Another added in Italian: "He who speaks to the heart never dies."
Someone else in Spanish: "We await your orders, comandante!"
A decade ago, remains apparently belonging to the rebel were disinterred and taken to Cuba, although questions remain about whether the bones were Guevara's.
In an ironic twist, the press has reported that among the Bolivians benefiting from eye surgery by Cuban doctors is none other than Mario Teran, the Bolivian soldier who executed Guevara.
"Four decades after Mario Teran attempted to destroy a dream and an idea, Che returns to win yet another battle," reported Granma, the Cuban Communist Party newspaper. "Now an old man, Senor Teran can, once again, appreciate the colors of the sky and the forest, enjoy the smiles of his grandchildren and watch football games."
Here in La Higuera, Guevara's image is as ubiquitous as in any college dormitory. Impoverished villagers hawk Che memorabilia and seek tips via guide services or the repetition of dubious Che anecdotes.
Around here, there's no business like Che business.
"I don't know much about Che, but he attracts tourists, and that's a good thing," said Limbert Arteaga, 29, mayor of the nearby town of Pucara, who was overseeing a health fair featuring tuberculosis screening by Cuban physicians. "I know he was a good man. He tried to help others."
Some villagers are even willing, for a modest gratuity, to display their home altars to Santo Ernesto, a sight that probably would have appalled Guevara, an atheist.
"We ask Che that nothing bad will happen to us," said Manuel Cortez, 62, who lives a few yards from the schoolhouse where Guevara was killed, now a museum. "We have faith in Che."
Today's Che lovefest is a marked departure from the state of affairs 40 years ago, when villagers expressed suspicion and mystification. In his diary of the Bolivian campaign, Guevara writes that he was despondent about the hostility of the locals he had come to liberate, so distinct from the peasants of Cuba's Sierra Maestra.
"The campesino masses don't help us in anything and instead they betray us," an exasperated Guevara wrote a week before he was killed.
By the time he and the bedraggled remnants of his guerrilla band arrived here, hundreds of commandos trained by U.S. Green Berets were hot on his trail. He was captured Oct. 8 after being wounded in the foot during a firefight in a dense ravine known as El Churo, about two miles away. He weighed about 100 pounds after months of privations. A bullet had disabled his carbine and punched a hole in his trademark beret.
"He was completely demoralized, nothing like the photo of the heroic guerrilla," said retired Bolivian Gen. Gary Prado, the captain of the squad that captured Guevara. "He was dying of hunger, dirty, disheveled. It made you sorry to see him."
Contradicting the notion that Guevara vowed never to be captured alive, Prado says the rebel willingly surrendered, seeming relieved. "I'm Che Guevara and I'm worth more to you alive than dead," he told his captors, according to Prado.
He was shackled and marched to the schoolhouse.
The next day, President Rene Barrientos, a U.S.-trained general, decided Guevara would be summarily executed. The volunteer warrant officer, Teran, fired the fatal shots sometime after 1 p.m., according to accounts.
Guevara's widely reported but probably apocryphal last words: "Fire, coward, it is a man you are going to kill!"
The autopsy cited eight bullet wounds, but none to the face that would soon be flashed across the globe.
Ernesto Guevara, saint to some, devil to others, bohemian, adventurer and implacable foe of capitalism, was dead. And the myth of the immortal Che was born.
Andres D'Alessandro of The Times' Buenos Aires Bureau contributed to this report.