Exposing the Real Che Guevara

Exposing the Real Che Guevara

And the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him

Book - 2007
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A critical biography of the iconic communist revolutionary, and an expos of the liberals who lionize him, Cuban exile Fontova shows that Che wasn't really a gentle soul and a selfless hero but a violent Communist and perpetrator of atrocities.
Publisher: New York : Sentinel, 2007
ISBN: 9781595230270
Branch Call Number: F2849.22.G85 F66 2007
Characteristics: xxx, 224 p., [8] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm

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p 70, 71-3, 76-7: José Vilasuso, a Cuban prosecutor who quickly defected in horror and disgust, estimates that Che signed 400 death warrants during the first three months of his command in La Cabana. A Basque priest named Iòaki de Aspiazu, often on hand to perform confessions and last rites, says Che personally ordered 700 executions by firing squad during that period. Cuban journalist Luis Ortega, who knew Che as early as 1956, writes in his book Yo Soy El Che! that Guevara sent 1,892 men to the firing squad.

In his book Che Guevara: A Biography, Daniel James writes that Che himself admitted to ordering “several thousand” executions during the first year of the Castro regime. Felix Rodriguez, the Cuban-American CIA operative who helped track down Che in Bolivia and was the last person to question him, says that Che during his final talk admitted to “a couple thousand” executions.

…“One morning the horrible sound of that rusty steel door swinging open startled us awake and Che’s guards shoved a new prisoner into our cell. He was a boy, maybe fourteen years old. His face was bruised and smeared with blood. ‘What did you do?’ we asked, horrified. ‘I tried to defend my papa,’ gasped the bloodied boy. ‘But they sent him to the firing squad.’”

…“We simply couldn’t believe they’d murder him.

“Then we spotted him, strutting around the blood-drenched execution yard with his hands on his waist and barking orders—Che Guevara himself. ‘Kneel down!’ Che barked at the boy.

…“The boy stared Che resolutely in the face. ‘If you’re going to kill me,’ he yelled, ‘you’ll have to do it while I’m standing! Men die standing!’”

“Murderers!” the men yelled desperately from their cells. “Then we saw Che unholstering his pistol. He put the barrel to the back of the boy’s neck and blasted. The shot almost decapitated the young boy.

“We erupted, ‘Murderers!—Assassins!’ Che finally looked up at us, pointed his pistol, and emptied his clip in our direction. Several of us were wounded by his shots.”

“The blond boy could not have been much over fifteen,” recalls NBC correspondent Edward Scott about another execution he witnessed at La Cabana in February 1959. “As they wrestled him to the stake the boy spoke eloquently to the firing squad, telling them repeatedly that he was innocent.” This seemed to rattle the firing-squad members, and at Herman Marks’s order of “Fuego!” only one bullet struck the bound boy. A furious Marks walked up and demolished the boy’s skull with two blasts from his .45. Then he summoned his bodyguards and ordered the entire firing squad arrested…Who was Herman Marks? He was an American, an ex-convict, Marine deserter, and mental case with the U.S. law close on his heels in 1957. At age 30, Marks was convicted of raping a teenage girl and sent to the state prison in Waupun, Wisconsin for 3 ½ years. He was also one of the very few people to whom Che was close.

Marks escaped to Cuba, joined Che’s rebels in the Sierra Maestra, became a gung-ho “revolutionary,” and was quickly promoted to “captain”…As early as the Sierra skirmishes, Marks’s specialty had been jumping into the freshly dug pit and shattering the skulls of Che’s firing-squad victims with the coup de grace blast from his .45 pistol…He named La Cabana his personal “hunting lodge,” and his .45 barely had time to cool between assignments.

… (Given his Castrophilia, it’s a wonder Marks did not become a scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies, or CNN’s Latin America correspondent.) The man who replaced Marks as the humanistic revolution’s “security director”…was Ramon Mercader, the Stalinist assassin who had driven an ice-ax into Leon Trotsky’s forehead in 1940.

