Monday, May 25, 2009

Tania the Guerilla

And after the last two posts on Women Wearing Berets and Ché Guevara, I have to write a few lines on Tamara Bunke as well.

(Haydée) Tamara Bunke (Bider), aka Tania the Guerilla, was a communist revolutionary and spy who played a prominent role in the Cuban Revolutionary Government and various Latin American revolutionary movements.

Like Guevara, Bunke was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of Erich Bunke and Nadia Bider, communist/Jewish refugees from Germany in the 1930's.

In 1952 Bunke moved with her family to the DDR, where she studied political science and started working for the Stasi, taking on espionage missions throughout Eurpe and South America.

Bunke first met Guevara in 1960, acting as his interpreter during his visit to the DDR and later on travelled with him through South America, now under her alias Tania.

From 1964 she worked in Bolivia, spying for what was to be Guevara's last campaign. Under the alias Laura Gutiérrez Bauer, she gathered information on Bolivian high society while working as a teacher and posing as a collector of folk music. In 1966 Bunke joined Juan Vitalio Acuña's group of Bolivian guerrillas, possibly against Guevara's wishes.

On 31 August 1967, Bolivian soldiers ambushed Acuña's group while they were crossing the Rio Grande and killed Bunke. She was buried in an unmarked grave on the periphery of the Vallegrande army base, until her body was transferred to Cuba, where she is reburied alongside her comrades. 

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