Che at the Marches

By Humberto Fontova

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Che was everywhere on May Day. The mainstream media showed us something akin to a 4th of July picnic by Okies from Muskogee. Bloggers didn’t let them get away with it. They pulled a quick end-run around the mainstream media juggernaut and showed us what was really going on. Thus we saw the Mexican tricolor flapping everywhere. Thus we saw Ernesto “Che” Guevara scowling from countless banners, t-shirts and placards. He appeared as the movement’s spiritual leader.

Fine, let’s survey his record regarding minorities, anti-government demonstrators and labor rights. First off, Che didn’t think much of Mexicans. Perhaps our Senatorial magnificoes who voted for amnesty last week should stifle all the pious gurgling about “hard-working migrants seeking to better their lives” blah..blah and simply quote Che himself while referring to the nationality mostly waving those Che placards and banners as: “a band of illiterate Indians.”

May Day marchers may be surprised to learn that Che had a disdain for Mexicans and Blacks, among others. Hipsters probably don’t know his declaration that “Individualism must disappear!”

In 1956 while residing in Mexico and training with the Castro brothers for their “invasion” of Cuba, Che Guevara sneered at his hosts in those exact words. So recalls one of his military trainers, the Cuban, Miguel Sanchez. Wonder if “Chicano activists” know this? Probably not. They were too busy waving Che banners at the marches.

Che also delighted in belittling blacks. “The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving,” that’s Che himself in his celebrated Motorcycle Diaries. Can’t imagine how Robert Redford omitted this from his charming movie.

Sanchez recalls how Che constantly tormented the black Cuban rebel, Juan Almedia. “Almedia would get furious!” says Sanchez. “So finally I told him: look Juan, if Che keeps calling you “el negrito,” turn around and call him “El Chancho” (“The Pig”; among the bourgeois debauchments most disdained by Ernesto Guevara were baths.) Sanchez reveals all this in the fascinating documentary “Che; Anatomia de un Mito.”

Wonder if Jesse Jackson knows this? Probably not. He was too busy bellowing “VIVA CHE!” while in Havana in 1984.

Never lacking in a sadistic sense of humor, a few years back Castro appointed Juan “el negrito” Almedia as the head of Cuba’s “Commission to Perpetuate the Memory of Commander Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.” This commission offers dedicated assistance to all visiting and “scholarly” Che Biographers. Yet somehow, none of the resulting Che biographies seem to perpetuate any memory of Che’s insults to Juan Almeida.

In his diaries Che also referred to Bolivian villagers as “animalitos” (little animals). Wonder if Evo Morales has read them? Probably not. He’s been too busy ribbon-cutting Che monuments in every Bolivian village.

Funnier still, the last immigrant march involved Che-shirt wearing migrants playing hookie from work. Fine, let’s look at their idol’s view on the matter. When Che became Cuba’s Minister of Industries in 1961 (and promptly wrecked Cuba’s Industries), among the most serious “crimes against revolutionary morals” was “laziness.” “In a collectivist society, where man works for society,” Che explained in Cuba’s official newspaper Revolucion, “loafing must be considered a crime, just like robbery! Our struggle against loafers, absenteeism and parasitism has reached tremendous proportions!”

As evidenced by the tens of thousands crammed into Cuba’s prison camps at the time. Che himself christened the first and most notorious of them at Guanacahibes, Cuba’s version of Siberia, but featuring broiling heat rather than cold. These camps were crammed to suffocation when Che discovered that – hold on to your Che-shirts, Carlos Santana and Johnny Depp! Hold on to your Che beret, Madonna! – people prefer working for wages rather than for free!

“Che is not only an intellectual – but the most complete human being of our time!” hailed a smitten Jean Paul Sartre in 1961. Yet Che’s towering intellect was completely confounded by this astounding revelation. Alas, his “new man” was going to take a little doing. The result was hundreds of thousands of Cubans crammed into concentration camps and an economy formerly stronger than half of Europe’s nations, crumpled into a smoldering ash heap.

Wonder if AFL-CIO “activists” know this? Probably not. They were too busy erecting Che billboards during May Day.

The Soviets ended up pumping the equivalent of eight Marshall Plans into Cuba. And Cuba was not a war-ravaged continent of 300 million in 1960. It was a nation of 6.5 million whose citizens formerly earned more than Taiwan’s, Japan’s and Spain’s. The Soviet’s largesse resulted in Cuba’s living standard repelling Haitians even 40 years later. This defies – not just the laws of economics – but the laws of physics. The results of LBJ’s “War On Poverty” seem spectacular in comparison. Maybe Jack Nicholson’s right? Maybe Castro’s some kind of “genius” after all?

In the mid 1930’s Stalin issued a decree “against individuals who refuse to participate in collective effort and leading an antisocial and parasitic life.” (I.e., people who resist slavery.) Siberia’s GULAG was soon flooded with victims. Che must have taken note. He emulated the procedure perfectly and the barbed wire, machine gun towers and guard dogs at Guanacahibibes took care of the resulting flood of Cuban “individualists” and “antisocial miscreants,” as their criminal charges read.

“Individualism must disappear!” thundered this t-shirt idol of “do-your-own-thing” Bohemians in a 1961 speech in Havana. Interestingly, the cheeky Ernesto Guevara’s signature on his early correspondence read: “Stalin II” ###

May 29, 2006

Humberto Fontova is the author of Fidel; Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant, described as “absolutely devastating. An enlightening read you’ll never forget.” By David Limbaugh. Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart says, “Humberto Fontova has done a great service to all those who wish to discover the truth about the only totalitarian dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere.”

All contents © 2006 by Gene Mahoney