Friday, July 13, 2007

Stalin II

There is a misperception that [Ernesto "Che" Guevara] was a free spirit. He had cold Stalinist personality. He used to sign his early correspondence "Stalin II." He said early on that he saw the solution to all the world's problems behind (the) Iron Curtain. But this was not some hippie dippie Marxist, Guevara said in speech in 1962 that he regarded the very spirit of rebellion as anti-revolutionary. Figure that out, he said individualism must disappear in Cuba. If you tried to do your own thing under his regime you wound up in a prison camp.
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.
He had an arrogant nature. I interviewed people who visited him and tried to save their sons from firing squad executions without trial. He liked to toy with them. He liked to pick up the phone in front of weeping mothers and bark out, "Execute the Fernandez boy right now!"

He was clinically a sadist. Fidel, you could call a psychopath. Murders didn't affect him one way or another. For him, it was a utilitarian slaughter to consolidate his one-man rule.

Che, from all the people I talked to, relished the slaughter. He had a section of a wall knocked out of his second story office so he could watch his beloved firing squads at work.

…Alan Colmes of "Hannity and Colmes" once asked me, "Why are these stories coming out now as opposed to 20 years ago? All of a sudden, you discover all this horrible information on Che."

I said, "No, Alan, people have been talking about this since 1959, but it never made it past the mainstream media filter." That monopoly is over, so our side can tell its story to middle America. I like to think this book is an example of that.

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