The Maryland Institute College of Art called this photo, “The most famous photograph in the world…”
As I travel around the Philippines I frequently see people wearing T-Shirts, backpacks and other clothing with Che Guevara’s picture emblazoned on them. Most of the people I spoke to did not, or a least would not, admit to knowing who he was and what he represented. The few that did know him had a “highly” romanticized idea of his role in history. They see him as a heroic champion of the common man. He was a lone warrior struggling against imperialism and the oppressive feudalism of the rich. A physician forced to lay down his medical instruments to take up the rifle and fight for the oppressed people of the world. He is a counterculture hero who was murdered by the imperialist slave masters.
The truth is not nearly an inspiring. Everything from his nickname to his military successes is phony. He was a failure in almost everything he attempted.
“Che” means “friend” or “buddy” in a colloquial Spanish. The assumption is that Guevara was awarded this pseudonym because of his camaraderie with his fellow revolutionary soldiers. Actually he was first called “Chacho” or pig by his schoolmates. He was quite proud of the fact that he rarely bathed. He got the name “Che” because he often used the word in his conversations. It is more analogous to a California surfer being called “Dude”. The nickname was a gibe, not a compliment. Fact is he was disdainful of those he considered as his “intellectual inferiors”. He was feared not respected.
Che’s cult followers like to point out he was a “physician” or “doctor” who heroically gave up his medical profession and began fighting imperialist oppression. The truth is he was a dermatologist. Now, this is a noble and skilled specialized profession. I have a personal friend who is a member of this important branch of medicine. Why do his followers not just say he was dermatologist? They avoid this accurate title possibly because the image of someone treating acne is not as heroic as our image of a surgeon saving lives. This is a typical of the manufactured false image that has replaced the truth about Che.
The myth is Che was forced into war out of compassion for the poor and downtrodden oppressed masses. Truth is he had little or no compassion and even less respect for life. He was feared by his own comrades because of his ruthless disregard for human life in and out of combat. As the commander of “La Cabana Fortress”, a Cuban prison, he was directly responsible for the summary torture and execution of over 500 prisoners. I have a personal friend who spent ten years in that prison and lost an eye to Che’s “compassion”. Several of Che’s fellow officers resigned, shocked by his total disregard for “legal and judicial principle”. Guilt or innocence was not an important issue to him. Even Fidel Castro said he was “excessively aggressive”.
I was a professional soldier. I was trained and eventually had to kill other humans. I took no joy or pride in this dark ugly side of my profession. These are Che’s own words on the subject: “Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any enemy that falls in my hands! My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood.” Confessions like this beg the question was Che fighting imperialist or merely feeding a savage blood lust in his dark soul.
Ernesto “Che” Guevara wrote several books and magazine articles on revolutionary warfare. He is considered the “expert” in this area. Or at least that is the myth. The truth is he had no military training and that flaw eventually got him captured and killed. While he did win the critical battle of the Cuban Revolution, that had less to do with his military skills and more to do with his savagery. During the Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba, Fidel Castro used Che’s military “expertise” (?) and made him police the obscure Pinar Del Rio province far from the combat zone. All of Guevara’s military excursions on three continents were utter failures. He was all image and no substance. In Bolivia he violated almost every principle of Revolutionary Warfare he ever wrote and it led to his death.
Some say Che was a brave man. I do not know. Where does savage blood lust end and bravery begin? I do know that when the Bolivian Army, with the help of American Green Berets, captured him he cowered and cried out, “Don’t shoot! I am Che Guevara and worth more to you alive than dead.” I have friends who were there. This is the final picture of our “brave” (?) revolutionary.
(La Higuera, Bolivia – 9 October 1967) I could go on with my revelations of this world class phony. I could point out the fact that he abandoned a wife and child to live in sin with another woman. I could point out the fact that he was a miserable failure as the Cuban Minister of Industries. He left hundreds of abandoned empty factories as testimony to his total incompetence. During the Cuban Missile Crisis Che recommend that Castro launch a nuclear attack against America. The fact that America’s forced retaliation would have killed millions of Cubans and turned his nation into a green glass parking lot, did not even bother this “intellectual” giant (?). A huge cult mystique has grown up around this dirt bag failure and it is an insult to true heroes and visionaries. The socialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre called Che Guevara. “The most complete human being of our age”. If you hold him as a “hero” of the oppressed masses, you need to do some comprehensive realistic research and maybe re-evaluate your political philosophy. Socialism and communism “sound” good as an intellectual exercise but there is a reason they both have failed miserably when applied in the real world. No one typifies that failure more than “Chacho”, the pig boy, Guevara.