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Argentinas Greatest Contribution to Mankind?

In his native Argentina, Che was recently voted the country’s greatest ever historical and political figure, yet.

With the 40th anniversary of the Worlds most beloved Stalinist death, you can bet there will be fighting words being thrown in all directions. Here’s a piece from The First Post.

When we look at the iconic photograph of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, his flowing hair stuffed under a rakish beret, soulful eyes fixed on a distant horizon, who exactly are we seeing? The romantic, poetry-loving, freedom fighter who lived and died for a noble cause? Or the bloodthirsty thug who directed summary executions puffing on a fat cigar?

The 40th anniversary on October 9 will provide further 071004frontpic.jpgproof of his undiminished ability to arouse passionate and diametrically opposed emotions – as well as selling shedloads of T-shirts and posters.

While the solemn remembrance ceremonies are being staged in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolucion, Cuban exiles in Miami’s Little Havana will be parading that famous image on banners proclaiming “murdering communist bastard”.

In his native Argentina, Che was recently voted the country’s greatest ever historical and political figure, yet his efforts to spread the gospel of socialist liberation elsewhere in Latin America and beyond are generally held to have failed dismally.

So where do we go to discover the ‘real’ Che? Most of the serious accounts of his life and times deliver profoundly conflicting judgments.

At one end of the scale there is the American author Jon Lee Anderson, whose hefty tome, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, was written with the co-operation of the Guevara family and unprecedented access to secret material in Cuban state archives Anderson does not whitewash Che, but insists that his extensive research failed to stand up any of the allegations that he was involved in the deaths of innocent people ‘cleansed’ as traitors to the revolution.

In stark contrast, the exiled Cuban writer Humberto Fontova maintains in The Real Che Guevara that Che first came to Castro’s notice as a willing executioner by shooting a prisoner after a fellow guerrilla had refused to do so. Fontova claims that in a letter to his father, Che confessed: “At that moment I discovered that I really liked killing.”071003nipcheguevara_4.jpg

Fontova cites another incident, recounted to him by an eyewitness, in which Che is said to have murdered a boy of 14 who had protested about the arrest and execution of his father. “We saw [him] unholstering his pistol. He put the barrel to the back of the boy’s neck and blasted. The shot almost decapitated the young lad.”

Then we have Jacobo Machover’s new revisionist biography, The Hidden Face of Che, which provides more chapter and verse about the brutal side of his nature but also argues that the swooning French intellectuals who headed for Cuba after Castro’s victory essentially created the legend of the dashing guerrilla comandante. To Jean-Paul Sartre, for instance, Che was “the most complete man of his epoch”.

Perhaps the last word should belong to Christopher Hitchens, ‘recovering Marxist’ and one-time admirer, who observes shrewdly that Che’s exalted status owed everything to his ultimate failure. “His story was one of defeat and isolation and that’s why it is so seductive. Had he lived, the myth of Che would long since have died.”

Source: The First Post

 

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