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Che Guevara… just another dead thug

Yet another attempt is underway to portray Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara as someone who was actually admirable, rather than someone who should be remembered, if at all, as an inept communist thug and mass murderer who deserves to be buried under the scrapheap of history.

Fortunately not everyone is fooled.

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26 comments to Che Guevara… just another dead thug

  • Attempts to paint cold-blooded murderer Ernesto Guevara as some sort of left-wing hero are revolting and shameful but potentially quite profitable, which makes me wonder to what extent the people behind ‘The Motorcyle Diaries’ have considered merchandising.

  • mike

    Yeah, but its a Norton! Can’t we just admire the bike and ignore the rider?

  • erwan

    come on..
    ok the movie is all about 23 year old Guevara’s gap year in south america. not about what the guy became some 5-10 years later.

    just enjoy it for what it is : the story of 2 lads travelling in argentina chile and peru on a motorbike. and no! seeing the damn thing doesn’t make you an accomplice for the events of 59 in Cuba. and if you really feel like avoiding the BS just leave 5 minutes before the end.

    it’s just a film for god’s sake, nevermind the revisionists.

  • I do wonder how much this movie is about Guevara being a wonderful Socialist icon and how much it is just about two guys riding around on a bike.

    If I decide to go and see the movie to find out I’ll be sure to live dangerously and wear the T-shirt (although at Glastonbury I didn’t get more than the odd quizzical look).

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly, no surprise that the film critic of the Daily Telegraph drooled over this film.

    He even came out with stuff such as “the peasants” were “the hero” who “shame our passivity”.

    Classic “mass hero” stuff – a concept that even Soviet cinema, eventually, rejected as silly.

    In reality “the peasants” informed on “Che” in Bolivia and helped send him to hell.

    In the flames he can discuss the beauty of colllectivism with Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and the rest of the gang. Castro will join them in due time.

  • Dunkah

    Before you go putting shooting off like half baked jack offs educate yourselves. He was not a murderer, a murderer is someone who kills without reason or with little reason. Che fought for a cause which he belived in so passionately that he was willing to take another mans life. I am not condoning every action this man made, at times he was very cold and calculating, but to look at Batistas regime against who he fought in Cuba, a dictator who ordered the murder of hundreds of innocents, who was a tyrant in every sense of the word, then isn’t that a cause worth killing for?
    But in all honesty Che’s nemesis wasn’t Bastista or the other Banana Republic dictators. They were just the monkeys. His beef was with the organgrinder – The USA.
    The USA had financial interest in South America with Salt Sugar and Bananas somewhere up there at the top of the list. The US’s bad habit was bullying nations leaders into running things the Yankee way. For instance, as this effects me personally, when Salvador Allende was elected as leader of Chile in 1970 he nationalised most of the countries resources, effectively taking them from the US industrialists and giving them back to the poverty stricken people. Incensed by that President Nixon ordered the CIA of finding a way to get rid of this trorn in the USA’s side. The result was a US funded coup d’etat by Military Leader General Pinochet. The US were happy campers and millions of chilleans suffered at the hands of this evil man for the best part of the next twenty years. A close friend was one of these who suffered. He was kidnapped and brutally tortured for over a year by Pinochets thugs.
    Although this particular example is post mortem as regards to Che, it is typical of life in South America around Che’s time and even now. As a more direct example look at the US backed takeover of the Guatemalan government which a pre revolutionary Che bore witness too and made a profound effect on his life.
    As for the ‘Red Threat’ aspect of his life, communism was an Ideal that he believed in. This doesnt make him evil, only to the weak minds who believed the Macarty scaremongering in the fifties. Communism is a wonderful idea that will never work as long as humans are humans. As long as there are power hungry madmen taking advantage or meglomania overtakes even the most passionate and pure of hearts it will never work. But because of these few Tyrants who’s crimes are many, this idea is forever tarnished.
    I’m not writing this to change your view on Che, I doubt I could. But you need to look at the reasons for peoples actions. Very few people do things on such a scale just for the sake of it.

  • Dunkah, I know all about Che Guevara so my views are not a product of a lack of education. I doubt you could tell me any significant detail about him that would change my reasoned view that he was an evil man whose passing should not be mourned. Anyone who kills other people for criminal ends is a murderer and imposing a collectivist police state (i.e. a Marxist regime) is a crime against everyone it is imposed on. So yes, to try impose that does indeed make him evil, for the same reason Himmler or Stalin or Mussolini or Pol Pot or Franco were evil for imposing a collectivist police state on people.

    So what if Batista was also ghastly? That is only relevant if Guevara was killing people to try and overthrow tyranny and replace it with liberty. What he was in fact doing was trying to overthrow tyranny and replace it with a different tyranny, a more systematic tyranny.

