Thursday, May 31, 2007

Shedding some light on Che

One thing I have noticed every time I went to New Orleans is that there are posters and T-shirts with that famous Alberto Korda photograph of Che Guevara everywhere in the Vieux Carré. On my last trip there (about 5 months before Katrina) I asked the guy behind the counter at Rev. Zombie's Voodoo shop what the deal was with all the pictures of Che.

The answer that I received, delivered with a straight face and serious tone of voice, was that Che was beloved because he had fought for the freedom of New Orleans. What can you do when something so utterly stupid and obviously wrong is dropped on you with the matter of factness of an observation that it is going to be a hot day or that it looks like rain?

For those of you who don't know Ernesto "Che" Guevara was a communist revolutionary who worked with Fidel Castro in overthrowing the government of Cuba and establishing that island as a communist stronghold and Soviet client state just 90 miles from the US coast.

Among Che's accomplishments as a high ranking member of the Cuban government were his efforts directed at destroying any element of a free press or opposition political parties. His arrest, torture and sometimes murder of dissidents and, perhaps best of all, his rounding up and jailing (and again sometimes murdering) of homosexuals. The guy behind the counter at Rev. Zombie's looked like he was the type to have been a bit put off by that. But I guess that left-wing American gays are not put off by what happens to gays in other countries as long as those other countries are hostile to George W Bush.

All of this leads us to Humberto Fontova's new book Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him . Here is an exerpt from a review by David Forsmark on today's Front Page Magazine:

Basically, everything most people think they know about Che Guevara is wrong. Okay, maybe not everything, since Frontpage readers at least, who have seen Fontova’s work, are likely to include "bloodthirsty, Communist thug" in their description. But most of the details are wrong, as the story perpetuated by The New York Times, CBS News and Time are drawn from propaganda put out by the Castro organization, much of it made up from whole cloth — including everything Time said about him in its century-end profile.

In fact, Dorfman’s gushy ode to his vicious hero serves as a perfect outline for the myths of Che and the dose of reality Fontova deals to each of them.

Time: "(T)he story of the obscure Argentine doctor who abandoned his profession and his native land to pursue the emancipation of the poor…"

Fontova: There is no proof that Guevara ever actually earned a medical degree, much less had a profession to abandon. As we will see later, Guevara’s only effective military campaign was against poor campesinos in the Cuban countryside.

Time: "After a guerrilla campaign in which Guevara displayed such outrageous bravery and skill that he was named commandante, the insurgents entered Havana and launched what was to become the first and only victorious socialist revolution in the Americas."

Fontova: Che had a particular talent for being nowhere around when any skirmish broke out. In fact, many of the pitched battles trumpeted in The New York Times and other MSM outlets of the time never took place. In one battle that the NYT proclaimed deaths of over a thousand, Fontova writes convincingly that total casualties on both sides probably numbered around five. Talk about creative math.

Fontova shows that Che was responsible for more deaths of non-communist anti-Batista fighters than of soldiers fighting for the regime — most of whom were bribed to flee. After the revolution, Che oversaw not only the executions of tens of thousands of innocents, but he also was in charge of forcibly collectivizing thousands of small farms. In fact, Che Guevara conducted the longest counter-revolutionary campaign in the Americas, with a brutal 6-year war against Cuban peasant farmers.

Time: "Che the moral guru proclaiming that a New Man, no ego and all ferocious love for the other, had to be forcibly created out of the ruins of the old one."

Fontova: When mothers or wives came to plead for the life of their loved one, he would show his "ferocious love for the other" by picking up the phone and ordering that man or boy’s immediate execution in front of the sobbing woman.

As Fontova points out, the 14,000 executions by firing squad and other Cuban deaths attributed to the Castroites are dwarfed by the numbers killed by Stalin, Mao, Hitler and Pol Pot, but, as a percentage of the population, the Cuban communists are right up there with the other moral gurus who were also trying to create a "New Man."

Time: "Che the romantic mysteriously leaving the revolution to continue…, the struggle against oppression and tyranny."

Fontova: Che was run out of Cuba by Castro who tired of the competing cult of personality, and was a spectacular failure in Africa and South America where he rallied no one to his cause and was ignored-- or mocked—by guerillas on the ground there.

Time: "His execution in Vallegrande at the age of 39 only enhanced Guevara's mythical stature. That Christ-like figure laid out on a bed of death with his uncanny eyes almost about to open; those fearless last words ('Shoot, coward, you're only going to kill a man') somebody invented or reported;"

Fontova: "Invented," indeed. The only place Che’s defiant last words appear are in Cuban accounts. Every eyewitness tells a different tale — of a Che Guevara trying to ingratiate himself to every guard, officer or CIA agent at the scene, spinning the notion constantly that he would be "worth more alive."

Go read the rest then follow the link above and order a copy of the book. It is worth your time, but be aware when you read the customer reviews on's website. There are only a couple of negative reviews there now, but there is an organized effort by leftists to harm the sales of books which tell the truth about any aspect of the left or prominent leftists by flooding the website with bad reviews.

A good rule of thumb is that the more negative reviews any book written from a conservative perspective gets the better it is.

Do I believe that the moron at the voodoo shop will read this book and give himself a dope-slap and start using his Che T-shirts for cleaning rags? Nope, but the more people who know the truth the fewer of those stupid shirts they'll sell.