The Truth About Che GuevaraPosted: February 10, 2014
Michael Totten writes: Che Guevara has the most effective public relations department on earth. The Argentine guerrilla and modern Cuba’s co-founding father has been fashioned into a hipster icon, a counter-cultural hero, an anti-establishment rebel, and a champion of the poor. As James Callaghan once put it, “A lie can be halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.”
The truth about Che now has its boots on. He helped free Cubans from the repressive Batista regime, only to enslave them in a totalitarian police state worst than the last. He was Fidel Castro’s chief executioner, a mass-murderer who in theory could have commanded any number of Latin American death squads, from Peru’s Shining Path on the political left to Guatemala’s White Hand on the right.
“Just as Jacobin Paris had Louis Antoine de Saint-Just,” wrote French historian Pascal Fontaine, “revolutionary Havana had Che Guevara, a Latin American version of Nechaev, the nineteenth century nihilist terrorist who inspired Dostoevsky’s The Devils.
As Guevara wrote to a friend in 1957, ‘My ideological training means that I am one of those people who believe that the solution to the world’s problems is to be found behind the Iron Curtain.’…He was a great admirer of the Cultural Revolution [in China]. According to Regis Debray, ‘It was he and not Fidel who in 1960 invented Cuba’s first corrective work camp,’ or what the Americans would call a slave labor camp and the Russians called the gulag.”
He was killed in Bolivia by the army in 1967 when he tried to overthrow yet another government and replace it with a communist state.
I saw only a handful of posters of Fidel Castro in Cuba and none whatsoever of his younger brother, Raul, who is now Cuba’s president, but I saw hundreds of portraits of Che, as if he, rather than one of the Castros, were the acting dictator today. The cult of personality revolves entirely around the dead guy. It’s convenient and clever. He can’t do anything new to discredit himself and it gives the Castro family a false air of modesty.
My tour of the Cuban countryside took me to Che’s final resting place in a mausoleum behind an imposing momument on the outskirts of Santa Clara. Before I stepped off the bus I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t argue with a single person, Cuban or foreign, at the memorial—not so much out of respect for the dead, but because I didn’t want to be “that guy.” Better to just zip it for an hour and tell the truth about Che later in writing…
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- Che Guevara: The ‘Hipster’ Dictator of Cuba from the Grave (theuniversalspectator.wordpress.com)
- 5 Movies on Che Guevara You Must Watch (repeatingislands.com)
- Tributes to Che Guevara Underway in Vallegrande, Bolivia (youthandeldersja.wordpress.com)
- No More Che Day (thecollegefix.com)
- Hunting Down Che Guevara (nation.time.com)
- Cuba, Bolivia submit Che Guevara’s manuscripts for Unesco heritage project (voicerussia.com)
- Che Guevara: “idealist,” “symbol of liberation.” Phil Robertson “Liar!” “Hater!” (babalublog.com)
- Che Guevara’s image doesn’t fit ghastly reality (babalublog.com)