    Communism is not a ‘wonderful idea’ even in theory, it is an evil idea which denies a person the notion that they can be a moral being, the prerequisite for which is to be an individual separate from any collective.

  • Dunkah

    Like the so called Coalition are doing in Iraq right now? Overthrowing one evil regime to install the regieme of the American Capitalists?
    So Guevara was killing people… It was a WAR. People die in wars. He didn’t do it for financial gain, he didn’t do it for power. If so he would have remained treasurer for Cuba getting fat on riches and wouldn’t have ended up in Bolivia where he was murdered.
    The sad thing is in all this the US won. They marketed him making him something that he fought against all his adult life. A profit maker for the yankee government.

  • So Guevara was killing people… It was a WAR. People die in wars. He didn’t do it for financial gain, he didn’t do it for power.

    So Himmler was killing people… It was a WAR. People die in wars. He didn’t do it for financial gain, he didn’t do it for power…

    What exact is the difference? Himmler was clearly not killing people for money, he was killing them for reasons of racial collectivist ideology. Does that make Himmler admirable? Well, not to me.

    And if Guevara was not doing it for power, more exactly the power to forcebly to collectivise land, labour and capital, what exactly DO you think he was doing it for? Fun?

  • Steve

    Hey guys. I’ve been studying Che’s lives for quite some time now and the fact of the matter is that in a way you’re both right and you’re both wrong. Dunkah is right in terms of Che’s passionate responses towards the blatant American exploitation of Central and South America’s working class, especially the very controversial United Fruit Company accompanied by the infamous Dulles brothers in Washington. We cannot deny that the United States dragged their “Better dead than Red” foreign policies throughout the Americas carelessly and participating in coup after coup in order to maintain their political supremacy over the U.S.S.R.. Che was a typical Latin American looking for a way to put an end to the horrible injustices done directly by the Eisenhower administration. At the time, it was in fact fashionable for Latin Americans to participate in such a rebellious manner. However, in comparison to the latter, Che’s upbringing is not one that can shed much light on his political life. There are indications that he was in fact a daredevil and that he tended to live his life away from fancy bourgeois lifestyles. Though, it is important to acknowledge that his motivation was not so much propelled by his disdain of American imperialism as to his fulfillment of his adventurous character. In this sense Perry is absolutely correct in suspecting Che’s awfully altruistic contributions. We tend to feel that any person that follows such naive goals, i.e. Marxist ideological goals, must have a different agenda.
    Yet he was still a brave man. And he still deserves our political attention seeing as he was one of the most charismatic figures of the Marxist-Leninist tradition. And although he did in fact somewhat adhere to the infamous hedonic calculus in an attempt to establish a harmonious outcome, we cannot deny that out of ALL Latin American dictators(whether sponsored by U.S. or not), Che is the MOST altruistic and desired. In every aspect, i.e. political, social, and humanistic, Che completes the requirements of a new Pericles ready for the masses.
    Also, Perry, be careful when you compare political figures to one another. Himmler, as much as he may seem like Che, is in fact nothing like him. Both come from backgrounds that are quite brutally incommensurable from one another as well as follow different political philosophies that actually are in conflict (i.e. Hegel, Nietzsche, Clausewitz, Romantic philosophy, Enlightment, etc).
    And Dunkah, although Che was not in fact looking for a financial reward, his motives are still to this day controversial and with reason. Perhaps he did have a different agenda, one in which he would continue to aid states which needed revolutionary assistance and eventually become wanted by all. But, as I believe to be the case, I hardly think that he was looking for anything more than his picture in the paper.

  • Juana

    i have a question for you all… you are all white right? even if not in color surely in mind

  • snide

    Steve, if you expect anyone to actually wade through your comments, use some damn paragraph spacing!!!

  • Steve

    Sorry guys, I didn’t think paragraphing was a must here seeing as we’re just chatting informally.
    And to answer your question Juana, I’m actually Colombian. But I don’t think that has anything to do with what we’re discussing, does it? If so, then please explain. I’m interested.
    Anyway, I guess I was just trying to give my 2 cents here…you know in the spirit of this web site. But I guess people are more concerned about my physical features and my writting skills rather than my arguments (in which I may add that if you can’t read 31 1/2 lines then maybe you shouldn’t mention anything to anyone). I see now that this site is not for me, i.e. “The Samizdata people are a bunch of sinister and heavily armed globalist illuminati who seek to infect the entire world with the values of personal liberty and several property.”
    By the way, I’m being very sarcastic here. No harm done.
    Anyhow, it’s a good site. Good luck…

  • michannah


    searching for insight and in others views on che’s interesting and adventureous life and trying to live my life with an open mind and also not giving a damn what colour – race nor creed folks are and best of all, not even giving one hoot on how many paragraphs you place in a “blog”, please let me say that your words were not wasted. they were not only impressive, informed and fair regarding che and others, you were also fair in your dealings with Dunkah and Perry, you sound like an informed, well rounded and honest person. that in itself should be acknowledged.


