Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Exposing the Real Che Guevara

After talking to the Cuban bloggers at the Babalu blog about Che Guevera and Cuba for PJTV, I wanted to learn more. They had mentioned a book by Humberto Fontova entitled, Exposing the Real Che Guevara: And the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him, as a good source so I ordered it as soon as I got back from Miami. It came today and I quickly picked it up to read.

Fontova, the author, fled Cuba in 1961, at the age of seven, with his mother and siblings. He opens the book with the sad story of his family fleeing from Cuba with all of their possessions taken from them. His father was held in a Havana prison but eventually made it to Miami, and then to New Orleans to join his family. His cousin was not so lucky. He was a fervent Catholic activist who spoke out against the regime. His body was found at a Cuban police station, bruised and banged up. The secret police told the family he died of a "heart attack."

Fontova gives the reader some insight into Cuban Americans and why they are so passionate:

If Cuban Americans strike you as too passionate, over the top, even a little crazy, there is a reason. Practically everyday, we turn on our televisions or go out to the street only to see the image of the very man who trained the secret police to murder our relatives--thousands of men, women and boys. This man committed many of these murders with his own hands. And yet we see him celebrated everywhere as the quintessence of humanity, progress, and compassion.

That man, that murderer, is Ernesto "Che" Guevara.

Fontova interviews the few people who are still alive who interacted with Che and who tell the truth about him, unlike the sleazy Hollywood stars and the media who because of ignorance or anti-Americanism, have come to idolize a mass murderer.

I have always wondered why in the world anyone would wear a Che Guevera t-shirt, yet I see it all the time, on people who should know better. To some who are just ignorant, Che symbolizes "rebellion and standing against the man." But he was "the man"--the man who murdered innocent men, women and children. After reading Fontova's book and doing a little research, perhaps they will understand what he was really about and will choose a different symbol for their t-shirt. Hopefully, one more like this:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dr H.--
the people who wear those shirts are, like so many older folks totally unaware of just about anything that took place before their birthdays.
They wear the shirts as you point out because they symbolize rebellion and a rather dashing Che looks better on a shirt than a bearded and scary looking Marx....and speaking of rebellions and their idols, tonight I watch a film about the making of a film about Jim Morrison and The Doors.

6:49 PM, May 12, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

Morrissey made the point in an interview that "nobody really cared about the Doors when Jim Morrison was alive. It's like death is more fascinating than life."

I think that is an exaggeration, but the point is that some artists achieve immortality through dying young.

As for Che Guevara shirts, fred makes a good point too - a lot people wear that sh*t without really understanding WTF they are wearing. Lots of dumb people in this world following some idol of hypocrisy.

9:34 PM, May 12, 2010  
Blogger pst314 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:35 PM, May 12, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agreed with you until seeing what you'd like to replace him with. So you don't think Reagan got a lot of people killed? For that matter, how about Batista? Wear the visage of someone other than a political leader. They're all quite willing to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

6:34 AM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Most revolutionaries have a dark side. One doesn't rise to power without a little bloodshed.

6:58 AM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Don't miss also The Cuba Archive's report on Che Guevara's Forgotten Victims (PDF file), which includes the Documented list of victims of Che in 1959.

7:46 AM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

a film about the making of a film

Never saw "The Doors" movie and not about to watch a movie about making a movie. But, I loved The Doors when Morrison was alive and still enjoy their music.

Hunt, are you trying to make some comparison between Che and Reagan? That's like comparing Roosevelt to Hitler because Roosevelt fought back and, thus, "caused" the deaths of many. Plain ignorant.

9:24 AM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

When I see someone wearing a Che shirt, the inescapable conclusion is that the person is either:

a) a moron who doesn't know Che was a mass murderer, or

b) someone who would murder me for my political views if given the chance.

They may actually be both. Either way, that person is automatically suspect.

9:39 AM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

When I see someone in that shirt I just think of some poor (insert group here) studies major that swallowed the indoctrination.

And mentioning Che and Reagen in the same sentence has the exact same effect.

Trey - If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you're not gonna make it with anyone anyhow. - Some Rightwing nut job.

9:43 AM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

The 20th century saw some truly evil (yes, I mean that word) men come to power. Together, they were responsible for the deaths of over 100 million people. Men like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and to a somewhat lessor extent, Castro. Those men didn't personally kill all of those people. They had henchmen like Beria, Che and Eichmann to do the dirty work. To celebrate Che is to honor a mass murderer.

Back in the 1990s, I helped a Holocaust survivor write his autobiography. The was a Baptist from Arkansas who had the misfortune of being shot down in 1944 and captured by the Gestapo, ending up in Buchenwald. He and about 82 other Americans ended up there along with about an additional 100 Allied airmen. This book still in print tells their story. Jim told me something that really stuck with me. He described how everyone always talks about the thugs like the Gestapo and the Capos to ran the camps and did the dirty work. He said those camps would not have been possible without the work of architects, engineers, and other skilled, educated people who designed and built the infrastructure of destruction.

