Ashley Herzog
On the eve of the French Revolution, the aristocrats inhabiting the palace of Versailles enjoyed, “as an ironic lark, sporting the clothing of the working classes,” according to writer Charles Stenson. These pampered elites were undisturbed by the fact that their peasant getups mocked the real peasants, many of whom were dying as a result of the elites’ self-serving policies.

These clueless aristocrats have descendents in spoiled college kids who think it’s trendy to idolize Communist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Che’s face is emblazoned on T-shirts, he was glamorized by the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries,” and Time magazine described him as “a potent symbol of rebellion.” But few of the hipsters who admire Che realize what he actually stood for.

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According to Cuban-American writer Humberto Fontova, during the first few years of Fidel Castro’s takeover of Cuba, Che was “second in command [and] chief executioner for a regime that jailed and tortured more political prisoners as a percentage of population than Stalin’s and executed more people as a percentage of population in its first three years in power than Hitler’s.”

Che wrote that “the solutions to the world’s problems lie behind the Iron Curtain”— and he was willing to kill anyone who threatened his Socialist Paradise.

Che’s stock trade was, in Fontova’s words, “the mass murder of defenseless men and boys.” In a typical incident (one you won’t see in “The Motorcycle Diaries,” which portrays Che as a sexually potent idealist who just wants to save the poor), he ordered the execution of a 17-year-old boy suspected of political subversion. When the boy’s mother, Rosa Hernandez, tearfully begged the Communists to release him, Che invited her into his office.

“Come on in, Señora,” Hernandez recalls him saying. As she listened, he picked up his phone and demanded that the Communists execute her son that night. Then Che’s minions dragged her away.

A former prisoner named Pierre San Martin described his experience in one of Che’s prisons to a Miami newspaper.

“32 of us were crammed into a cell,” he said. “16 of us would stand while the other sixteen tried to sleep on the cold filthy floor. We took shifts that way. Actually, we considered ourselves lucky. After all, we were alive. Dozens were led from the cells to the firing squad daily…One morning Che’s guards shoved a new prisoner into our cell. His face was bruised and smeared with blood. He was a boy, couldn’t have been much older than 12.”


Ashley Herzog

Ashley Herzog can be reached at aebristow85@gmail.com.


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