Castro’s fervently “nationalist” revolution, widely hailed as eradicating humiliating foreign influences from Cuba, overran Cuba with rude, malodorous Russian communists. It had as its main executioners of Cuban patriots an Argentine hobo and a genuine American psycho.

p 67-9: In…January 1957, Fidel Castro ordered the execution of a peasant guerrilla named Eutimio Guerra, accused of being an informer for Batista’s forces. Castro assigned the killing to his own bodyguard, Universo Sanchez. To everyone’s surprise, Che Guevara—a lowly rebel soldier/medic at the time, not a comandante yet—volunteered to accompany Sanchez and another soldier to the execution site...
Sanchez was hesitant, looking around, perhaps looking for an excuse to postpone or call off the execution. Dozens would follow, but this was the first execution of a Castro rebel. Without warning, Che stepped forward and fired his pistol into Guerra’s temple. “He went into convulsions for a while and was finally still. Now his belongings were mine,” Che wrote in his diaries.
Che’s father in Buenos Aires received a letter from his prodigal son. “I’d like to confess, Papa, at that moment I discovered that I really like killing.”
This can-do attitude caught Castro’s eye. More executions of assorted “deserters,” “informers,” and “war criminals” quickly followed, all with Che’s enthusiastic participation. One was of a captured Batista soldier, a seventeen-year-old boy totally green to the guerrilla “war”—hence his easy capture. First Che interrogated him.
“I haven’t killed anyone, comandante!” the terrified boy answered Che. “I just got out here! I’m an only son, my mother’s a widow, and I joined the army for the salary, to send it to her every month…don’t kill me! Don’t kill me!—why?”
Che barked the orders and the boy was trussed up, shoved in front of a recently dug pit, and murdered. This was the same man Ariel Dorfman wrote of in Time as the “generous Che who tended wounded enemy soldiers.”
Castro thought executing Batista soldiers was incredibly stupid, compared to the propaganda value of releasing them. But he recognized Che’s value as an ardent executioner. Castro was already thinking ahead to his stealth takeover of Cuba, planning his version of Stalin’s Katyn massacre, and with the same rationale: to decapitate—literally and figuratively—any future counter-revolutionaries, future contras. So by summer 1957, Che had been promoted to full-fledged major or comandante, the rebel army’s highest rank. His fame was spreading.
But not all were favorably impressed. In mid-1958, a rebel soldier, Reynaldo Morfa, was wounded and made his way to Dr. Hector Meruelo in the nearby town of Cienfuegos. The good doctor patched him up and a few weeks later informed him that he was well enough to return to Che’s column.
“No, doctor,” Reynaldo responded. “Please be discreet with this because it could cost me my life, but I’ve learned that Che is nothing but a murderer. I’m a revolutionary but I’m also a Christian. I’ll go and join Camilo’s column—but never Che’s.”
Agustin Soberon was the first Cuban reporter to visit Che’s Sierra Maestra camp to interview him. “I was a reporter for the Cuban magazine Bohemia and visited Che in March 1958 at his camp in La Plata,” he recalls. “It was impossible to break the ice with Guevara, I’ve never met anyone with such a despotic and arrogant nature…That night I slept in a hut at the camp. A young rebel sleeping next to me was having what looked to me like a terrible nightmare. He was rolling back and forth, murmuring, ‘Execute him—execute him—execute him.’ So the next morning I asked him about it. I’ll never forget this, the young rebel’s name was Humberto Rodriguez and he explained how he’d been put in charge of firing squads. What he’d been saying during the nightmare were Che’s constant commands, still ringing in his ears. Apparently they troubled him. A little while later, Che himself comes over and announces they’re tying a victim to the stake. Would I like to come over and watch the firing squad at work? I didn’t. I’d seen enough and heard enough. I left.”
All these victims were campesinos, peasants, of whom Che himself wrote that their “cooperation comes after our planned terror.”

Mar 06, 2016

When Fidel Castro observed widespread mourning among his counterculture camp followers in the West, he realized he could revamp the reputation of his deceased jailer, Che Guevara, and continue his Revolutionary sales pitch. The ideal of a revolutionary purist and peasant-rallying guerilla fighter has enthralled Che's admirers ever since; but it's also infuriated many Cubans, both in-country and in exile. Humberto Fontova has written this book to correct the record.

