Che Guevara (June 14, 1928 - October 9, 1967) was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military theorist. A major figure of the Cuban Revolution, his stylized visage has become a ubiquitous countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia within popular culture.
As a young medical student, Guevara traveled throughout South America and was radicalized by the poverty, hunger, and disease he witnessed. His burgeoning desire to help overturn what he saw as the capitalist exploitation of Latin America by the United States prompted his involvement in Guatemala's social reforms under President Jacobo Árbenz, whose eventual CIA-assisted overthrow at the behest of the United Fruit Company solidified Guevara's political ideology. Later, while living in Mexico City, he met Raúl and Fidel Castro, joined their 26th of July Movement, and sailed to Cuba aboard the yacht, Granma, with the intention of overthrowing Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Guevara soon rose to prominence among the insurgents, was promoted to second-in-command, and played a pivotal role in the victorious two-year guerrilla campaign that deposed the Batista regime.
Following the Cuban Revolution, Guevara performed a number of key roles in the new government. These included reviewing the appeals and firing squads for those convicted as war criminals during the revolutionary tribunals, instituting agrarian land reform as minister of industries, helping spearhead a successful nationwide literacy campaign, serving as both national bank president and instructional director for Cuba’s armed forces, and traversing the globe as a diplomat on behalf of Cuban socialism. Such positions also allowed him to play a central role in training the militia forces who repelled the Bay of Pigs Invasion and bringing the Soviet nuclear-armed ballistic missiles to Cuba which precipitated the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Additionally, he was a prolific writer and diarist, composing a seminal manual on guerrilla warfare, along with a best-selling memoir about his youthful continental motorcycle journey. His experiences and studying of Marxism–Leninism led him to posit that the Third World's underdevelopment and dependence was an intrinsic result of imperialism, neocolonialism, and monopoly capitalism, with the only remedy being proletarian internationalism and world revolution. Guevara left Cuba in 1965 to foment revolution abroad, first unsuccessfully in Congo-Kinshasa and later in Bolivia, where he was captured by CIA-assisted Bolivian forces and summarily executed. Many people also need to come to grips with the crimes against humanity that Che Guevara and his fellow guerilla soldiers committed against Cuban civilians to achieve victory and secure authoritarian rule under the Castro brothers. Learning the truth will debunk the mythology the regime uses to indoctrinate the Cuban people and hold them back from asserting their human rights.
Che was a cold-hearted killer, who, even before his revolutionary days in Cuba, revealed to his parents his psychopathic personality. He wrote to his father that he had discovered he loved to kill. He wrote to his mother that “I am all the contrary of a Christ.” The Cuban revolution provided Che an outlet and pretext for acting on his psychosis. He boasted, for example: “A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.”
In “Notas de Viaje,” Che wrote the following: “…and I know, because I see it printed in the night, that I, the eclectic dissector of doctrines and psychoanalyst of dogmas, howling like possessed, will assault the barricades or trenches, will stain in blood my weapon and, mad of fury, will slit the throats of any defeated who fall into my hands…’
Che was prepared to use the 1962 Cuban missile crisis as an excuse to wreak death & destruction on the United States by launching lethal nuclear attacks on U.S. cities. He wrote: “If the missiles had remained, we would have used them against the very heart of America including New York…We must walk the path of liberation even if it costs millions of atomic victims.”
While many people Lionize Che & his sayings many are completely unaware of some of Che Guevara’s other slogans:
- “The U.S. is the great enemy of mankind!”
- “Against those hyenas [Americans] there is no option but extermination!”
- "We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies’ very home, to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him [the U.S.]!"
- “We must keep our hatred [against the U.S.] alive and fan it to paroxysm! “
- “If the nuclear missiles had remained [in Cuba] we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S. including New York City. The victory of socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!”
U.S. taxpayers pay U.S. government employees to celebrate the author of the charming sentiments above. Fine. As usual only a few Americans of Cuban heritage have complained about the EPA’s “gaffe.” As usual, most of the people Che Guevara craved to incinerate view this EPA “gaffe” as a silly obsession by hyper-sensitive and loudmouthed Cuban-Americans.
But Che Guevara’s hate-obsession was actually the U.S. Most of the defenseless Cubans he murdered in cold blood, he murdered because he thought they were affiliated with the U.S. (“U.S.–backed” Batista, the CIA, etc.) In fact, probably 90 percent of the men (and boys, and some women) his regime murdered had no affiliation with Batista whatsoever and most had fought the Batista regime—but alas, as non-Communists.
