Praise for Che ignores ethics

Praise for Che ignores ethics

Jack Vander Lugt

Each year, there are celebrations across the world in honor of a famous revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who claimed, “To execute a man we don’t need proof of his guilt. We only need proof that it’s necessary to execute him. It’s that simple.”

These celebrations range from simple parties to national holidays. Even in the United States, there are college students and Americans who proudly wear shirts with Che’s face plastered on the front.

To them, Che Guevara was a bearded revolutionary darling, whose exploits against 20th- century American imperialism crafted him into an immortal Christ-like being wrapped in shrouds of mystery and daringly selfless acts of heroism.

In reality, he was a military leader who led small bands of troops in guerrilla warfare against countries around Latin America.

He is most famous for being an integral part in the Cuban Revolution of 1953-1959 as Fidel Castro’s second-in-command and was eventually head of Cuba’s most notorious prison, La Cabana, during which he sent hundreds of people to their deaths for being “class enemies.”

The Telegraph reports that “There have been some 16,000 such executions since the Castro brothers, Guevara and their merry men swept into Havana in January 1959. About 100,000 Cubans who have fallen foul of the regime have been jailed. Two million others have succeeded in escaping Castro’s socialist paradise, while an estimated 30,000 have died in the attempt.”

The former quote, and the following quote both point to a heartless, merciless fiend who killed without conscious: “My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood…Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any surrendered enemy that falls in my hands! With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!”

Should people really be celebrating a man who so obviously believed in the age-old adage, “The ends justify the means?”

In these times of political strife and uncertainty, I understand the need to look to heroes for inspiration and hope. Empowered men and women that stood up for what they believed in, and against all odds succeeded, are literally what this country is built upon.

However, I do not believe in looking to violent bloodthirsty revolutionaries who had no care for justice or the due-process of law.

Che Guevara was an important part of a violent and dangerous revolution, and ultimately was captured and killed by Bolivian soldiers, but his memory lives on.

Does Che Guevara really deserve this immortality, or is it some fluke due to one famous photograph of him, named “Guerrillero Heroico,” taken by Alberto Korda on March 5, 1960?

Arguably his most famous picture, its likeness appears in murals, on t-shirts and even on coffee mugs. Was that picture the catalyst in crafting Che’s myth? I believe it was.

Che himself sums all of his violent acts as, “Hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become.”

Instead of celebrating the man—a modern day Robespierre—who caused so many innocents to die, let’s remember the victims of his cruel campaign, the victims of the Cuban Revolution and the following regime.