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Che Guevara: The Killing Machine
July 12, 2005 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Che Guevara: The Killing Machine
Che's lust for power had other ways of expressing itself besides murder. The contradiction between his passion for travel--a protest of sorts against the of the nation-state--and his impulse to become himself an enslaving state over others is poignant. In writing about Pedro Valdivia, the conquistador of Chile, Guevara reflected: "He belonged to that special class of men the species produces every so often, in whom a craving for limitless power is so extreme that any suffering to achieve it seems natural." He might have been describing himself.
posted by highsignal (82 comments total)

 
The Death of Che Guevara: Declassified [via plep]
posted by peacay at 11:06 AM on July 12, 2005


I wonder if they'll create a new t-shirt or poster celebrating this...
posted by dsquid at 11:10 AM on July 12, 2005


As long as it looks cool, the hipsters will wear it without regard to its intrinsic meaning
posted by evilgenius at 11:13 AM on July 12, 2005


Guevara was a soldier fighting for his beliefs in a war against dictatorship and essentially U.S. backed fascism in Cuba. Has there ever been a war without deaths or murder?

If you know anything about the death Guevara you'll know that it wasn't all CIA dealings. Castro was anxious to get rid of him because of continuing clashes over ideologies - Castro was becoming the dictator that they orginally fought so hard against.

Yeah, Guevara wasn't a saint, but he had some great ideas.

As, for the shirt thing, it's not any different than people wearing American flag t-shirts. Do you think they know what's really going on? Would they wear that shirt if they knew the U.S. was tortuting prisoners and innocents all over the world?
posted by handshake at 11:21 AM on July 12, 2005


Felix Rodriguez wrote about Che's execution in a book. Rodriguez was the CIA's man in Bolvia. Of course he was later charged with smuggling drugs into the United States. There's some interesting comments about Rodriguez here. He was later implicated in Iran-Contra.
posted by stevefromsparks at 11:23 AM on July 12, 2005


whoever wrote that really dosn't know much about structuring an essay. 20-30 paragraphs talking about how well loved che is is not a good way to get people to dislike him, if that's the goal of this essay, which I didn't finish.

Put the good stuff up front, people.
---
Also, I heard that the american revolutionaries killed quite a few people
posted by delmoi at 11:23 AM on July 12, 2005


wow handshake, you are a real class act.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:24 AM on July 12, 2005


"Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué". Perfect.
posted by Staggering Jack at 11:26 AM on July 12, 2005


For years I've been signing my net posts with 'Your rebellion is their marketing scheme.'
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:28 AM on July 12, 2005


As, for the shirt thing, it's not any different than people wearing American flag t-shirts. Do you think they know what's really going on? Would they wear that shirt if they knew the U.S. was tortuting prisoners and innocents all over the world?

A brand name is a brand name. Good point, handshake.
posted by Rothko at 11:29 AM on July 12, 2005


Yeah, Guevara wasn't a saint, but he had some great ideas.

Someone's channeling Marge Schott.
posted by dsquid at 11:30 AM on July 12, 2005


S@L: Way to decimate handshake's point with your grasp of logic, argument, and fact. Outstanding. Hope to see more.
posted by xmutex at 11:31 AM on July 12, 2005


OHES NOES GODWIN!!!!1!!uno!!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:33 AM on July 12, 2005


"Tengo una remera del Che y no sé por qué" is bang on, and it's one of the reasons I won't wear or own Che paraphenalia. And yes: he's not a saint. This article, though, is a piece of shit, and shouldn't be read by anyone interested in coming to an informed opinion on the issue.

One example: "The period in which Guevara was in charge of most of the Cuban economy saw the near-collapse of sugar production, the failure of industrialization, and the introduction of rationing--all this in what had been one of Latin America's four most economically successful countries since before the Batista dictatorship." Replace "Guevera" with "Bush" and "Cuban" with "American" and "Latin America" with "North America" - does the argument hold up? Even if the conclusion is true, the argument is a crock of shit. The rest of the article is no better.
posted by louigi at 11:36 AM on July 12, 2005


Incidentally: whatever "the conclusion" might be. According to the author, it seems to be that Castro was a brutal bumbling psychopathic killer. Easy thing, though, to pick out some choice quotes from someone who a) wrote copious amounts in his diaries and b) spent his time planning revolutions, and make them sound violent...
posted by louigi at 11:42 AM on July 12, 2005


The analysis of Che symbolism by a site otherwise full of anti-Chávez propaganda (see anything on their main page, pretty much)...gee, it's negative, go figure. For a different side, I'd suggest Venezuelanalysis.com - at least to balance the VCRISIS smears on the government.

