Last week on his show Piers Morgan Tonight, the smitten host gushed that his impromptu guest Charlie Sheen (before his complete meltdown) was "the Che Guevara of television" and "one of life’s great characters."
What a wild and crazy guy, that Che Guevara! CNN was the first U.S. network Fidel Castro bestowed with a Havana Bureau, so Morgan’s epic stupidity might be superseded by other factors here. And Sheen’s meltdown has greatly accelerated since then. But Piers Morgan’s stupidity still presents an irresistible lure. So let's get started. .
The puritan Stalinist Piers Morgan equates with Charlie Sheen initiated Cuba's forced-labor camp system. "We send (to these prison-camps) people who have committed crimes against revolutionary morals,” warned the KGB-tutored Che Guevara, whose definition of such "offenses" proved pretty sweeping. In fact they read like Charlie’s Sheen’s daily planner.
Che Guevara’s first decree when his rebels captured the town of Sancti Spiritus in central Cuba during the last days of the skirmishing against Batista's army, outlawed alcohol, gambling and regulated relations between the sexes. Popular outcry and Fidel's sharp political sense made him rescind the order.
"I have no home, no woman, no parents, no brothers and no friends," wrote this Wild and Crazy Guy in his diaries. "My friends are friends only so long as they think as I do politically."
"We punish individuals who refuse to participate in collective effort and who lead an antisocial and parasitic life," read Beria and Vishinky's charges against millions of Stalin's victims. "We punish individualists and antisocial miscreants!"
"Individualism must disappear!" thundered Beria’s disciple Che Guevara (this idol of "do-your-own-thing" Bohemians) in a 1961 speech in Havana. Interestingly, the cheeky Ernesto Guevara's signature on his early correspondence read "Stalin II." In a famous speech in 1961 the “party-animal” Che Guevara denounced the very "spirit of rebellion" as "reprehensible." "Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates" commanded Guevara. "Instead they must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service."
And woe to those youths "who stayed up late at night and thus reported to work (government forced-labor) tardily." Youth, wrote the party-animal Guevara, "should learn to think and act as a mass." "Those who chose their own path" (as in growing long hair and listening to Yankee-Imperialist Rock & Roll) were denounced as worthless "lumpen" and "delinquents." In his famous speech Che Guevara even vowed, "to make individualism disappear from Cuba! It is criminal to think of individuals!"
Tens of thousands of Cuban youths learned that Che Guevara's admonitions were more than idle bombast. In Che Guevara the hundreds of Soviet KGB and East German STASI "consultants" who flooded Cuba in the early 60's, found an extremely eager acolyte. By the mid 60's the crime of a "rocker" lifestyle or effeminate behavior got thousands of youths yanked off Cuba's streets and parks by secret police and dumped in prison camps with "Work Will Make Men Out of You" in bold letters above the gate and with machine gunners posted on the watchtowers. The initials for these camps were UMAP, not GULAG, but the conditions were quite similar.
Today the world's largest Che Guevara image adorns Cuba's headquarters for its KGB-trained secret police. Piers Morgan equates him with Charlie Sheen, who seems delighted with the compliment.
Almost all who actually interacted with Ernesto Guevara (and are now free to express their views without fear of firing squads or torture chambers) know that the Big Question regarding Ernesto, the most genuinely fascinating aspect of his life, is:
How did such a dreadful bore, incurable doofus, sadist and epic idiot attain such iconic status?
The answer is that this psychotic and thoroughly unimposing vagrant named Ernesto Guevara had the magnificent fortune of linking up with modern history's top press agent, Fidel Castro, who for going on half a century now, has had the mainstream media anxiously scurrying to his every beck and call and eating out of his hand like trained pigeons. Had Ernesto Guevara De La Serna y Lynch not linked up with Raul and Fidel Castro in Mexico City that fateful summer of 1955, everything points to Ernesto continuing his life of a traveling hobo, panhandling, mooching off women, staying in flophouses and scribbling unreadable poetry.
The one genuine accomplishment in Che Guevara's life was the mass-murder of defenseless men and boys. Under his own gun dozens died. Under his orders thousands crumpled. At everything else Che Guevara failed abysmally, even comically.
Retired CIA officers revealed to me how Fidel Castro himself, via the Bolivian Communist party, constantly fed the CIA info on Che's whereabouts in Bolivia. "Not even an aspirin," instructed Cuba's Maximum Leader to his Bolivian comrades, meaning that Bolivia's Communists were not to assist Che in any way — "not even with an aspirin," if Che complained of a headache.
If Charlie Sheen were an insufferable dork, looser, sadist, puritan along with an epic doofus in every field of human endeavor-- who somehow landed the world’s top publicist and agent--I'd say Piers Morgan has a point.
Whatever the case, Sheen had better hope his agent is a bit more loyal.
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.