On Friday November 21st, while strolling through Central Park's Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Commentary Magazine's online editor Abe Greenwald noticed a statue and did a double take. "Is that...Che Guevara?"
Indeed! There was no mistaking it: a statue of "El Che" by German artist, Christian Jankowski. Upon investigating the matter, Abe Greenwald learned that, "the sculpture is not intended to depict Che Guevara," but rather a street performer from Barcelona's Las Ramblas who idolizes Che Guevara and makes a living mimimg him. "Which I'm sure makes all the difference in the world to the families of Che's victims," Mr Greenwald wisely adds. " There's no mistaking who that statue depicts."
Most New Yorkers seem unaware that but for the grace of God thousands of them would have been Che's victims too.
"If the missiles had remained (in Cuba),We would have used them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York City. The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims."
- Ernesto 'Che" Guevara, November 1962.
Imagine a monument to Hideki Tojo at the Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor. Imagine one to Luftwaffe Chief, Herman Goering in London's Hyde Park. Heck, imagine one to Osama bin Laden in New York. In the fall of 1962 only Khrushchev's prudence and the FBI's competence saved New York from a Che-instigated murder toll that would have dwarfed Pearl Harbor's, London's during the Blitz , and 9/11's -- combined. The planning and will for the fiery mass-murder of thousands of New Yorkers were certainly there, only the means were foiled at the last minute. Morally speaking, this leaves the man honored in Central Park's Doris C. Freedman Plaza (from Nov. 20th 2008 till May 2009) culpable of crimes bin Laden envisions only in his sweetest dreams.
"The U.S. is the great enemy of mankind!" raved Ernesto "Che" Guevara in 1961. "Against those hyenas there is no option but extermination. We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies' very home, to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we'll destroy him! We must keep our hatred against them [the U.S.] alive and fan it to paroxysms!"
Compared to Che Guevara, Ahmadinejad sounds like the Dalai Lama. After his 'whoopin 'hollerin reception at the U.N.'s General Assembly in December 1964, New York society's reception for Che Guevara -- with cocktail parties at "Bobo" Rockefeller's Manhattan suite and softball interview on Meet the Press -- shamed the sorry treatment accorded Ahmadinejad on his visit last year. If only Ahmadinejad had planned to incinerate his hosts (then boasted about it) he might have gotten a much warmer reception in New York. 40 years later he might even get a statue.
On Nov. 17, 1962, J. Edgar Hoover's FBI discovered that Che Guevara's bombast had substance. They infiltrated and cracked a plot by Cuban agents that targeted Macy's, Gimbel's, Bloomingdale's and Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal with a dozen incendiary devices and 500 kilos of TNT. The holocaust was set to go off the following week, on the day after Thanksgiving. Che Guevara was the head of Cuba's "Foreign Liberation Department" at the time.
A little perspective: for their March 2004 Madrid subway blasts, all 10 of them, that killed and maimed almost 2000 people, AL-Qaida used a grand total of 100 kilos of TNT. Castro and Che's agents planned to set off five times that explosive power in the three biggest department stores on earth, all packed to suffocation and pulsing with holiday cheer on the year's biggest shopping day. Thousands of New Yorkers, including women and children, actually -- given the date and targets -- probably mostly women and children, were to be incinerated and entombed.
Cuba's agents for this Manhattan Thanksgiving bomb plot were members of the Cuban mission to the United Nations working in concert with members of the Fair Play For Cuba Committee, an outfit that became much better known a year later when member Lee Harvey Oswald really racked up some headlines.
Incidentally, at the time of the Manhattan terror plot, the Fair Play For Cuba Committee also included among its members, CBS correspondent Robert Taber, (an early version of Dan Rather who conducted Castro's first network television soft-soaping on Aug. 30, 1957) along with The Nation magazine co-owner Alan Sagner. In 1996 President Clinton appointed the obviously unbiased Alan Sagner head of the head of the scrupulously even-handed Corporation for Public Broadcasting, at a time the FBI had long outed The Fair Play for Cuba Committee as a Castro-funded front group.
Oddly, Alan Sagner, even with his impeccable Clintonista and Castroite pedigree, remains unrecruited by Obama? But it's early yet. Give him time.
Castro and Che planned their Manhattan holocaust short weeks after Nikita Khrushchev had foiled their plans for an even bigger one. "Say hello to my little friends!" they dreamt of yelling at the Yankee "hyenas" in October of 1962, right before the mushroom clouds. But for the prudence of the Butcher of Budapest (Nikita Khrushchev) they might have pulled it off. Guevara's quote at the head of this article is ample proof. Che thought he was speaking off-the-record to Sam Russell of Britain's Daily Worker's at the time.
Despite the diligent work of Camelot court scribes and their ever-eager acolytes in the MSM, publishing and Hollywood, Nikita Khrushchev himself makes hash of their Camelot boosterism. The Butcher of Budapest admitted that Fidel and Che's genocidal fantasy was a much bigger factor in his decision to yank the missiles from Cuba than Kennedy's utterly bogus bluster, threats and "blockade," during those famous "Thirteen Days."
But don't misinterpret Che Guevara's bluster with actual competence, much less courage. His stock in trade was the mass-murder of defenseless men and boys -- bound and gagged is how he demanded his victims. On Oct. 8 1967, upon finally encountering armed and determined enemies, Che quickly dropped his fully-loaded weapons and whimpered: "Don't Shoot! I'm Che! I'm worth more to you alive than dead!"
Che Guevara's regime also shattered, through executions, jailings, mass larceny and exile, virtually every family on the island of Cuba.
Many opponents of the Cuban regime qualify as the longest-suffering political prisoners in modern history, having suffered prison camps, forced labor and torture chambers for a period three times as long in Che Guevara's Gulag as Alexander Solzhenytzin suffered in Stalin's Gulag. But please, please, please don't bother looking for any History Channel, NPR, or 20/20 interviews with these heroes. They were victims of the left's premier poster boys, you see.
The regime Che Guevara co-founded stole the savings and property of 6.4 million citizens, made refugees of 20 percent of the population from a nation formerly deluged with immigrants and whose citizens had achieved a higher standard of living than those residing in half of Europe.
Under Che Guevara's rule "change," indeed came to Cuba.
"Those Americans," snickered Brazilian president Janio Quadros in 1961 as he watched Castro and Che make monkeys of Camelot by setting up a Soviet regime 90 miles from U.S. shores, "are just like women. They have a masochistic streak. The more you slap them around, the more you get out of them." (Ladies please! I'm quoting a famously eccentric and long-dead Brazilian President. The sentiment is not mine!)
Quadros mistook Camelot's "Best and Brightest" for Americans in general. But he certainly nailed New York's Council for the Arts and the Bloomberg team. Had the wishes of the man commemorated in that Central Park statue prevailed, Central Park itself might still be radioactive, and the charred remains of many Central Park frolickers (not to mention Doris C Freedman, many members of the New York Arts Council, and perhaps Michael Bloomberg himself) would all fit in a milk carton.
Photo credit: Jose Reyes of Cubanology.com.