Robert Redford produced a movie about Che Guevara called “The Motorcycle Diaries.” It was based on Che’s real diaries, no doubt modified by the Cuban government, but what disappoints me greatly about Redford is that he wasn’t honest enough to include some very revealing passages from that diary in his film.
Intellectual honesty calls for showing the dark side of the person you admire, if you are doing a biopic.
Che said “a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.” Che did not have time for “archaic bourgeois details” like judicial evidence. He declared that “individualism must disappear”. He ordered the deaths of many people who disagreed with Marxism.
An estimated 80,000 Cubans, trying to get away by boat or raft from the socialist paradise of Cuba, died of thirst, exposure, or drowning, or were ripped apart by sharks.
Nonetheless Time magazine felt Che was worth of being placed next to Mother Teresa.
A few more juicy examples:
The actress and U.N. humanitarian award winner Angelina Jolie has a tatoo of Che on her body in an undisclosed location.
The model Giselle Bundchen walked a fashion walk displaying a scanty outfit with mini-Che pictures all over it.
The singer Madonna has a Che outfit.
Al Gore – who almost became our president – and his wife Tipper stood in rapturous ovation for Redford’s movie. This prompted Humberto Fontova, from whose book I collected all this, to ask: do the Gores know that Che jailed Cuba’s best filmmakers, poets, etc and transformed Cuban cinema into a propaganda machine?
Does Jesse Jackson, who wrote a book against capital punishment, know that it was incongruous with his beliefs to shout “Long Live Che!” to a crowd at the University of Havana? (Che’s firing squads were by definition implementing capital punishment, and created many orphans, widows, and widowers).
Before Che and the Castros took power, Cuba was a magnet for immigrants. It had a higher per-capita income than Japan and Austria.
Now even the impoverished citizens of Haiti would not dream of sailing toward the socialist paradise of Cuba.
Some more examples?
Burlington put out a line of infant wear bearing Che’s face. And the famous picture of Che adorns T-shirts, posters, watches, skis, surfboards, baseball caps, etc.
What is Humberto Fontova’s explanation for all this passion for a Marxist ideologue and mass executioner?
He said “Ignorance of course, accounts for much Che idolatry. But so do mendacity and wishful thinking, all of it booted – covertly and overtly – by reflexive anti-Americanism.”
I think that there is a class of people who are not bad people, but who don’t see why the wealth should not be distributed to uplift the poor, and pay for all sorts of social goods, and they admire a man who traveled with his friend on a motorcycle, observing the plight of the poor, and then resolved to bring about a fairer system in Cuba.
But why do these people ignore some very inconvenient facts?
You can respect people who have attitudes that are different from your own, as long as they are fundamentally honest. But I don’t think these people are honest even with themselves. They see what they want to see, and miss what they want to miss.
Is there something romantic about Che? The spirit of rebellion? The beret? Is there an alienated side to all these celebrities that resonates with something dark and evil?
Cuban agents in 1962 were prevented by the FBI from putting five hundred kilos of TNT in New York city at: Grand Central Terminal, Macy’s, Gimbel’s, and Bloomingdales. In contrast, remember that the Muslim terrorists who bombed the Madrid (Spain) subways and killed and maimed almost 2000 people used only one hundred kilos. Imagine five times that explosive power in the three biggest department stores on earth, all packed to suffocation on the year’s biggest shopping day.
Previous to this plot, Che had been in New York for eight days, but could barely accommodate all the Beautiful People jostling to meet him.
You might think that Che was ungrateful for all the hospitality and adoration, and that this plot was inexplicable and an anomaly, or even a right-wing lie – but then again – maybe you need to study the psychology of evil. Totalitarian ideologues flew airplanes into high-rise buildings in New York not so long ago.
As Che strode toward the UN, wearing his trench coat and beret with the red star, a young woman raced down Forty Third street. A large knife flashed in her hand. “Arriba” she shouted, as she headed for Che. She was intercepted and her murder attempt prevented by New York City police who found out that her name was Gladys Perez and she had been tortured in Castro’s jails. After being caught, Gladys was sent off for “mental observation”.
Che Guevara, on the other hand, was feted by New York High Society. Who really needed “mental observation”?
If you dance with the devil, you become an accessory to more evil than you can imagine.
Exposing the Real Che Guevara – Humberto Fontova (2007)
Postscript: A few days after this post of mine, Mr. Fontova alerted people that a Cuban newspaper came out with the following: “Instead of his proper name, wherever the words Humberto Fontova appear should be the terms: “SWINE! TRAITOR!…Fontova’s books and columns are nothing but scandalous libels against our Revolution’s founders, Fidel and Che.”