The Che Guevara Myth

His bearded, star- bereted photo has become an iconic image among Leninists and hater of capitalism and the United States. The resolve in his eyes are real enough, but he was not the man of the people that his votaries assume.

A physician by profession (In his day medicine and law were the only respectful professions in Latin America) the Argentine born Ernesto “Che” Guevara bore no love for family, commitment to his profession, or allegiance to any particular nation or culture. His attitude toward the masses was one of total contempt. Riding in the motorcade with Castro in celebration of the triumphant 26 of July Revolution, he regarded the welcoming crowds lining the streets of Havana Revolution as African rabble, and in his travels through Latin America before teaming up with Fidel in Mexico, he regarded the native Andean Indians as savages. (The moniker he gave himself, “Che,” is Argentine slang for “pal.” or “buddy”.)

As one of the sixteen survivors, along with Fidel and Fidel’s brother Raul, of the counter attack by government forces that lay waiting for them, El Che quickly devised a way of training new recruits. Unlike a well-organized armed force, the U.S. Marines, for example, where recruits are systematically trained in boot camps, the surviving rebels had to train their recruits on the field. This El Che did by trumping up a charge of treason against some dirt-poor famer or nerdy recruit, and then ordering the recruits in training to execute them, which, El Che figured, was sure to harden them for the struggle ahead.

El Che, moreover, had taken delight in watching the executions. Later through the window of his office overlooking the courtyard of the old Spanish fort La CabaƱa, he would spend hours watching executions, shades of the Nazi sadist Reinhard Heydrick.Years later, one of the members of the firing squads, a neighbor of mine in Havana, unable to bear the guilt, committed suicide.

Though he knew not a thing about banking, El Che also assumed the role of president of the national bank and nearly ruined the Cuban economy. Clearly, the internationalist non-Cuban Argentine, had become a thorn on the side of the nationalist leader Fidel Castro. Fidel was only too glad to get rid of El Che’s by financing his fanatical venture to save South America and in time the rest of the world.

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