Che was a thug and a murderer. Anyone who honors him is either a fool or someone with similar aspirations.

12:02 PM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. Helen, I mean this with full sincerity so don’t take it the wrong way, but it is a little disappointing to see someone with a Ph.D. who has been trained in dissecting reliable sources of information, that you would fall so easily for an obvious polemical screed filled with hyperbole and childish insults. Humberto Fontova describes Che as an "assassin", "sadist", "bumbler", "fool", and "whimpering-sniveling-blubbering coward" who is "revered by millions of imbeciles.” Surely this is not the sort of scholarship that you were taught to trust in your graduate education. More importantly, by promoting such a work – you harm your own credibility on other matters as people might assume you are simply a immature bomb thrower without civility or erudite intellectual analytical skills. I believe you are way smarter than that. There are several definitive biographies on Che Guevara which show the darker side of the man, however this is not one of them.

12:55 PM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Critique of the one pushed your buttons huh?


2:25 PM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

i lived with a woman for 15 years who`s father had a picture of che guevara in his living room.

apparently the father fought in angola against the cubans for the portuguese military and befriended the cubans(!) and ended up visiting cuba after the war.

he now lives there half the year and takes his money to feed villagers....and his illegitimate children (! again).

he calls castro a hero.

he instantly disliked me because i am english with an english r.a.f. father.

the man is a philandering racist bigot.

of course he would think highly of these people. he wants to be just like them.

i live in canada and see che shirts worn as a badge of power by niave children.

and i see obama t-shirts worn in precisely the same way.

3:20 PM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

I hate Che!

4:22 PM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger Der Hahn said...

"Your guy is/was just as bad."

"Everybody gets a little dirty."

"Don't listen to the real extremists."

The usual suspects show up with the usual 'arguments'.

4:42 PM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger Just a conservative girl said...

You don't really need to go beyond his diaries. One can see what a monster he is with his own words.

8:05 PM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger Memphis said...

American Leftists idolize a lot of Marxist mass murderers. The more I see of the things they worship, the more clearly I see that what they love is pure destruction and death. If it brings chaos, they love it. If it spreads hate, they love it. If it destroys all good things, they can't get enough of it.

11:18 PM, May 13, 2010  
Blogger Kurt said...

I'm inclined to agree with Memphis Steve. Five years ago, I tried cultivating a relationship with a left-wing activist type who spoke positively about the movie the Motorcycle Diaries and about his admiration for Che. I did some research and tried to present some of the facts about Che, and he didn't listen and was dismissive.

When Fonotova's book was published, I thought about sending him a copy, but of course I knew he wouldn't read it. The only sources he would read would and believe were left-wing sources, but those on the left who have been critical of Che usually also support the war on terror (I'm thinking of the likes of Paul Berman and Christopher Hitchens), so they are regarded as tainted sources who are traitors to the leftist cause.

I also considered sending him the book Against All Hope by Armando Valladares, but unfortunately the book barely makes reference to Che, so while it might have enlightened him to the horrible conditions of Cuba's version of the Gulag, it wouldn't have done anything to dissuade the idiotic Che worship.

12:31 AM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger Helen said...


Given the tendency of "intellectuals" with "erudite intellectual analytical skills" to rewrite history and science to fit in with their own politically correct narrative, if you are saying that I am not an "intellectual," by highlighting Fontova's book, I can only take it as a compliment.

5:47 AM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

American Leftists idolize a lot of Marxist mass murderers. The more I see of the things they worship, the more clearly I see that what they love is pure destruction and death.

I disagree with the last bit - they don't really love destruction and death. It's just that most, if not all, of them believe that in such a regime they'll be among the elite helping to shepard us poor fools thru life.

And not in the gulags themselves, because they're no longer useful idiots.

10:56 AM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Larry J

Given their similar moral repugnance, it seems kind of unjust that Beria and Eichman don't also have t-shirts for cretins and moral cretins to wear.

I have often thought that someone ought to use pictures of Beria, Dzerzhinsky, Eichman and Himmler, photoshop a beret onto their head and then silk screen the images onto red t-shirts. It would be interesting to see how popular they became among the young and trendy.

12:16 PM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

some years ago forbes magazine published an article making castro an honourary most wealthy and not actually including him in the top ten because they couldn`t verify all of his accounts.

apparently his sale of the state-owned rum monopoly netted him $100 million or so.


while doctors in cuba are paid the same as hairdressers and roadsweeps.

and we know why nobody is rafting in shark-infested waters to get TO havana.

one has to be stupid intellectually or otherwise to think these people are anything but friends of mugabe and amin and the like.

1:26 PM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger Wayne said...

Mark - I'm sure they don't have any cool-looking pictures in just the right pose, like Che did.

3:12 PM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger Wayne said...