On the Che issue...I have a Che shirt and wear it because it's still great iconography, regardless of what ignorance goes on among the average wearer.
posted by graymouser at 11:42 AM on July 12, 2005


Way to decimate handshake's point with your grasp of logic, argument, and fact.

Sometime about 2 years ago or so, Steve stopped making any comments longer than a line or two.

Another guy I used to like and somewhat admire, who has, in the face of a world incompatible with his worldview, resorted to the lamest of smart-aleck quips as his sole rhetorical weapon.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:45 AM on July 12, 2005


Pedro de Valdivia.
posted by signal at 12:01 PM on July 12, 2005


The analysis of Che symbolism by a site otherwise full of anti-Chávez propaganda (see anything on their main page, pretty much)...gee, it's negative, go figure. For a different side, I'd suggest Venezuelanalysis.com - at least to balance the VCRISIS smears on the government.

The original article is from The New Republic & written by Alvaro Vargas Llosa.
posted by highsignal at 12:02 PM on July 12, 2005


As the mouseover alt indicates, this is a reprint from The New Republican.
Please feel free to ignore anything contained therein 'cause we "remember the hackery" of this no-talent bunch who seem to always find a way of being on the wrong side of issues.
posted by nofundy at 12:12 PM on July 12, 2005


sorry highsignal, didn't see your post re: TNR.
posted by nofundy at 12:13 PM on July 12, 2005


nofundy: Way to decimate Llosa's points with your grasp of ad hominem.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:23 PM on July 12, 2005


As for handshake's argument that Che's killing was justified because there was a war/revolution going on... You could make exactly the same argument about Pinochet. There was also a war going on when he killed all those people. Somehow I don't think you'd take kindly to that logic when aplied to the other end of the political spectrum.

To say that Castro fucked up Che's grand beneficient vison is to split hairs and ignore a lot of evidence that Che was a ruthless killer himself.
posted by Heminator at 12:24 PM on July 12, 2005


Che was no saint - not by a long shot, but this article is so deeply intellectually dishonest that it's painful to read.

Right from the start, the title loudly proclaims the author's deeply held bias, and throwing labels like "The Killing Machine" around suggests we're unlikely to see even the pretense of fairness towards the subject matter.

The metamorphosis of Che Guevara into a capitalist brand is not new, but the brand has been enjoying a revival of late--an especially remarkable revival, since it comes years after the political and ideological collapse of all that Guevara represented.

One assumes that the political collapse is a reference to the USSR. The author is no doubt aware that the USSR was truly communist for about eight months in 1917, before sliding into a corrupt oligarchy, incompatible with Che's ideals.

But to be more precise, the current Che revival started in 1997, on the thirtieth anniversary of his death, when five biographies hit the bookstores, and his remains were discovered near an airstrip at Bolivia's Vallegrande airport, after a retired Bolivian general, in a spectacularly timed revelation, disclosed the exact location. The anniversary refocused attention on Freddy Alborta's famous photograph of Che's corpse laid out on a table, foreshortened and dead and romantic, looking like Christ in a Mantegna painting.

This whole paragraph is ludicrous. First the suggestion that the 'Che revival' began as a fad (and the implication that it had to be a fad), then the conspiracy-theorist claptrap about the disclosure of the location of Che's remains being 'well-timed.' To cap it off, the author pulls a bit of an altered Godwin to close the article.

A bit further down, he twists what he admits to be Che's honesty into a point against him - as if it were a negative trait - and then procedes to blame Che for his own death! The bias here is so thick you could hammer a nail into it and hang up your coat.

Next up he takes a quote out of context, follows up with a quote of debated factuality, and procedes to use it to cast a false light on a quote that portrays Che's pragmatism. He finishes off this paragraph by attempting to condemn Che by way of a clearly sarcastic comment. Intellectually dishonest? Only a little bit.

