E. Howard Negroponte,
INTERVIEWER: What were those Chilean generals that you knew like, the guys that eventually became very powerful and took over the government. Do you remember any of them?
COL. WIMERT: Yeah very well, of course he was with the family ... .. first to military school and he had been a chief in the army his brother had been to first military school had been chief ... the son who is now head of joints of staff of Chile and of course Brady, Fernando, all the cavalry officers I knew very well because we would go down on the weekends to stay and at the cavalry school. So many friends.
INTERVIEWER: And that's why the, do you think that's why the CIA asked you to do what they did, because you knew the Chilean military before anybody else did? But that wasn't a planned gambit that was just your job anyway?
COL. WIMERT: No, I, it just ............ knew something we had something.
INTERVIEWER: But talk to me about the horse riding contacts.....
COL. WIMERT: Well .............. ............. the Chilean army had lots of money and they went to Europe they bought wonderful horses and for a long time they won 3 or 4 years straight in Madison Square Gardens, there were some Chilean teams up there, and then also in Harrisburg and they were good horses. So we rode and the horses were ... in all the countries ... ... the horses ... because Latin American officers don't play golf, they can't afford it, they all ride, the families all ride and things so. Being the way it was with the horses it was always the way in.
INTERVIEWER: I want to skip back a little bit at the moment, and I want you to tell me the story about, what happened when you were with President with Barry Entos in Bolivia when the news came in that Guevara was dead?
COL. WIMERT: Well he was in the woods. See what upset Che Guevara, can't remember the correct name of it, but the kind of woods, the forests you have in that part of the country, are big tall open trees, no underbrush. Now Guevara had all of his fighting men in long bushes so as they could creep infiltrating and you couldn't see him. But they got a ... there it was just ball game and Barientos was a real sharp ... he had 3 wives, all legal and I remember a man more affected he grabbed me one night ... ..... ... ... brothers. We were really drunk I tell you and I was worried because he was some kind of a swordsman ... ... .... Anyway ... and this kind of makeshift tent and ... .... ... . And so he cut his hands off and put them in a bag and the ... sent it to Washington.
INTERVIEWER: I'm gonna ask you to say that again, because we got the phone ringing in the middle of it. So can you say like you know...
COL. WIMERT: Well Barientos wanted to prove that he had Che Guevara and you know he just took a machete and cut his hands off and sent them to Washington. I ... Che Guevara when I finished ... ... and he sent it to the Pentagon. This is terrible I was a major, that's the kiss of death. Anyway I had two ........ .......... and an intelligence officer, a working officer for it. Well the night before it was Christmas when ... the community of Havana, They called me from the Pentagon and I rushed in and got arrested on ... for speeding and that brought me clean clothes, I was in the Pentagon for nine nights and ten days that ... and every morning at nine o'clock I would call on the radio and ... Che Guevara and we had a pretty good... because we still had the army and the navy attachés in Havana. .... . And we talked back and forth and then he after about 5 or 6 days he told me he says "Look Castro says no more contact with the United States", this is it our conversation was over. ... The army attaché was a real sharp guy. He met the two big army foot... and sold them for the most expensive cigars in Cuba, he had $65,000 ..... ... but ... ... sold them to some broker. Four years later he got the money for his car and his household goods and his ... was just peanuts but as ... cigars to get by.
INTERVIEWER: So tell me the story about being with Barientos when the body came in.
COL. WIMERT: Well the soldiers brought them in any case, his captive audience these other people were just shot. And he was worried about whether he would get credit for Che Guevara or whether he ..... So he took his machete ... and cut his hands off. He was already dead.
INTERVIEWER: So what did they do with the hands?
COL. WIMERT: They sent it to the State Department in a pouch. We got a cable back saying "No more things like that would be sent, because the smell was terrible in the war room."
INTERVIEWER: I think they were sent to Havana after that weren't they? For some kind of identification process. I heard they went there and they put them in some formula and it wasn't right and it decayed or destroyed them. Who cut the hands off, can you just make that statement again?
COL. WIMERT: Barientos cut the hands off Che Guevara with a machete [in the town] No in the jungle where he was captured. This was down towards Silvery down towards the ... water. .... .... Peru, Paraguay, Chile, there were 5 countries, all bordering Peru, Bolivia and this made things very unstable many times.
INTERVIEWER: I think that's why Guevara was trying to start a war there.
COL. WIMERT: That's right, he was trying to start a war to get rid of Castro. I mean to get rid of the opposition.. .. . Soviet Unions in .... stayed with the old regime ... if anybody came buy it seems.. ... there were several Indians and they would come in and parade around them and ... .....
INTERVIEWER: Now that the Cold War is over and you have had your particular part to play. What are your feelings about the way you got treated and Henry Kissinger and Hague and what happened to you?
COL. WIMERT: Well I really can't say exactly that I think they're sons of bitches but that was not fair, that was just that was typical though ... ... ... Henry screwed me. So you gotta remember it was those guys they're living under a certain code of their own and its like the story, they tell about the ... on fire and the .... they were going to the water to swim across to safety and the ... .... ... ..... "Save my life" he said and get across the water into the other island and you go across and then all of a sudden .. "Oh" and says "How can ya... ..."
INTERVIEWER: But you had your part in winning the cold war for America against Russia.
COL. WIMERT: Small part.
INTERVIEWER: Do you think the Cold War was as big as most people make it out to be, or was it dressed up?
COL. WIMERT: I think it was a period of ... ... dreams, especially the economic side.
INTERVIEWER: That's good. Thank you very much. Would you like a little break there. Very good.
INTERVIEWER: Colonel, tell me the Schneider story about your relationship to him and what happened.
COL. WIMERT: Well at first .. ... my first two or three days in Chile, he was an aid to the ... .. of the Chilean army who had been .. an official visit was coming back, and I was there to meet him with his aid, and ... ... .... He was very helpful to me, because he ... meet people here and meet people there and he was very helpful and ... going to see people and do things and then we had a. My wife and his wife had a very nice relationship and he was summer quite honestly at his, Pinochet he simply German type, big man, very and although he In the United States he was great, but he didn't wanna really concede to him, he was like Pinochet, you know fine but not ... ... good. And he was veryeasy to get along with and he made a General and I went to visit him I forget where, he was assigned but, I visited. He was very polite to us, we stayed at his home and we had known him for 6 years.
INTERVIEWER: Why was it necessary to kidnap him?
COL. WIMERT: Well we had to get him outta there, so that threats could be made to end his own army.
INTERVIEWER: To do what, for what reason?
COL. WIMERT: Well you see we talked to Fred, Fred said you were with Schneider and I would be .. army and I'll make you have an election, and again you have elections, and ... ... set an election.
INTERVIEWER: So, so that perhaps with a lull in the elections you wouldn't let them happen. Tell me that.
COL. WIMERT: Well you had to have a certain election you know, he would have let that have happen. .... ... was the first and by that time they felt that since they had .. Alessandri told me to troop back into power, then he could swing it and straighten things out.
INTERVIEWER: But it all went wrong and the vote went the other way. So what happened to you, what did you have to do when all that went wrong?
COL. WIMERT: I was scared to death, because so many things led to me, I feared for my family and it wasn't nice..... to lose sleep. Well you have to do, when you get caught in that close.... something you have to do at times take very permanent action - you can't fart around and not do something - you gotta to really do it quick. So you do things not too nice and that's the way it goes.
INTERVIEWER: All part of the Cold War. Alright now? Fine Thank you. That's good, very good.