Che Was a Murderous Psychopath, Not a Revolutionary Hero
Yet 50 years after his execution, he's still a beloved icon of leftists everywhere.
An inquisitive mind would be well justified in contemplating what it is about Democrats and the progressive Left that inspires in them such love and adoration for murderous tyrants, most especially those of the socialist/communist variety.
Democrat icon Franklin D. Roosevelt was a great admirer of Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, calling him an “admirable” man, declaring himself “deeply impressed by what he has accomplished.” The feeling was mutual, with Mussolini writing a glowing review of FDR’s 1933 book “Looking Forward,” praising Roosevelt’s New Deal policies that so closely resembled his own fascist policies — and, by the way, prolonged the Great Depression.
American newspapers dominated by progressives routinely praised Adolf Hitler, initially dismissing concerns over his brutal totalitarianism until they could no longer be ignored or hidden. The New York Times, the paper of record for America’s progressives, has a long history of praising mass murderers. Times reporter Walter Duranty won a Pulitzer for his work in covering up the atrocities of Russian dictator Josef Stalin, who slaughtered tens of millions of his own people. Just recently, another Times reporters praised Mao Zedong for advancing a little bit of feminism.
Yet no leftist figure has achieved such sustained pop culture icon status with the American Left as Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the Argentinian doctor-turned-guerilla fighter whose face has long adorned the T-shirts of millions of hippies and clueless college students across the land. Monday was the 50th anniversary of his execution.
The mythical Che was a freedom fighter who led revolutionary soldiers in battle against their oppressors in poverty-stricken nations around the world, from Cuba to Congo to Bolivia.
The real-life Che was a murderous psychopath with a lust for torture and killing. After aiding Fidel Castro in Cuba in the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista’s regime, Castro appointed Guevara as his finance minister, and he soon decimated the Cuban economy through his embrace of socialist policies and his own economic ignorance.
Guevara was also placed in charge of the infamous La Cabana prison in Havana, where he oversaw an assembly line of torture and murder. After perfunctory arrests and interrogations, but without trial, Che’s firing squads lined up thousands of Cuban peasants — men, women, and children alike — against the prison walls and executed them as enemies of the state.
Progressives often claim that, though his brutality may have occasionally been a bit excessive, the Cuban people still adored Guevara. Well, as foreign affairs journalist Michael J. Totten exposed, “Cuba is a police state and Che was its co-founder. Cubans ‘love’ him the same way Romanians ‘loved’ Nicolae Ceausescu and East Germans ‘loved’ Berlin Wall architect Erich Honecker. You know what happens to Cubans who display open hatred of Che? They get arrested. When he was still alive, they were executed or herded into slave-labor camps. So yeah, everyone ‘loves’ him. It’s required by law. Woe to those who disobey State Security.”
Somehow American progressives manage to idolize Guevara despite the fact that he was Castro’s instrument of brutal oppression upon Cuba’s peasants, despite the fact that he crushed free speech, and despite the fact that he imprisoned and tortured homosexuals without mercy.
In contrast to the military success he saw in Cuba under Castro, when Guevara fled Cuba and attempted to lead insurgent rebellions around the world, he proved to be incompetent. That incompetence eventually led to his own death in Bolivia.
Though Che came to Bolivia to lead yet another revolution, there is not a single documented example of a Bolivian peasant joining his army. The secret to that failure likely lies with peasants like Irma Rosales, a storekeeper who met Guevara shortly after his capture, and who later told of how “the guerrillas hit the men and raped their wives, took things, and for that reason, no one waited for them to come.”
Rather than being seen as a liberating hero, many Bolivians correctly saw him as a tyrannical interloper. Certainly that was the case with the mayor of La Higuera, the small town where Guevara was hunted down, captured and shot to death. It was the mayor who called the authorities to reveal that Guevara was hiding in their little town.
It is a testament to the success of progressive historical revisionism rampant in our schools that hordes of American “progressives” proudly wear shirts emblazoned with the visage of a man who was rabidly opposed to so many of the principles and beliefs they claim to hold dear. They see Che as a revolutionary who fought for the poor and downtrodden, rather than what he was — a psychotic tyrant who reveled in torture and bloodshed, crushed free speech and slaughtered his political opponents, real or imagined. These American Che sycophants are what Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin called “useful idiots.”
Rather than speaking truth to power, Che was the power that ruthlessly silenced truth. In the end, he was a coward, pleading for his life. As one of his captors recalled, when Che surrendered, he called out, “I am Che Guevara, and I’m worth more to you alive than dead.” He was executed shortly after that.
It is also with no small amount of irony that we can note that Che, the icon of socialist revolution throughout the world, has generated untold riches for those who peddle capitalist merchandise containing his image.
Useful idiots indeed.