The article is, almost surprisingly at this point, accurate and forthcoming about what Che's actual crimes were in the three subsequent paragraphs. As I said, the man was no saint.

By and large, though, this article attempts to paint a flawed but very idealistic revolutionary who has become less-than-deservedly romantic hero as some sort of ravenous monster. Writing it off because of its source is a bad practice, but in this particular case seems to be accurate.
posted by Ryvar at 12:25 PM on July 12, 2005


It is clear from Che Guevara’s economic writings that, hard as he wrestled with the nature of prices, markets, and economic calculation, he never rightly grasped the essentials of the matter.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:27 PM on July 12, 2005


que significa remera, por favor?
posted by andrew cooke at 12:32 PM on July 12, 2005


“remera” == “polera” on the other side of the Andes, a.c.
“T-shirt”, for the rest of youse.
posted by signal at 12:39 PM on July 12, 2005


Frankie says Che is all right.
Good enough for me.

yes, I'm ignoring kwantsar
posted by nofundy at 12:43 PM on July 12, 2005


"One assumes that the political collapse is a reference to the USSR. The author is no doubt aware that the USSR was truly communist for about eight months in 1917, before sliding into a corrupt oligarchy, incompatible with Che's ideals."

Oh not this old cannard--seriously Ryvar, the critique of communism has ALWAYS been that it's impossible to have a purely communist state, because the ideology is incompatible with human nature such that becoming "a corrupt oligarchy" is inevitable. "Oh but if Che and Trotsky had lived, socialist paradise would have been realized" is the standard response when many would be communists are confronted with its horrors.

The reason communism lasted a long as it is that incredibly naive and idealistic people like Che kept coming along and buying into this crap that communism was workable under some new guise, rather than acknowledge the necessity of personal property rights as well as enforcing other individual liberties.
posted by Heminator at 12:50 PM on July 12, 2005


The reason communism lasted a long as it is that incredibly naive and idealistic people like Che kept coming along and buying into this crap that communism was workable under some new guise, rather than acknowledge the necessity of personal property rights as well as enforcing other individual liberties.

Hello, would you like to download some Linux?
posted by wah at 12:51 PM on July 12, 2005


thanks signal.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:54 PM on July 12, 2005


I can't seem a citation, but I remember reading a Guevara quote that went something like the following.
Just before his death, an interviewer asked:
"Don't you worry that your family will suffer if you are killed in Bolivia?"
to which he responded:
"I don't worry, because whatever happens to me, I know the state will care for my children."
does anyone know the literal text?
No matter how unreasonably high his reputation has been elevated, this sentiment blows me away. I can't imagine having so much faith in the goodness of your society that you trust it unconditionally with your family's lives.
posted by Popular Ethics at 12:54 PM on July 12, 2005


Jesus, this reads like the This Godless Communism comic earlier on the page.
The article fundamentally misrepresents Arbenz, the New Man doctrine, and the situation of revolutionary Cuba. Yes, Guevara killed many more people than he had to, and was more than a bit naive about both his ideology and his economics, but hell, it beat Batista, and the continuing blockade of Cuba doesn't do the US or the Cuban people any favors.
Sorry, this article is weak axe-grinding from someone on an ideological mission, relying on obviously biased support and coming to a flawed conclusion. And I don't even own the t-shirt.
posted by klangklangston at 1:06 PM on July 12, 2005


nofundy: Declaring you're ignoring someone is pretty much not ignoring them. Better luck next time.
posted by xmutex at 1:15 PM on July 12, 2005


Yes, Guevara killed many more people than he had to

Che was no saint -


Well, let's just pin a rose on him.

Listen, I realize that it was the brutal dictatorships of the Batista types that gave rise to the Ches and Fidels* of the world, but dosen't mean we can't call them what they are.