Damn, writing that thought brought something to mind, and now I'm afraid it might be true.

You know how Obama always has his head up, looking over everyone's heads, rather than looking at them? I just wonder if he's not trying to imitate the Che picture, but just can't keep from getting his nose too high in the air and looking like the snob that he is...

3:16 PM, May 14, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of people idolize sociopaths. Look at all the people who go to football games and cheer for violent felons like Ryan Tucker.

9:19 PM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Lots of people idolize sociopaths.

Quite true. Many sociopaths have pleasing personalities or are otherwise able to suck people in in order to take advantage of them and wield power over them. Unfortunately, for many people, it's too late when they figure this out, a la Jim Jones and many others. People who are looking for a "leader" are especially susceptible.

10:25 PM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger Hunt said...

Hunt, are you trying to make some comparison between Che and Reagan? That's like comparing Roosevelt to Hitler because Roosevelt fought back and, thus, "caused" the deaths of many. Plain ignorant.

Weather you pull the trigger yourself, or pay someone else to do it, the result is the same. Reagan funded right-wing death squads in Central America that would leave the severed heads of whole families on dinner platters. If you think I'm just some leftist making up stories go there yourself and see how the people depict him in murals. Reagan was as willing to kill for his ideals as Che was. The only difference between the two was one had plausible deniability and the other wore a beret. If you want to worship your sanitized leader then go ahead, but you're being hypocritical if you do.

10:41 PM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

In most cases, if you want to know how heroic someone is, first gage how much the right-wing hates them. The greater the teabaggers hate him, the more heroic he/she must be. Che Guevara, (one of the most heroic individuals of the 20th century) invites a large amount of hatred, vitriol, and misinformation from the conservative wing-nuts for two reasons:

(1) He represents many of the noble attributes that their bankrupt philosophy abhors, namely self-sacrifice, helping the poor, restoring justice when it comes to great inequality, and overthrowing the oligarch puppets of plantation capitalism.

(2) Che represents everything that the right-wingers secretly wish they were – brave, determined, dashing, charismatic, intelligent, poetic, and unshakable against impenetrable odds – while they took deferments from Vietnam – Che battled armies on 2 continents usually outnumbered 20 or 50 to 1.

# of Slaves owned ...
George Washington = 316
Che Guevara = 0

11:22 PM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

"Che’s life is an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom, we will always honor his memory." — Nelson Mandela


~ Overthrowing a brutal U$ backed dictator allied with the Mafia (Batista)

~ Stopping American companies from owning 70 % of the arable land in Cuba

~ Teaching peasants to read, by bringing the Cuban literacy rate from 60 to 97 %

~ Having the 200 or so War Criminals who killed 20,000 Cubans for Batista shot against a wall

~ Speaking out against South African Apartheid to the UN in 1964

~ Fighting white mercenaries in the African Congo with an all black army

~ Speaking out against U$ and eventually USSR Imperialism while demanding that the poor of the world be allowed to live a life of dignity

11:24 PM, May 14, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Jose, what flavor Koolaid did you drink pal? La Rasa?


10:35 AM, May 15, 2010  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

and quoting mandela doesn`t help.

he was jailed for blowing up a school full of children.

3:36 PM, May 15, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One man's terrorist is another man's savior.

This is possibly the most politically incorrect question to ask at this time: How many 9/11 widows/widowers are secretly delighted by the fact that they received a substantial amount of money and Mr./Mrs. Wrong won't be coming home ever again? I don't expect to see many interviews but given the American rate of divorce, spousal abuse. child abuse, etc. one can make a few reasonable assumptions.

4:59 PM, May 15, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

Like I wrote earlier in this thread:

When I see someone wearing a Che shirt, the inescapable conclusion is that the person is either:

a) a moron who doesn't know Che was a mass murderer, or

b) someone who would murder me for my political views if given the chance.

They may actually be both. Either way, that person is automatically suspect.

Jose certainly qualifies, most likely for option B. That makes him automatically suspect in my book.

6:12 PM, May 15, 2010  
Blogger GM Roper said...

The only good thing about Che is that he is still Muerte.

1:05 PM, May 16, 2010  
Blogger Harambe said...

I'd like to add Nelson Mandela to the list. He can certainly hold his own when it comes to terrorism and the slaughter of civilians. But I've heard a white student confess to wanting to tongue-kiss him.

3:26 AM, May 17, 2010  
Blogger Street Philosopher said...

Thank you Jose.

The rest of you have ingested the capitalist cool aid for so long you actually believe this nonsense. Get over yourselves.

11:26 AM, May 19, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Che Guevara wanted equality, meaning that everyone would now be treated the exact same as another person would be. Some don't deserve to be treated equally! If you worked harder and more efficient than another individual, then wouldn't you deserve more pay than the other person? Some people expect welfare when they've got the ability to work. Do you people believe in paying extra taxes to the undeserving? I sure don't!

11:22 PM, February 06, 2011  

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