Saturday, October 08, 2005
Babalu Blog remembers Che Guevara
-- his crimes, that is:
Ten Shots At Che Guevara
By Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Che Guevara fans are preparing to commemorate one more anniversary of the revolutionary’s death, which took place thirty-eight years ago at the Yuro ravine in Bolivia. It’s an appropriate time to address ten myths that keep Guevara’s cult alive.
The last time I visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York, an American student wearing a Che Guevara T-Shirt and a beret caught my eye (the fact that Nicole Kidman happened to walk in at that very moment may have had something to do with my noticing him). I asked him politely what exactly he admired so much about that man. Here are the ten reasons he mentioned— and my response:
1. HE WAS AGAINST CAPITALISM. In fact, Guevara was for state capitalism. He opposed the wage labor system of “appropriating surplus value” (in Marxist jargon) only when it came to private corporations. But he turned the “appropriation of the workers’ surplus value” into a state system. One example of this is the forced labor camps he supported, starting with Guanahacabibes in 1961.
2. HE MADE CUBA INDEPENDENT. In fact, he engineered the colonization of Cuba by a foreign power. He was instrumental in turning Cuba into a temporary beachhead of Soviet nuclear power (he sealed the deal in Yalta). As the person responsible for the “industrialization” of Cuba he failed to end the country’s dependency on sugar.
8. HIS ADVENTURES WERE A CELEBRATION OF LIFE. Instead, they were an orgy of death. He executed many innocent people in Santa Clara, in central Cuba, where his column was based in the last stage of the armed struggle. After the triumph of the revolution, he was in charge of “La Cabaña” prison for half a year. He ordered the execution of hundreds of prisoners—former Batista men, journalists, businessmen, and others. A few witnesses, including Javier Arzuaga, who was the chaplain of “La Cabaña”, and José Vilasuso, who was a member of the body in charge of the summary judicial process, recently gave me their painful testimonies.
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