*nothing rankles me more than hearing educated white american liberals defending castro. when I see people in miami building homemade rafts to get to havana, maybe I'll buy it.
posted by jonmc at 1:27 PM on July 12, 2005


Maybe if Castro had the ability to embargo the US to the point of starvation you would see that.
posted by trey at 1:31 PM on July 12, 2005


trey, I lived in Miami for 2 years. Most of my freinds were Cuban, a few of them had relatives who had been in Castro's prisons. They don't want to live under the man, regardless of what we do.
posted by jonmc at 1:44 PM on July 12, 2005


Rage Against the Machine, y'all.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:45 PM on July 12, 2005


the only real difference between capitalism and communism is that it's easy to see when communism has failed.
posted by cvoid at 1:49 PM on July 12, 2005


I don't even own the t-shirt

But how else will you foster sufficient brand loyalty to indulge in the action figure, the video game and the movie?
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:56 PM on July 12, 2005


jonmc: Some of my family is from Miami as well. I'm not arguing that Castro is a son of a bitch when it comes to human rights. I'm just saying that asking the ex-pats who live in Miami is kind of one-sided and that perhaps the situation is a bit more nuanced than most people realize (i.e., Castro isn't responsible for everything terrible that has happened to Cuba).
posted by trey at 1:58 PM on July 12, 2005


Cuba is a great place to visit. People have differing views on Castro (tio/el loco), but in my experience the more politically astute do not yearn to be like the other islands in the Caribbean who 'benefit' from US involvement.

Herminator, socialism does work in our society, but only for the very rich who determine there own remuneration via remuneration commitees. This isn't communism, but it is a form of communitarian ideology akin to socialism.

Pinochet was a puppet propped up by the US with guns and money, an oportunist who cared not for his country or it's people. Not much like Che, IMHO.

Neither Che nor Castro were communists, they were re-cast as such when the USSR became their only friend.
posted by asok at 2:01 PM on July 12, 2005


sonofsamiam beat me to the punch by pointing out that S@L long ago forgot where the 'enter' key was on his keyboard, but the godwin comment actually made me chuckle.
posted by spiderwire at 2:02 PM on July 12, 2005


Stating that one ruthless killer is somewhat better than another is no recommendation, klang.

Just because Batista was a sonofabitch doesn't mean you have go running into the arms of the sonofabitch who deposed him.
posted by Scoo at 2:05 PM on July 12, 2005


Couldn't find anything on the site about the US-approved coup attempt in Venezuela 3 years ago.

So why should I read their Che story? They can't even get current events straight.
posted by surplus at 2:37 PM on July 12, 2005


Wow, he killed like 4 or 5 people (sorry, I got tired of reading the article so there may be more.)

I wonder how long he would have had to live to kill as many people as George Bush has killed. (Of course, W doesn't have the balls to do the shooting himself - but that's another thread.)
posted by teredwar at 3:21 PM on July 12, 2005


I'd love to one day delve into my own study of Che Guevera. One thing that is clear: you can't trust the hipsters wearing T-Shirts, and you can't trust the "Che is Satan folks," and you can't trust the local governments either, as Che worked directly against them; you can't trust any of these people to give you an accurate portrayal of the actual man and his life.

So I'd love to find out reality on my own. But alas, I haven't the time.

One thing I'd almost guarantee: neither the leftists nor the rightists get it right about the reality.

But it is interesting that folks often seem to demand complete pacifism from those they oppose (otherwise the opposed are monsters), when they themselves are anything but pacifists. And yet the in-group aren't monsters, despite being completely non-pacifistic. Hmm....
posted by teece at 3:33 PM on July 12, 2005


How'd that t-shirt go?

Oh yeah - "WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER! UNLESS YOU'RE A SOCIALIST GUERILLA"

Love that.

Wonder when i'll see the hipsters wearing that one.
posted by swerdloff at 3:40 PM on July 12, 2005


nothing rankles me more than hearing educated white american liberals defending castro. when I see people in miami building homemade rafts to get to havana, maybe I'll buy it.

jonmc: this isn't the iron-clad proof you think it is.

People risk life and limb to come from Mexico to the USA, too. It doesn't imply that V. Fox is a madman. You have to do more than that to make a case against Castro. People will, literally, risk grueling death to find a better economic situation, apart from any barbaric or oppressive regime. And the expat. community is certainly not the place to build a foundation for that case, as the sample is completely biased. [Not defending Castro: don't really know dick about him or Cuba. But the American case is almost certainly less than completely honest, as we were blinded by the Cold War.]
posted by teece at 3:41 PM on July 12, 2005


wow handshake, you are a real class act.