Since the U.S. government insists on these ethnic celebrations here’s an idea: Instead of celebrating a foreign “Hispanic” who dreamed of incinerating and entombing millions of U.S. citizens and obliterating the U.S. as a political entity, why not celebrate a U.S. citizen of Hispanic heritage who voluntarily put his life repeatedly on the line to defendthe United States? Better still, this American of Hispanic heritage played a key role in capturing the foreign Hispanic who craved to murder millions of Americans.
EPA, meet Felix Rodriguez. Some background:
As a 19-year-old volunteer for Brigada 2506 (the Bay of Pigs freedom-fighters), Cuban-born Felix Rodriguez infiltrated Communist Cuba weeks before what came to be known as the Bay of Pigs invasion, organizing underground freedom-fighters, planning the sabotage of key roads and bridges, staying a step ahead of the Castro’s secret police and their KGB coaches. Almost half of his band-of-brothers in the infiltration teams died in front of Soviet-armed firing squads, after KGB-tutored torture. Felix knew the odds. He volunteered anyway, along with hundreds of other young Cuban exiles of the time.
After the Knights of Camelot stabbed the Bay of Pigs freedom-fighters in the back on the bloody Bay of Pigs beachhead, Rodriguez again foiled the Communist dragnet by slipping into the Venezuelan embassy and escaping a year later to Florida. After the Knights of Camelot stabbed the freedom-fighters again and twisted the blade with the Kennedy-Khrushchev swindle (that obliged the U.S. to protect Castro’s Soviet beachhead), Rodriguez, along with hundreds of his Bay of Pigs band-of-brothers enlisted in the U.S. Army.
On the day he gained his U.S. citizenship in 1969, Rodriguez celebrated the honor by volunteering for combat in Viet-Nam. "I lost the country of my birth to Communism,” he explained. "I know freedom must be protected. And I feel I owe it to my adopted country."
Felix flew over 300 helicopter combat missions in Viet-Nam, and was shot down five times. He won the coveted Intelligence Star for Valor from the CIA and nine Crosses for Gallantry from the Republic of South Vietnam. Later he battled Communists in El Salvador using a helicopter "mobile strike unit" scheme he developed in Viet-Nam. He flew over 100 combat missions in Central America, captured the FMLF's top commander and helped crush those Communist-terrorists decisively. All this was volunteer work.
Later, as a CIA operative, Rodriguez played a key role in tracking down and capturing Che Guevara in Bolivia and was the last to question him. “Finally I was face to face with the assassin of thousands of my countrymen, of hundreds of my patriot friends,” he recalls. But his mission was trying to save Che’s life, to transport him to the Southern Command in Panama for questioning.
Alas, Felix’s Bolivian allies viewed the matter differently. And it was, after all, their nation under Communist attack. So they decided on a policy that has since become a favorite among Americans who encounter (so-called) endangered species on their property: "Shoot, shovel, and shut-up."
Castro really wants Felix Rodriguez’s head and has sent hit-team after hit-team, after hit-team (including one lent to him by his late chum Yasser Arafat) to murder Felix and his family in Florida. In May 1975, General Joaquin Zenteno, a Bolivian officer who worked with Rodriguez on Che’s capture, was murdered on a Paris street.
“You’re next,” heard Felix Rodriguez when he picked up the phone a few days later. Click.
“When you get to Miami,” Cuban political prisoner Roberto Martin-Perez heard from one of his jailers the day of his release in 1987, “tell your friend Felix Rodriguez his days are numbered. It’s one of Fidel's top priorities.”
But Felix Rodriguez has foiled all of Castro’s murder plots against him, and until last year served as the proud president of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association.
Ernesto "Che" Guevara was second-in-command, chief executioner, and chief KGB liaison for a regime that jailed and tortured more political prisoners as a percentage of population than Stalin's and executed more people (out of a population of 6.4 million) in its first three years in power than Hitler's executed (out of a population of 70 million) in its first six.
"The facts and figures are irrefutable. No one will any longer be able to claim ignorance or uncertainty about the criminal nature of Communism," wrote the New York Times (no less!) about The Black Book of Communism. This “irrefutable” study on Communism’s crimes was edited by the head of France’s National Centre for Scientific Research, Stephane Courtois (not exactly an embittered dispossessed Cuban exile), and translated into English by Harvard University Press (not exactly a subsidiary of the John Birch Society).
This impeccably high-brow scholarly study found that Castro and Guevara’s firing squads murdered between 15 and 17 thousand Cubans, the equivalent, given the U.S. population, of almost one million executions.
But enough about Cubans. Let’s come home for a second. Fortunately for Time magazine (headquartered in Manhattan) on Nov. 17, 1962 as the clock clicked down on a terror plot that would have possibly incinerated and entombed more people than Al Qaeda attack on 9/11, a man they vilify (J. Edgar Hoover) thwarted their “hero and icon” (Che Guevara).
