Fifty years without Che
Che Guevara, the fellow on all those t-shirts at the left-wing rallies, was captured and executed 50 years ago this week:
Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, better known to the world as "Che" Guevara, is executed by Bolivian armed forces on this day in 1967.
Born in Argentina, Guevara was a professional revolutionary who became involved in the Guatemalan revolution of the 1950s. It was during this time that he discovered Marxism and became a fervent convert to the philosophy. Following the overthrow of the Guatemalan government by a U.S.-sponsored coup in 1954, Guevara traveled to Mexico where he joined up with Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro.
In 1956, Castro, Guevara, and a small band of supporters landed in Cuba intent on overthrowing its government. When the initial attack did not succeed, Che joined Castro and the survivors in the wilds of Cuba, carrying on a guerilla war.
In 1959, the Cuban government fell and Castro seized power. Guevara was put in charge of finance and economic planning for the revolutionary government.
In 1960 he published Guerilla Warfare, in which he argued that armed struggle was necessary to free the masses from capitalistic exploitation.
By 1965, he faded from public life in Cuba for reasons still not entirely clear. He then reappeared in 1966 in Bolivia where he hoped to bring about a revolution.
In October 1967, he was captured and executed by Bolivian troops.
Che subsequently became the image on all those t-shirts. He became the ultimate anti-U.S. symbol, the image that every left-wing group goes to when its members have a gripe against the U.S.
I should add that a student at a university once told me that he thought it was an image of a rocker – i.e., Jim Morrison!
Ironically, he was captured because the campaign in Bolivia failed miserably. It failed for two reasons, as Humberto Fontova explained in his book.
First, Bolivia was not Cuba. In other words, Castro and Che never told Cubans there was a communist government around the corner.
Second, the natives in Bolivia never bought into the idea that a white guy from Argentina was there to save them.
In the end, it was the villagers he was trying to "liberate" who turned him in. (For a wonderful description of how this happened, read the diary he left behind, and not the edited version by Fidel Castro. Che was a frustrated man who knew he was failing. He had no food or fuel, and supplies from Cuba never came as promised.)
Again, the Bolivian campaign was a total failure.
Che was a murderer and a man who said awful things about blacks and Mexicans. It's hard to see how any liberal in the West would dare wear his image on a t-shirt!
We salute the students who held "No Che Day" across the land last year. We hope this becomes a national celebration as long as there is a fool wearing a Che t-shirt.