Thank you.
posted by handshake at 3:44 PM on July 12, 2005


According to the article, Che was locking up AIDS victims in 1965. Amazing! Was there anything this man couldn't do?
posted by Sparx at 3:45 PM on July 12, 2005


you can't trust the hipsters wearing T-Shirts, and you can't trust the "Che is Satan folks,"

I don't think he's Satan. But somebody once said that every revolutionary eventually becomes either a heretic or an oppressor, and just about everything I've read and heard about Guevara (I'm not calling him "Che," like he's my drinking buddy or something, that always annoyed me) and Castro fall into the latter category.

And a lot of the embrace of him by hipsters has to do with the fact that he's associated with "rebellion," and "revolution," two concepts discontented young people sometimes embrace without considering the implications of the rebellions and revolutions they embrace. I'm not defending the status quo by any means, but let's not pretend that anything that postures against it is de facto good, that's simply infantile.
posted by jonmc at 3:45 PM on July 12, 2005


Wonder when i'll see the hipsters wearing that one.

A split second after someone produces it.
posted by Falconetti at 4:00 PM on July 12, 2005


I knew the daughter of one of Che's mistresses. She loved him as a child, but grew to wish that he had never been born and never fled to Bolivia.

Che not being a saint is an understatement. I am not an anti-Communist zealot, but Che was a war criminal in his own right. It's easy to say that the Cuban revolution wasn't all bad, and that difficult times call for drastic measures. But there were significant war crimes that were neither necessary nor beneficial to the cause of the Cuban people.

I would argue that Che's brand of radicalism ended up harming his cause more than helping it. FYI-- Che left Cuba for a variety of reasons, the most plausible being that the island was not big enough for both him and Castro. It's a complex and ugly story of a revolution gone wrong.

I wouldn't wear a t-shirt supporting the blockade either.
It's a sad story.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 4:32 PM on July 12, 2005


wow handshake, you are a real class act.

Thank you.


No, no, you misunderstand. He mean's you're an asshole. The equalization of the American flag with the icon of a murderer is, frankly, a little insulting, even for a place this liberal. Although clearly not everyone feels that way.
posted by jonson at 6:15 PM on July 12, 2005


Just to fan the flames a bit, some would say the American flag is the icon of a murderer.
posted by nightchrome at 7:20 PM on July 12, 2005


On second thought, I think I agree with what gesamtkunstwerk just said as far as Che (jonmc: it's just shorter to type, dude) goes. I stand by what I said about that article, though - it's just trash.

The equalization of the American flag with the icon of a murderer is, frankly, a little insulting, even for a place this liberal.

Orders of George Washington to General John Sullivan, at Head-Quarters May 31, 1779

The Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more.

I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed.

But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them.


We could also start listing some other things done by the United States - Henry Kissinger in particular would offer a wealth of material along these lines - but I think you get the idea.
posted by Ryvar at 7:24 PM on July 12, 2005


We could also start listing some other things done by the United States - Henry Kissinger in particular would offer a wealth of material along these lines - but I think you get the idea.

I was thinking Robert McNamara, but Henry Kissinger is a good choice, too.
posted by handshake at 8:20 PM on July 12, 2005


Yes, Ryvar -- the U.S. has done some terrible things. But one could quite easily make a case that it has been a force for good on the whole (though you can obviously quibble about the direction things have taken lately).

I don't think anyone could really make a case for Che or Castro's humanitarian contribution.

The equalization of the American flag with a murder is still insulting. I'm glad you think that you're being provocative, but go read Howard Zinn quietly in the corner and allow the rest of us be grateful we live in a place that, unlike Cuba, where they don't do things like dragoon people into prision for writing poetry or being homosexual.
posted by Heminator at 8:22 PM on July 12, 2005


...yet.
posted by nightchrome at 8:30 PM on July 12, 2005


Heh. My intent here isn't to be provocative but rather lay out a position and see how you attempt to attack it. Now that I know the answer is through ad hominem attacks, I think I'm done.
posted by Ryvar at 8:35 PM on July 12, 2005


allow the rest of us be grateful...

Exactly. Any more insulting comments about the flag and we take away your SUV and TiVo.
posted by missbossy at 8:38 PM on July 12, 2005


I agree with most of what you said, Ryvar, but that don’t make you any less of a troll.
posted by signal at 8:39 PM on July 12, 2005


Listen! And understand. That Guevaranator is out there. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are red.
posted by Snyder at 8:56 PM on July 12, 2005


"My intent here isn't to be provocative but rather lay out a position and see how you attempt to attack it."

