Ignorance on Cuba: There is a glimmer of hope

Yesterday, we talked about a San Jose State University student newspaper writer who had decided to impart to her readers some of her wisdom and knowledge of Cuba and U.S. policy towards the island, which included referring to former Cuban president Fulgencio Batista as Juan Bautista. The ignorance of Cuban history displayed by this apparent journalism student painted a sad picture for the future of journalism. It is not as if it is all that difficult to find out who led Cuba before Fidel Castro — even Wikipedia gets the name right — but it would seem that thorough research and pride in being accurate is not what they are teaching the world’s future journalists in journalism school or any other study discipline.

However, this morning, I came across a ray of sunshine.

Sarah Backer is a business major at the University of Houston and has written several Op-Eds for the school’s paper, The Daily Cougar. In her latest opinion piece, she takes on the obsession some people have with Ché Guevara, wearing t-shirts with his image while being completely oblivious to the fact Guevara was a psychotic, sadistic mass murderer.

Ms. Baker, however, took the time to learn the facts, and provides us with that glimmer of hope that perhaps not all of America’s college youth is completely ignorant of Cuban history:

Che: A revolution in pop culture misrepresentation

Next time you see someone sporting a shirt or anything with the visage of Marxist freedom fighter, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, stop and ask them what they know about this romanticized symbol of revolution.


Clothing stores, like this one in Belfast, Northern Ireland, feature t-shirts with the image of Marxist freedom fighter Ernesto "Che" Guevara.   Hollywood and counterculture hipsters romanticize the life of a man who executed thousands and said "the victory of Socialism  is worth millions of atomic deaths." /Wikimedia CommonsA brief look at history shows a darker, more accurate side of Guevara.

In 1928, Guevara was born to a middle class family in Rosario, Argentina. He completed his medical studies in 1953, and after traveling around Latin America, decided that the only way to liberate the poor from their degraded existence was through violent warfare. An expert on guerrilla warfare, he was an important figure in the Cuban Revolution and tried to lead Marxist revolts in the Congo and Bolivia, where he was executed in 1967.

Since his death, Guevara has been touted by some on the left as the pop culture hero of anti-imperialism and rebellion. It was in the 1960s when Guevara truly rose to prominence as a symbol of revolution.

Guevara supporters claim he stands for freedom, justice and free-thinking; however, Guevara acted in the Cuban Revolution’s first firing squads and founded Cuba’s “labor camp” system which acted much like concentration camps.

Ironically, Guevara opposed freedom of speech, he campaigned to have homosexuals jailed in labor camps, he opposed free elections, he was a profligate adulterer and he hoped the Cuban missile crisis would lead to atomic war. Guevara’s political beliefs of mass-slaughter and absolute government fly in the face of freedom, social justice or free thought. For instance, take this quote from this 1966 speech by Guevara:

“Hatred is the central element of our struggle! Hatred that is intransigent … hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him violent and cold-blooded killing machine … We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow! The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! These hyenas are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm! The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!”

Actions speak louder than words. As a Communist totalitarian murderer, Guevara participated in execution of thousands people, not all of which were former members of former Cuban President Fulgencio Batista’s administration.

What we need is for people to break from the confines of popular culture and think for themselves. Just because some actor likes Guevara and I like that actor doesn’t mean I should then like Guevara. The truth is wearing a Guevara shirt is much like sporting a shirt with Hitler’s or Stalin’s face on it. The only difference is that the Guevara shirt is socially acceptable, thanks to the obtuseness of Hollywood.

Read the entire article HERE.



7 thoughts on “Ignorance on Cuba: There is a glimmer of hope

  1. Alberto, you meant sadistic murderer. Masochistic would be reading anything else by that Angela Medina.

  2. You’re right, Asombra. Wrote that early this morning before my first Cuban coffee. It’s been corrected.

    I must have been thinking of my masochistic practice of plodding through all the pro-Castro tripe I do every morning.

  3. That hatred quote ( like the “Negro indolent” quote) was lifted WORD for WORD from my writings without the slightest hint of attribution. This type of sh*T is REALLY getting ‘freakin old!!!

  4. Humberto, I have seen a message going around social media defending Che against his racism that I think you should debunk in your next column … I’m not sure how much of it is even true. It goes =

    “[Che Guevara]:
    – Publicly denounced the racism, segregation and KKK in America in 1961.
    – Had a black personal bodyguard the last 8 years of his life, his friend Harry “Pombo” Villegas.
    – Publicly supported the black American singer Paul Robeson.
    – Desegregated the schools in Cuba before they were in the Southern US.
    – Was heralded by Malcolm X during this trip to NY in 1964.
    – Called out South Africa’s Apartheid at the U.N. in 1964.
    – Fought white mercenaries in the African Congo with an all-black army in 1965.
    – Offered to fight alongside the black FRELIMO in Mozambique against Portugal.
    – Had a Swahili translator in Africa named Freddy Ilanga, who in 2005 told BBC that Che “showed the same respect to black people as he did to whites.”
    – Considered the slain African leader Patrice Lumumba a hero of his.
    – Was eulogized by Black Panther leader Stokely Carmichael.

    “The days where University education is a privilege of the white middle class are over. The University must paint itself black, mulatto, worker, and peasant.” — Che Guevara to the University of Las Villas, 1959

    “Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom?” — Che Guevara to the U.N., December 11, 1964

    “We speak out to put the world on guard against what is happening in South Africa. The brutal policy of apartheid is applied before the eyes of the nations of the world. The peoples of Africa are compelled to endure the fact that on the African continent the superiority of one race over another remains official policy, and that in the name of this racial superiority murder is committed with impunity. Can the United Nations do nothing to stop this?” — Che Guevara to the U.N., December 11, 1964

  5. Talk is cheap, Mr. Mojito. Very. Especially when you know saying what you don’t mean will further your agenda. And btw, when were schools in Cuba segregated?

  6. Comments to the U.N? Supported communist Robeson? Heralded by Malcolm X? Carmichael eulogized him? I am to take these as positives?
    asombra, correct as always.

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