If even half his points about Ernesto "Che" Guevara are true, then the iconic guerilla was a harsh commander unable to retain the loyalty of Cuban, Congolese, or Bolivian fighters, who was in over his head when confronted with actual battle. Instead, Che's strength was his savage will to exterminate Castro's enemies, whether real, imagined, or potential, at Cuba's La Cabana prison. According to the accounts Fontova relates, Guevara delighted in the blood sport of the firing squad, watching it in action, or participating in it himself. The humanitarian Che, consequently, was a posthumous fiction. At times Fontova's focus drifts into other abuses by the Castro regime in which Che was not involved. Still, these make cautionary reading about its character following Guevara's death. Castro was still Castro, even after he decided to get rid of Che. Neither was nor is good.

A reviewer elsewhere remarks that Fontova's book is a first good effort toward a more scholarly, in-depth treatment of Che Guevara, told not from Havana's records but from the perspective of his victims. If Fontova's done a good job in breaking the ice, and he has, then a devastating tome expanding the theme could bring Che Guevara's personality cult to a badly overdue end.

It could also delve where Fontova merely glances. For example, it might reconstruct the dark apotheosis that turned a motorcycling medical student into the hate-driven murderer who wrote "I really enjoy killing!": events from Che's pre-Cuba career, which Fontova mostly ignores. Perhaps it could explore the privileged, vacant mindset in the West which finds Guevara's image so compelling. Fontova forwards an exchange with guitarist Carlos Santana, whose adoration of Che comes off as mentally impaired. What void in their personnae makes this killer so attractive? He gives them so little to defend.

FINAL NOTE: a book vandal scrawled a "warning" in the table of contents, urging readers to seek out other biographies of Che Guevara. In fact , Humberto Fontova responds to these works, notably that of Jon Lee Anderson, providing answers and alternate accounts. The book vandal's objection is in pencil and could be erased, but I let it stand with the hope anyone reading it will proceed to the text and get the answers this person hoped to dissuade. The dissipation of the Che Guevara icon's been a long time coming. It starts here.

Aug 26, 2014

Quoting Wikipedia: “Humberto Fontova (born 1954) is a Cuban-American author, blogger, political commentator, and conservative polemicist. Ardently anti-communist, many of his works involve using historical revisionism to correct the record to what he contends is the unreported and accurate point of view. Fontova is a frequent contributor to several right-wing websites and has made a guest appearance on the Glenn Beck Program and Fox News show Hannity and Colmes.” ....... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humberto_Fontova

Feb 29, 2012

A much-needed slap in the face for those of us who only see a noble, ascetic peasant-loving rebel when we see the infamous face of Che on shirts and posters. Fontova documents and footnotes his assertions and includes excerpts from interviews with Cubans who fled Che's murderous kangaroo court and slave labor camps. This book is a must read, and I will be buying a copy for my home library.


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pp. 165-6: Batista grabbed power in a (bloodless) coup in 1952, but in 1940 he had been elected president in elections considered scrupulously honest by U.S. observers. So whatever racial barriers existed in Cuba at the time did not prevent a country that was 71 percent white from voting in a black president…

Today, Cuba’s jail population is 85 percent black. The regime Che Guevara cofounded holds the distinction of having incarcerated the longest-serving black political prisoner of the twentieth century, Eusebio Peñalver, who was holed up and tortured in Castro’s jails longer than Nelson Mandela languished in South Africa’s.

Peñalver was bloodied in his fight with communism but unbowed for thirty years in its dungeons. “N****r!” taunted his jailers. “Monkey! We pulled you down from the trees and cut off your tail!” snickered Castro’s goons as they threw him in solitary confinement.

p 167-8, 172, 175: “When we were training in Mexico before landing in Cuba,” recalls Miguel Sanchez, who did much of the training, “Che delighted in belittling the Cuban black guerrilla named Juan Almeida. He always sneered at him as ‘el Negrito.’…Che soon found other targets for his innate racism, sneering at all ‘these illiterate Indians in Mexico.’”

“…I [Che] yelled at them that they were behaving like women…”

…In the mid-1970s, when Castro was serious about a client regime in Africa, he sent fifty thousand troops, hundreds of Soviet tanks, and squadrons of MIGs. They used saturation barrages of 122mm Soviet howitzer shells, hails of Katyusha rockets, and sarin gas against unarmed villages. Force at this level explained the Cuban “victory” in Angola, one unhampered by witch doctors and their dawa. (The Clark Amendment passed by Democrats in the U.S. Congress, which cut off all U.S. aid to Angolan anticommunists, also made things easier for Castro.)


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