Uh, Ryvar -- last I checked what you said there is the very definition of provocative. You defended the notion that the flag represents "murderers" by citing a two rather out of context examples. I pointed out the comparative ludicrous of what you're doing, especially in contrast to people like Castro or Che.

Was it the Howard Zinn comment? Is that ad hominem? I'd apologize that comment, but you're willful ignorance at the shortsighted and provocative nature of what you're saying I think makes it fair game.

It's like walking into a room with dogshit on your shoe and then announcing to everyone, "Whoa, it stinks in here!"

P.S. Not to pour gasoline on the fire, but I'd bet dollars to donuts you have read Zinn. Am I wrong?
posted by Heminator at 9:16 PM on July 12, 2005


I've read Che's diary of the cuban revolutionary war, the bolivian diaries and 'Guerilla Warfare'
The one thing I took away from all of that was :'Wow, here's someone with one *hell* of a big ego. That and he and Castro took over Cuba, went adventuring around the world 'spreading revolution', then finally ended up wandering around in Bolivia (somewhat naively, I might add) wondering when the revolution was going to show up out in the jungles when perhaps he should have been in the cities instead.
I guess today someone like Che would be identified as a coffee bar poseur, but back then he was the shit.
To bad bigger shit got dumped on him before he could make a difference.
I'm no commie, but neither was Che. I think that what was desired was as noble as any decent human being wishes for humanity, which is that we are all on the same playing field and endeavor to succeed regardless of financial benefit instead of because of it.
Now we just have a big crime family running the whole operation and everybody salutes the flag and doesn't think about what it really represents to the poor and oppressed in the world. I'll tell you this: It's not truth, freedom or democracy.
posted by mk1gti at 9:25 PM on July 12, 2005


Herminator, what exactly is your point? The USA isn't a murder because, though its foreign policy since the '50's has led to countless innocent deaths, they don't lock people up for being gay? And, honestly, I really laughed out loud when you said "on the whole the US is a force for good"--good for who, exactly?

There's nothing provocative about Ryvar's or handshake's comments. It's a good point that neither you have completely failed to address. The celebration of Che--particularly with its focus on violent revolution and freedom--is remarkably similar to the celebration of the USA. It really makes you wonder exactly what people are celebrating when they slap on those t-shirts. I get the feeling it's not the philosophical doctrine behind both icons. I almost want to say it is, actually, the violence inherent in both icons. Che is sexy precisely because he killed a bunch of people.
posted by nixerman at 10:06 PM on July 12, 2005


Heminator: not only are you wrong about Zinn, I've never even heard of the man before you said his name. Seriously. I have no idea who he is but I'll check wikipedia after I post this.

Secondly, to clarify, I wasn't trying to provoke you into attacking from the start - rather, after you'd already begun attacking I decided to lay out a position to see how you'd react to it. More to the point, the way in which you used the word provocative in that statement suggested that what you really meant was 'trolling.' In any case, you reacted with ad hominem and accusations of my intellectual association with someone I've never even heard of. I don't even know what to say to that other than that your actions will falsely color any arguments with merit by people who happen to agree with you. You do them a disservice in that.
posted by Ryvar at 10:17 PM on July 12, 2005


Ah, OK. I think my wife picked up a copy of "A People's History of the United States" a few years back - but I've certainly never read it nor knew who authored it. I'll check it out, but I'm not holding out much hope - it seems Zinn is associated heavily with Chomsky, of whom I have a very low opinion.
posted by Ryvar at 10:27 PM on July 12, 2005



posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:15 AM on July 13, 2005


well i saw the motorcycle diaries and i don't think you guys really know or ever understand the whole story! all that stuff about his bad side is exaggerated because of idea-prejudice.
posted by Satapher at 2:11 AM on July 13, 2005


you want a revolution? stick to your own field of view
posted by Satapher at 2:16 AM on July 13, 2005


Swerdloff said: How'd that t-shirt go? Oh yeah - "WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER! UNLESS YOU'RE A SOCIALIST GUERILLA[.]" Love that. Wonder when i'll see the hipsters wearing that one.