Che Guevara headed Cuba’s “Foreign Liberation (i.e. terrorism) Dept.” at the time and his agents had targeted Macy’s, Gimbel’s, Bloomingdales, and Manhattan’s Grand Central Station with a dozen incendiary devices and 500 kilos of TNT. The holocaust was set for detonation the following week, on the day after Thanksgiving. Macy’s serves 50,000 shoppers on that one day. More details here.
Castro and Che planned their Manhattan holocaust just weeks after Nikita Khrushchev foiled their plans for an even bigger massacre during the Cuban Missile Crisis. “If the missiles had remained,” Che Guevara confided to The London Daily Worker the following month, “we would have used them against the very heart of the U.S., including (Time magazine headquarters) New York City.”
Che Guevara’s first decree when his “rebels” captured the town of Sancti Spiritus in central Cuba during the last days of the skirmishing against Batista's army outlawed alcohol, gambling and regulated relations between the sexes. Popular outcry and Fidel's sharp political sense made Ireland’s new hero grudgingly rescind his order.
"I have no home, no woman, no parents, no brothers and no friends," wrote this new hero of Ireland in his diaries. "My friends are friends only so long as they think as I do politically."
"Individualism must disappear!" thundered the Left's hero in a 1961 speech in Havana. Interestingly, the cheeky Ernesto Guevara's signature on his early correspondence read "Stalin II." In a famous speech in 1961 the “party-animal” Che Guevara denounced the very "spirit of rebellion" as "reprehensible." "Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates" commanded Guevara. "Instead they must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service!"
And woe to those youths "who stayed up late at night carousing and thus reported to work (government forced-labor) tardily." Youth, wrote Ernesto Guevara, "should learn to think and act as a mass." Those who “chose their own path" as in growing long hair and listening to Rock & Roll (Van Morrison, Jim Morrison for instance) were denounced as worthless "lumpen" and "delinquents." In a famous speech Che even vowed, "to make individualism disappear from Cuba! It is criminal to think of individuals!"
Tens of thousands of Cuban youths guilty of nothing more than trying to boogie to Light My Gloria, Gloria or Brown-Eyed Girl while tipping a pint learned that Che Guevara's admonitions were more than idle bombast.
By the mid 1960s the crime “digging” rock music or “effeminate” behavior got thousands of youths yanked off Cuba's streets and parks by secret police and dumped in prison camps with "Work Will Make Men Out of You" in bold letters above the gate and with machine gunners posted on the watchtowers. The initials for these camps were UMAP, not GULAG, but the conditions were quite similar.
Many opponents of the regime co-founded by Che Guevara qualify as the longest-suffering political prisoners in modern history, having suffered prison camps, forced labor and torture chambers for a period over THIRTY TIMES as long in Che Guevara’s prisons and torture chambers as Michael Collins and Jerry Adams spent in British jails and internment camps.
“Certainly, we execute!” Che Guevara boasted while addressing the hallowed halls of the UN General Assembly on Dec. 9, 1964 to the claps and cheers of that august body. “And we will continue executing as long as it is necessary! This is a war to the death against the Revolution’s enemies!”
The communist firing squads gleefully set in motion by Che Guevara in Cuba murdered OVER ONE THOUSAND TIMES as many Cuban anti-communist rebels as the British executed Irish rebels during the Easter Rising. The figure of 16,000 firing squad murders by the regime co-founded by Che Guevara, by the way, issues from theBlack Book of Communism, written by French scholars and published in English by Harvard University Press, (neither outfit exactly a bastion of those insufferable and loudmouthed “embittered Cuban exiles" with "an ax to grind!”)
One day before his death in Bolivia, Che Guevara—for the first time in his life—finally faced something properly describable as combat. So he ordered his guerrilla charges to give no quarter, to fight to their last breaths and to their last bullet. With his men doing exactly what he ordered (fighting and dying to the last bullet), a slightly wounded Che snuck away from the firefight and surrendered with fully loaded weapons while whimpering to his captors: “Don’t Shoot! I’m Che. I’m worth more to you alive than dead!” His Bolivian captors viewed the matter differently. In the following day, they adopted a policy that has since become a favorite among Americans who encounter (so-called) endangered species threatening their families or livestock on their property: “Shoot, shovel and shut-up.”
Justice has never been better served.
Guevara remains both a revered and reviled historical figure, polarized in the collective imagination in a multitude of biographies, memoirs, essays, documentaries, songs, and films. As a result of his perceived martyrdom, poetic invocations for class struggle, and desire to create the consciousness of a "new man" driven by moral rather than material incentives, he has evolved into a quintessential icon of various leftist-inspired movements. Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, while an Alberto Korda photograph of him entitled Guerrillero Heroico (shown), was cited by the Maryland Institute College of Art as "the most famous photograph in the world".