“A revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.” ~ Che Guevara
Yesterday was the anniversary of Che Guevara’s execution in Bolivia for trying to start a revolution, but did you know he had asthma? Time Magazine’s article yesterday, How Che Guevara Didn’t Let Asthma Affect His Ambitions, seems to extol his many successes on his “rugged revolutionary road to Cuba”, focusing on how asthma slowed him down.
Maybe Time’s next article could be, How did Joseph Stalin handle colds when he slaughtered millions? of How did Hitler handle the challenge of his throat polyps?
Time magazine put Guevara on its cover in August 1960 when it extolled the Cuban revolution’s division of labor with a cover story featuring Che Guevara as the “brain” and Fidel Castro as the “heart” and Raúl Castro as the “fist.” It showed Guevara’s crucial role in turning Cuba into a model of totalitarianism.
The Atlantic-Journal Constitution wrote yesterday that “Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna, Che to the millions he influenced, is the freedom-fighter you want on your T-shirt – even if most people likely don’t know why.” People need to know why.
Alvara Vargas Liosa has some of the best-researched information in his book, The Killing Machine, which we briefly summarized here.
They seemed to glorify his death. He told his executioner to kill him and called him a coward when he hesitated, because you are only killing a man.
But the “cold-blooded killing machine” came into his own as a murderer immediately after the collapse of the Batista regime when Castro put him in charge of La Cabaña prison.
Che was in charge of the Comisión Depuradora. Che’s guidelines were that they were all murderers and the revolutionary way to proceed was to be implacable. The fact that they were brought to trial meant they were guilty. He killed or imprisoned everyone, evidence was irrelevant, age was irrelevant.
“In 1958, after taking the city of Sancti Spiritus, Guevara unsuccessfully tried to impose a kind of sharia, regulating relations between men and women, the use of alcohol, and informal gambling—a puritanism that did not exactly characterize his own way of life. He also ordered his men to rob banks,” Alvara Liosa reported in the Independent.
His land reform was to steal property, take it from the rich and give it to the bureaucrats, not to the peasants. He called it diversification. It destroyed their harvests.
Che was obsessively collectivist and formed a security apparatus to subjugate six and a half million Cubans. In early 1959, a series of secret meetings took place at the mansion where the top leaders, including Castro, designed the Cuban police state.
Guevara himself took charge of G-6, the body tasked with the ideological indoctrination of the armed forces. The U.S.-backed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961 became the perfect occasion to consolidate the new police state, with the rounding up of tens of thousands of Cubans and a new series of executions. As Guevara himself told the Soviet ambassador Sergei Kudriavtsev, counterrevolutionaries were never “to raise their head again,” Liosa reported.
“Counterrevolutionary” is what communists use to anyone who does not adhere to the dogma. They become the heretics in their godless religion.
By 1960, Che set up the first forced labor camp Guanahacabibes. He only sent those who “committed crimes against revolutionary morals,” he said.
Starting in 1965, undesirables were systematically imprisoned and that included dissidents, homosexuals, AIDS victims, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Afro-Cuban priests. They were herded into buses and trucks, the “unfit” would be transported at gunpoint into concentration camps organized on the Guanahacabibes mold. Liosa wrote that “Some would never return; others would be raped, beaten, or mutilated; and most would be traumatized for life.”
He sovietized Cuba but later moved away from them until he had to live off their subsidies, something which continued for decades.
During the trip to further Soviet-Cuban negotiations during a visit to Moscow in late 1960, he traveled to Kim Il Sung’s North Korea and said it was the country that impressed him “the most.” During his next trip to Russia, he agreed to turn Cuba into a Soviet nuclear beachhead.
According to Philippe Gavi’s biography of Guevara, the revolutionary had bragged that “this country is willing to risk everything in an atomic war of unimaginable destructiveness to defend a principle.”
After the Cuban missile crisis ended, Guevara told a British communist daily: “If the rockets had remained, we would have used them all and directed them against the very heart of the United States, including New York, in our defense against aggression.” And a couple of years later, at the United Nations, he was true to form: “As Marxists we have maintained that peaceful coexistence among nations does not include coexistence between exploiters and the exploited.”
Time Magazine seemed to praise his ability to take over a bank without the credentials but they left out the fact that as head of the National Bank of Cuba and of the Department of Industry of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform at the end of 1959, and, starting in early 1961, as minister of industry, he ruined the economy. He oversaw the near-collapse of sugar production, the failure of industrialization, and the introduction of rationing.
That’s social justice for you.
Cuba had been one of the four most successful Latin American countries prior to this.
So celebrate his birthday, bemoan his trials and tribulations with asthma, wear his t-shirt, and have his face tattooed on your navel, but know that he was one of the most proficient mass killers and one of the most destructive societal forces of the 20th century.