  • Enrique Ruiz

    You know what,? Half my family is dead because of the che’s work in cuba. They were sent to firing squads not because they were with Batista but because they did not agree with the Che’s stupid revolution. You know Dunkah your one heck of pathetic moron who has only learned what little you know about world politics in college meeting or some get together of a bunch loosers who just want to look cool while they tear this country apart and blame for everything. Why dont you stop being a freeking social reject and get pathetic act together. And dont try to explain to me about the Che’s legacy because my family knows it all too well.

  • jon

    What about Ghandi? He led a peaceful revolution that was much more effective than Che’s attempts

  • jake smith

    you are a bunch of rightwinged assholes. You wouldnt know a thing about living in oppression and having to fight the powers that are all around you striving for revolution. Che represents this struggle for revolution. I believe that greorge bush is more of a mass murder than che could have ever been.

  • shawn

    Listen you are all right but look at everybody that has been in power and every single one is responsable for the death of many people it comes with power. What matters is the resons for fighting and boy did che have some resons you cant say everybody is wrong in liking him because its simply not true just look arround t shirts posters he has done a lot of lasting good aswell. People love the guy and here i see people discarding there respect and love for him this is wrong.
    And i also ask if you were put into that position of power with all that passion i would love to see how you would react dont forget the cia are killers to and you people in the us are aswell withe your death sentence you have killed more of your own people yet you dont understand why one idividual can do the same on a larger scale che wasnt power mad he was just a genuine guy with an aim in life to rid the world of injustice and aslong as tere are people beating his ideals down he will never achive this so he set out to do mission impossible and that is exactly what e got. Cant america face bieng wrong ever do they always have to kill sombody who stands up to the answer me tht?

  • Joe Ginarte

    I myself am a part of the first generation of Cubans in my family to be born here in the US. When I was 12 I was introduced to the historical figure “Che”. Without asking about who he was, people in my family had instilled in me the idea that Guevara was an evil man. I was repetitivly told by some in my family that he himself had shot counter-revolutionaries in firing squads. As I grew older I was exposed to biographies, glorifying this supposedly “evil” man, only to find that this was a man with a passion. Beginning with his travels through Latin America. He was able to see the social injustice in Latin America, even as a blue-blood. It was then that my perception of guevara began to change. I went on to read his essays and philosophies, reading commentaries and carefully weighed opinions on his beliefs. My new found interest in Che Guevara did not mean the image of the ruthless revolutionary who “wasn’t even Cuban” was gone, but its was changing. The man who savagely killed innocents kept emerging in my conscience as I began to sympathize with him. But as I developed my own opinion of him, I constantly changed my position. My grandmother on my fathers side is always telling me about her encounter with the comrade, how he saved a pregnate woman in the small village she lived in, in Cuba during the revolution. But even after telling me this story she doesn’t forget to add “but joe, don’t forget- he was a communist,” which is precisely how I ended up thinking of him. As heroic, passionate, and dedicated to the cause as he was, my relatives won’t stop drilling the same goddamn thing into my head “he was a killer.”But I respect the man. I have weighed the truthes. I can’t say im brave enough to walk into a family party wearing a che guevara t-shirt, because that would be a world of shit for me (some people in my family tend to misinterperate my respect for him, making the wrong connections, and coming to the conclusion that I am for communism, Fidel, and everthing else evil in the Cuban community. I am not for any of that. People have struggled too hard in my family, to free themselves and their family from Castro’s oppresive government, that it would be immoral to turn around and support his regime as a result of simply being misinformed.

  • Max Watson

    Well, I am in now way Cuban or concerned with this topic. But I would like to just interject my opinion regarding the rest of the forum goers. Mr. Ginarte makes a well written and well thought out contribution to your post, and nobody so much as responds. Well put Joe- I feel the same way.


  • Jake Smith: You are talking out of your rear end. Three of the people who write for this blog grew up under communism in Eastern Europe, so I think the people on Samizdata know a hell of a lot more about what it is to live under oppression that you do.

    Max Watson: This is not a forum, it is a blog. As a result, this article has been archived for months and THAT is probably why no one has replied. Pretty much the only way someone will find it now is via Google.

