Today the world's largest Che mural adorns Cuba's Ministry of the Interior, the
headquarters for Cuba's KGB- and STASI-trained secret police. Nothing could be more
"Iron" Mike Tyson used to end fights with his arms upraised in triumph. In 2002 he got a
huge Che tattoo on his torso, visited Cuba, and has been consistently and horribly
stomped in fight after fight ever since, a process perfectly mimicking the combat record
of his tattoo idol. Che was indeed proficient at smiting his enemies, Mike, thousands of
them, but only after they were bound, gagged and blindfolded – and I'm afraid the
National Boxing Federation won't allow this.
When the crowd of A-list hipsters and Beautiful People at the Sundance Film
Festival (which included everyone from Tipper and Al Gore to Sharon Stone,
Meryl Streep and Paris Hilton) exploded in a rapturous standing ovation for
Robert Redford's The Motorcycle Diaries, they were cheering a film glorifying a
man who jailed or exiled most of Cuba's best writers, poets and independent
filmmakers while converting Cuba's press and cinema–at Czech machine-
gunpoint–into propaganda agencies for a Stalinist regime.
Executive producer of the movie Robert Redford (who
always kicks off the film festival with a long dirge about
the importance of artistic freedom) was forced to screen
the film for Che's widow (who heads Cuba's Che
Guevara Studies Center) and Fidel Castro for their
approval before release. We can only imagine the
shrieks of outrage from the Sundance crowd about
"censorship!" and "selling out!" had, say, Robert
Ackerman required (and acquiesced in) Nancy Reagan's
approval to release HBO's The Reagans that same year.
Che groupies are many and varied. Christopher
Hitchens, for instance, marvels at Che's "untamable
defiance" and assures us in the same New York Times
article that "Che was no hypocrite."
The noted historian Benicio Del Toro, who will star as his hero in a Hollywood biopic due
next year, says that "Che was just one of those guys who walked the walk and talked the
talk. There's just something cool about people like that. The more I get to know Che, the
more I respect him."
More than his cruelty, megalomania or even his epic stupidity, what most
distinguished Ernesto "Che" Guevara from his peers was his sniveling
cowardice. His groupies can run off in a huff, slam their bedroom door and dive
headfirst into their beds sobbing and kicking and punching the pillows all they
want, but Che surrendered to the Bolivian Rangers voluntarily, from a safe
distance, and was captured physically sound and with a fully loaded pistol.
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 the last breath and to the last bullet.
A few hours later, his "untamable defiance," lack of hypocrisy and "walking of the walk"
all manifested themselves. With his men doing just what he ordered (fighting and dying
to the last bullet), a slightly wounded Che snuck away from the firefight and surrendered
with a full clip in his pistol, while whimpering to his captors: "Don't Shoot! I'm Che! I'm
worth more to you alive than dead!"
His Bolivian captors begged to differ.
...Che Guevara and 39
Years of Media Hype
Thirty-nine years ago this week, Ernesto "Che" Guevara
got a major dose of his own medicine. Without trial he
was declared a murderer, stood against a wall and shot.
Historically speaking, justice has rarely been better
served. If the saying "What goes around comes around"
ever fit, it's here.
"Executions?" Che Guevara exclaimed while addressing
the hallowed halls of the U.N. General Assembly on
December 9, 1964. "Certainly we execute!" he declared,
to the claps and cheers of that august body.
|Che Guevara and Fidel Castro
|Grammy Award winner
Carlos Santana proudly wears
his Che Guevera T-Shirt
"And we will CONTINUE executing as long as it is
necessary! This is a war to the DEATH against
the revolution's enemies!"
According to the Black Book of Communism,
those firing-squad executions had reached
around 10,000 by that time. Sloboban
Milosevic, by the way, went on trial for allegedly
ordering 8,000 executions. The charge against
him by the same U.N. that deliriously applauded
Che Guevara's proud proclamation was
"I don't need proof to execute a man,"
snapped Che to a judicial underling in 1959.
"I only need proof that it's necessary to
The "revolution's enemies" bound, gagged and
murdered by Che and his henchmen were among
the most enterprising and valiant fighters of the
20th century ranking alongside the Hungarian
Freedom Fighters. They fought just as valiantly,
as desperately – and, ultimately – just as
hopelessly. They fought to the last bullet and
usually to the death.
The few survivors live today in places like Miami
and New Jersey and qualify as the longest-
suffering political prisoners in modern history. But
you'll look for their stories on the History Channel
and PBS and in the New York Times, etc., in vain.
They fought the Left's premier pinup boys, you
see. So their heroism doesn't qualify as politically
On the contrary, Time magazine honors Che
Guevara among "The 100 Most Important People
of the Century." Not satisfied with such a measly
accolade they list him in the "Heroes and Icons"
section, alongside Anne Frank, Andrei Sakharov,
Rosa Parks and Mother Theresa. From here the
ironies only get richer.
The most popular version of the Che T-shirt and
poster, for instance, sports the slogan "Fight
Oppression" under his famous face. This is the
face of a man who co-founded a regime that
jailed more of its subjects than did Hitler's or
Stalin's and declared that "individualism must
disappear!" In 1959, with the help of Soviet GRU
agents, the man celebrated on that T-shirt
helped found, train and indoctrinate Cuba's
secret police. "Always interrogate your prisoners
at night," Che ordered his goons. "A man's
resistance is always lower at night."
|This eColumn appears
author and conservative
columnist who appears
often on leading talkshows
Humberto was born in
Havana, Cuba in 1954 and
emigrated with his family in
1961 to New Orleans. He
attended the University of
New Orleans, receiving a
B.A. in History in 1977.
His mentor at UNO was the
Dr. Stephen Ambrose.
In 1979, Humberto earned
an M.A. in History from
Tulane University. He then
embarked on a 15-year
career in sales and
marketing for Fortune 500
companies, namely Dun &
Bradstreet and its
He has been a free-lance
journalist since 1992. His
work has been published in
Sierra, Scuba Times, Men’s
Journal, Salt Water
Sportsman and others.
Not wanting to confine his
opinions to the printed
word only, Humberto is also
a bi-weekly guest on two
TalkAmerica radio shows
with Lowell Ponte and
You have undoubtely seen
"The O’Reilly Factor,"
"Hannity & Colmes,"
"The Lou Dobbs Report,"
"Kudlow & Kramer" and
His latest book, Exposing
the Real Che Guevara:
And the Useful Idiots Who
Idolize Him, pulls no
punches about the
revolutionary leader who
remains the darling of