"No War but the Class War" has always been one of my favourite slogans.
posted by robcorr at 5:30 AM on July 13, 2005


So, is the real reason that some MeFi people don't like Che because they think he was a murderer or because so-called "hipsters" wear his image?

The word "murder" appears 7 times in this thread. The word "hipster" also appears 7 times.
posted by trey at 5:37 AM on July 13, 2005


The equalization of the American flag with the icon of a murderer is, frankly, a little insulting

did it hurt the flag's feelings?
posted by mcsweetie at 6:27 AM on July 13, 2005


Well, it's not that I don't like Che, we used to romp, dude!
But it's when some hipster dons the sunglasses, the beret and the goatee and mustache, hanging out in the coffee bar, talkin' about how he's a 'revolutionary' and all, well that pretty much puts a damper on things for everyone.
Oh wait, that was the fifties and bohemianism. . .
Maybe if they read his books they would get a better understanding of him. See my posting above re my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I think he would be a fascinating person to talk to, but I can't help but feel he would be high-fiving every guy that walked by and learing at all the chicks, all while taking a half-interested 'I'm better than you 'cause I overthrew a country' kinda air. . .
While blowing cigar smoke in your face, of course, because you're a 'decadent capitilist running dog.'
posted by mk1gti at 6:56 AM on July 13, 2005


Touché.

:)
posted by Drexen at 9:54 AM on July 13, 2005


Well, then I doff my cap to you Ryvar.
posted by Heminator at 10:34 AM on July 13, 2005


Heminator writes "I don't think anyone could really make a case for Che or Castro's humanitarian contribution. "

Cuban health indicators:
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 75.0/79.0
Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2002): 67.1/69.5
Child mortality m/f (per 1000): 8/6
Adult mortality m/f (per 1000): 137/87
Total health expenditure per capita (Intl $, 2002): 236
Total health expenditure as % of GDP (2002): 7.5

United States Health Indicators:
Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 75.0/80.0
Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2002): 67.2/71.3
Child mortality m/f (per 1000): 9/7
Adult mortality m/f (per 1000): 139/82
Total health expenditure per capita (Intl $, 2002): 5,274
Total health expenditure as % of GDP (2002): 14.6

Source: World Health organization (Cuba, USA).

Post-revolutionary Cuba's educational record is also comparable to developed countries (and far better than any of its neighbors) in terms of literacy, access to higher education and other indicators. All that on the top of a 40 year long embargo.

As a side-note, during the post-9/11 scare, the US Government (including the President) briefly accused Cuba of producing WMDs in the form of biological weapons (the accusation, never retracted, was forgotten amid protests from many countries, including regular American allies like Spain and Mexico). The American people (and press) was probably not prepared to learn the truth (known for years throughout Latin America and Europe): Cuba is one of the most advanced research center for tropical medicine in the world and a major vaccine producer and exporter.

All of the above is not an apology for Cuban Government disrespect for human rights, just a refutation of the implied complete lack of humanitarian contribution by the Cuban Revolution and government.
posted by nkyad at 12:07 PM on July 13, 2005


How 'bout a metafilter meetup in Havana someday, we can all go out for 'Hemingway Daquiris' at Hemingway's old haunt. . .
posted by mk1gti at 1:27 PM on July 13, 2005


Ah Metafilter, where vague ideas and ad hominems constitute a counter-argument.
posted by vodkadin at 12:00 AM on July 14, 2005


"*nothing rankles me more than hearing educated white american liberals defending castro. when I see people in miami building homemade rafts to get to havana, maybe I'll buy it."
No, nothing rankles you more than hipsters. Or is that pretentiousness? Or political correctness?
Just because a bunch of Batista's cronies in Miami think that getting their asses kicked was the worst thing ever doesn't mean that Cuba's not better off under Castro than it was under the mob and sugar plantations.
Guevara wasn't a saint. His "New Man" doctrine was fundamentally flawed, as it required a totalitarian ideology. He killed people.
But yeah, look at the advances of Cuba versus, say, Haiti. Hell, even Jamaican politics are fucked.
Nothing rankles my ass more than a bunch of ignorant ideologues holding forth on revolution without taking a look at its causes and outcomes.
But hell, yo soy Sandino. Yo soy Zapata. Yo soy Sandanista, yo soy Zapatista.
posted by klangklangston at 8:46 AM on July 14, 2005


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