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The American Hijacker

His Life and Death

Quotes Following Patrick's death, his family overcame international legal and political hurdles to recover his body. His mother beseeched several governments and organizations to help her bring Patrick home to Nicaragua. There he was laid to rest, a photo of his hero Che Guevara placed inside the coffin on his chest.

Patrick Arguello's body with a picture of Che Guevara

The State Department was trying to claim that the body was a Palestinian body. Yet later on the C.I.A. and Scotland Yard discovered that he was a U.S. citizen...

Rose Arguello, sister

Patrick... has gone down in history as a brutal footnote to skyjack Sunday... on the right, they call him a terrorist, a person who pistol-whipped stewardesses, a person who was evil and violent. On the left, Patrick is called a selfless revolutionary, who, like Che Guevara, laid down his life for another people's cause. I think neither really does full justice to who Patrick Arguello was...

The great irony of Patrick's life is that, just like his idol, Che Guevara, Patrick also died in a foreign guerrilla movement, far from his own country, not immediately connected to Nicaragua... Patrick died in a way that he never would have anticipated, and might not even have wanted.

Marshall Yurow, biographer

What's the difference between terrorism and one who fights for freedom? We're talking about 35 years ago, and what is going on now is nothing like that. What Pat was doing at the time, his idea was never to harm anybody. That was not the idea. The idea was to bring to the world's attention what was going on in Palestine.

Rose Arguello, sister

It was a shame because he had so much to contribute. If you were to ask me, do you justify what he did? No. Each one of us latch onto a cause at a certain period... but if you are able to identify yourself and know what you want, apparently Pat was able to latch onto a cause. A cause that, to me, if I had been in a position of advising him, I'd have said, "Hey, pal, don't go that route. There's other ways you can make changes."

Patrick was a very loveable brother, with a cause... I did not know how deep it had penetrated his soul. In the early 20s, people have a tendency to be very much more vibrant than you are at 30 or 35... the fact that he took the cause to heart says a lot about the man himself. I have fond memories... time takes care of hurts.

Robert Arguello, brother

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Hijacked American Experience