    Joe Ginarte: How does the fact a man is ‘passionate’ make him in ANY way more admirable if what he is passionate about is designed to lead to an evil end? As an anti-statist who dislikes both the collectivist-right and collectivist-left, I am well aware that most of Latin America were governed by repressive regimes who were broadly fascist in nature and that Guevara opposed them… but he did not attempt to replace them with individualist liberty but rather with a different form of collectivist tyranny. In short, supporting communism for fear of fascism is like suicide for fear of death. The price of Che’s ‘passion’ was the death of other people in pursuit of ends which were little better than what he was trying to overthrow.

  • ACE

    ya people dont know the reasons and wat he really means. he killed for the people isnt that wat everyone else does. Gorge Washington killed people to free “this great nation” so w kwat is so different?all you people are ignorant cant see the real thing.”“VIVA LA CHEVOLUCION”

  • Notorious

    Che was a murderer plain and simple! He fought to overthrow Cuba’s government and killed many Cubans along the way. Batista’s government was nothing in comparison to Castro’s. When Batista was in power there was free trade with the U.S., people had freedom and lived the way they wanted as long as they worked for it. the Cuban dollar at one point was worth more than the U.S. dollar meaning the economy in Cuba was good under Batista. Problem with all this was a buch of poor folks in Cuba at the time that complained and yes the government did nothing for them but Cuba was a great country and a very profitable one as long as you worked for it.
    Now we have some insurgent pricks, Castro and Che (Ernesto) Guevarra that want to implement Communism on a large scale in Cuba. What did they do? They recruited the poor folks that bitched about Batista and lied to the rest of the country. They eventually killed everyone who opposed them and took power. Now, over 40 years later what can we say about Cuba and it’s economy? NOTHING!! it’s complete crap. Poeple are starving, no money, and the economy is complete crap. Good going Che and Castro, thank you for destroying growing country and imposing a ass-backward communist goverment that destroyed Cuba!

  • Drew

    Actually, if you want to blame anyone for the decline of Cuba’s economy it is the US. Why was it that the Cuban dollar was so much higher than the American? O yeah, now I remember, Batista let in all the american industries to turn it into a paradise for American playboys. Especially during Prohibition I might add. Whorehouses, gambling, betting, horse-racing, and most importantly DRINKING. These were the things that allowed the Cuban dollar to thrive. Sound like the kind of thing you would like your country based on?

    Let us flash forward to this year shall we? First the ridiculous trad imbargo on Cuba. Quite useless to have that really, after all, we trade with China, and they are if anything, worse. There is now virtually now trade interaction between Cubans and Americans. Did you know that if we were to lift the trade embargo, in the FIRST YEAR ALONE there would be over 5 billion dollars made for each country, from agricultural trade alone? Just from agriculture. That’s not including any kind of buisness from the industrial sector, or tourism. That is ridiculous. How can you even say that Che screwed up the Cuban economy?

    As for Cuba being ‘complete crap’, you might want to look a little bit more into it before you make such bold statements. Yes, their are concentration camps where STD perons are placed, yes there is little free money floating around. Now, what are the benefits? A healthcare system that is second to none, one that is in fact superior to the United State’s healthcare. A nation that is totally self sustaining. It needs nothing from outside sources to keep its economy running. There are very few, if any other countries that can make that claim. Especially not the US. I’d give the US 2 weeks before it declared Canada a threat were we to become isolated, so that we could get to their oil reserves.

    Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a great lover of capitalism. I love democracy. I love freedom. Che did not necesarly represent any of those things, yet he was a great man. Yes, the executions were not good. Many people died, but that should teach one lesson. Don’t mess with those who have the guns and the respect of the masses. He did not desire to make a tyranny, he desired to eliminate inequality. He failed to this end, but the intentions were along the right path.

    Gandhi successfully managing to have a revolution peacefully? So a fractured India, with nuclear arms pointed at the fragments, is a peaceful revolution? Gandhi was wonderful, he did some great things, his methods saved tens of thousands of lives. He did not bring peace though, the world is not made up of Gandhis and thus the system he proposed will not work.

  • Drew, that is one of the daftest comments I have read in quite a while. Please add a link to some information proving that notion that Cuba’s healthcare system is so splendid compared to the US one. Also, what is so great about being ‘self sustaining’? Are you seriously trying to argue that cheaper and/or better good from another country are somehow a bad thing just because they come from another country? Also, you admit that Cuba is a murderous tyranny and yet seem to just shrug that off. Also, what makes you think it is axiomatic that ‘inequality’ is a bad thing?

  • Joe Ginarte

    damn it perry your so goddamn smart, im just a highschool student. you heard my story earlier. i think you have me convinced but these outher bloggers are pulling me right back to the other side of the fence. keep it up, i like hearing what you have to say