The discovery of the remains of the Argentinean Cuban guerrilla Ernesto Che Guevara 26 years ago today, marked a milestone that shocked Cuba, after three decades of incessant search.
Such event is considered here a victory over those who, by hiding the corpses of Che and his comrades-in-arms in the Bolivian war, tried to silence the example of rebelliousness of the Cuban Revolution and a show of loyalty and gratitude for the sacrifice of the man known here as the Heroic Guerrilla.
Geologists, forensic anthropologists, biologists, geophysicists, historians and other scholars of the social sciences of this nation participated in the investigations that led to the discovery, with the support of foreign specialists and some 15 national institutions.
The work in the field for almost two years, beginning in 1995, made it possible to find the skeletons buried surreptitiously by their executioners in the old part of the airstrip of Vallegrande, a Bolivian town 240 kilometers from Santa Cruz.
The arduous task, led by the doctor in Medical Sciences Jorge Gonzalez, then director of the Institute of Legal Medicine of Havana, had to be carried out quickly due to the pressures of those who tried to frustrate it.
One day after the Bolivian Government gave the Cubans 48 hours to finish, the discovery was made.
On the morning of Saturday, June 28, 1997, seven human skeletons were found in a mass grave, one of which was missing its hands.
Part of Che's olive green jacket and pieces of the leather belt he was wearing the day he was killed were found attached to those remains, Gonzalez recalled.
Other evidence, such as the prominence of the skull and the absence of the upper left molar, dispelled the doubts. The subsequent DNA study confirmed that it was Comandante Guevara, said the expert in an interview to Granma newspaper.
The finding was interpreted on the island as a feat that highlighted the scientific capacity of this Antillean nation and the commitment of its specialists to the country.
A whole generation of Cubans was marked by the images of the arrival of the coffins at the military airport of San Antonio de los Baños and their subsequent transfer to the mausoleum in the city of Santa Clara, in central Cuba, where Che fought one of the most important battles of the war of liberation.
Millions of people have visited the installation, which also treasures documents, photos and historical pieces related to Guevara's life and work.