An LA Times Love Letter To Che Guevara

Posted By: 'Okie' | 9:32 am — 10/9/2007 | 3 Comments See comments below:

Che caught at last

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the execution of Ernesto “Che” Guevara in an adobe schoolhouse in La Higuera, Bolivia the Los Angeles Times went all out yesterday with another Column One love letter to another socialist icon shown above back in 1967 about to get his just deserts.

It was a long fight, but the Cubans have finally conquered this forlorn Andean hamlet, four decades after Ernesto “Che” Guevara was executed in the adobe schoolhouse here.

Cuban physicians provide healthcare, Cuban educators oversee literacy classes, and the Cuban-donated library features Che-as-superhero comic books. A monumental bust of the beret-topped revolutionary who helped Fidel Castro seize power in Cuba dominates the central plaza.

“Great men like Che never die,” said Ubanis Ramirez, one of hundreds of Cuban doctors and teachers imported by leftist Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose office features a likeness of Guevara crafted from coca leaves. “His lesson is with us always.”

Sympathizers from across the globe will make the trek to this remote corner of Bolivia this week to mark the 40th anniversary of the capture and killing of Guevara, militant leftist icon and global brand, the radical chic face adorning countless T-shirts, posters, album covers and tattoos.

Today, the ideological legacy of this peripatetic militant may loom larger than ever in Latin America, abetted by the election of a “Pink Tide” of leftist governments from Nicaragua to Argentina. Socialism is in, the Cubans are on the march, and Che is the defiant embodiment of it all.

I don’t know about you, but if I was writing a story on “Che” I might want to mention somewhere near the beginning of the piece that he was a sociopath-assassin — but that’s just me. Let’s count how many paragraphs into the LAT piece we get before that come up, if it ever does. One, two, three . . . ah, here it is, kinda — fourteen!

Guevara, a physician with no formal military training, was also something else, critics say: prolific executioner, dogmatic totalitarian and co-designer of the Cuban police state and indoctrination apparatus.

“Critics say” . . . but not I guess Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer? How else to read that paragraph? And that my friends, is the one and only mention of the atrocities committed by this man. McDonnell ends with this:

Ernesto Guevara, saint to some, devil to others, bohemian, adventurer and implacable foe of capitalism, was dead. And the myth of the immortal Che was born.

Well, we can’t argue with the fact that “Che” is immortalized across leftist culture planet wide, with his likeness on berets, t-shirts, posters, beer mugs and the like — dare say even tattooed onto derrières all across the land. However, a major metropolitan newspaper like the LAT doesn’t have to genuflect to a 40 year-old dead Communist now, does it? Here’s how it should have been done — a Paul Bergman article from Slate in 2004 upon the release of the “Che” love-letter-film Motorcycle Diaries.

The cult of Ernesto Che Guevara is an episode in the moral callousness of our time. Che was a totalitarian. He achieved nothing but disaster. Many of the early leaders of the Cuban Revolution favored a democratic or democratic-socialist direction for the new Cuba. But Che was a mainstay of the hardline pro-Soviet faction, and his faction won. Che presided over the Cuban Revolution’s first firing squads. He founded Cuba’s “labor camp” system—the system that was eventually employed to incarcerate gays, dissidents, and AIDS victims. To get himself killed, and to get a lot of other people killed, was central to Che’s imagination. In the famous essay in which he issued his ringing call for “two, three, many Vietnams,” he also spoke about martyrdom and managed to compose a number of chilling phrases: “Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become …”— and so on. He was killed in Bolivia in 1967, leading a guerrilla movement that had failed to enlist a single Bolivian peasant. And yet he succeeded in inspiring tens of thousands of middle class Latin-Americans to exit the universities and organize guerrilla insurgencies of their own. And these insurgencies likewise accomplished nothing, except to bring about the death of hundreds of thousands, and to set back the cause of Latin-American democracy—a tragedy on the hugest scale.

We’ll make no progress against the likes of Hugo Chavez and others in Latin America if as a culture we celebrate and worship the likes of “Che” Guevara. He, and everything he stood for, should be reviled. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see the fate of our LAT’s Mr. McDonnell if he had to ply his trade in a “Che” created environment? Doubt that would be much to his fancy . . .

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 9th, 2007 at 9:32 am and is filed under A Future For Mankind?, Media Bias, Media Madness. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.  |  Print This Post Print This Post  |  Email This Post Email This Post

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