. The young Bolivian soldier who was ordered to do the shooting, and to make it look as though Che was killed in battle rather than sitting wounded in a chair, was named Mario Terán.

Now comes the irony part. A couple of years ago, a team of Cuban physicians working in Bolivia discovered Terán, now an old man, in need of eye surgery. They removed his cataracts, making it possible for him to see again.

So, the man who killed the person who helped establish the beginnings of Cuba's health care system was in turn given back his eyesight by that same health care system. For free.

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