September 26, 2007


The Real Che Was No T-Shirt Idol, As Cuban-American Author Finds (INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY, 7/10/2007)

Cuban-American author Humberto Fontova researched the man behind the image, exploring why pop culture seems so enamored of Che Guevara. Speaking to dozens of Cubans who knew and fought with Guevara (1928-1967), Fontova pieced together a very different picture of Guevara for his book, "Exposing The Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him."

We spoke with Fontova about the real Che, one of history's most undeservedly idolized mass murderers. [...]

IBD: You mention that the regime imprisoned people. What kinds of figures are you talking about?

Fontova: Cuba in 1961 had 6.3 million people. According to Freedom House, 500,000 Cubans have passed through Cuba's prison systems, proportionately more than went through Stalin's Gulag. At one time in 1961, 350,000 Cubans (were) jailed for political crimes and 1 out of 18 Cubans was a political prisoner. These were people who were overheard talking badly against regime. It's very difficult for people to visualize what a totalitarian regime is — after all, doesn't Latin America always have dictatorship?. Yeah, but Latin America does not have totalitarian Stalinist dictatorships, except in Cuba.

IBD: How did Che create this?

Fontova: It wasn't two weeks after Castro entered Havana that Soviet agents entered. Che was the main conduit with Soviet intelligence agencies.

The Cuban regime executed more people proportionately in its first three years in power than Hitler did in six. Think about that execution rate and then think about that slogan associated with Che — "resist oppression." The ironies are so rich, comparing what Cuban-Americans read and what they experienced.

IBD: Guevara bragged from the podium of the United Nations that "we do executions."

Fontova: And he said "we will continue to do executions" in 1964. According to the Black Book of Communism, published in Paris, 14,000 men and boys were executed in Cuba by that stage, that would be the equivalent of 3 million executions in the U.S., and yet that man who carried them out was hailed by Jesse Jackson, who wrote a book condemning capital punishment.

IBD: Speaking of communist chic, Cameron Diaz got into trouble for toting a Mao bag in Peru, where people knew Maoist terror.

Fontova: But you will notice that Cameron Diaz apologized, so I attribute 80% of the Che paraphernalia seen on people to ignorance. Especially when I am in a generous mood. I hate to think people are that dumb. With ignorance, it's different, they just don't know.

Podcast of Interview

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 26, 2007 7:54 AM
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