Ground control to Andy Serkis: Che Guevara had a very bloody (and typically cowardly) hand in one of the major anti-insurgency wars in this hemisphere. Most of these Cuban anti-communist guerrillas were executed on the spot upon capture, a Che specialty. For my book I interviewed several of the lucky (genuine) rebels who managed to escape the slaughter. "We fought with the fury of cornered beasts," I titled the chapter, using the phrase one used to describe their desperate freedom fight against the Soviet occupation of Cuba through their Stalinist proxies the Castro brothers and Che Guevara.
Mass murder was the order in Cuba's countryside. It was the only way to decimate so many rebels. These country folk went after the Castroites with a ferocity that saw Fidel and Che running to their Soviet sugar daddies and tugging their pants in panic. Carlos Machado was 15 years old in 1963 when the bullets from the Communist firing squad shattered his body. His twin brother and father collapsed beside Carlos from the same volley. All had resisted Castro and Che’s theft of their humble family farm, all refused blindfolds and all died sneering at their Communist murderers, as did thousands of their valiant countrymen.
“Here’s one other thing that sets Rise apart: it’s smart. This isn’t just an angry ape who wants more bananas, but a brave and canny hero who, having been given super intelligence by his scientist guardian, resolves to use it for the advancement of his species. He’s a rebel, a fighter, a simian Che Guevara.”
Ground control to Director Wyatt: the men who captured your “canny” hero with “super intelligence” in Bolivia seem convinced he was unable to apply a compass reading to a map. Under Che’s own gun dozens of defenseless men and boys died. Under his orders thousands crumpled, mostly bound and gagged. At everything else Che Guevara failed abysmally, even comically. During his Bolivian “guerrilla” campaign, Che split his forces whereupon they got hopelessly lost and bumbled around, half-starved, half-clothed and half-shod, without any contact with each other for 6 months before being wiped out. They spent much of the time walking in circles and were usually within a mile of each other. During this blundering they often engaged in ferocious firefights against each other. “You hate to laugh at anything associated with Che, who murdered so many defenseless men and boys,” says Felix Rodriguez, the Cuban-American CIA officer who played a key role in tracking him down in Bolivia. “But when it comes to Che as “guerrilla” you simply can’t help but guffaw.”
Here’s Rupert Wyatt from a recent interview: “I think the (film directors) Christopher Nolans of the world have really allowed filmmakers to explore things in a more…thoughtful way. If I have the opportunity to make further films, the hope that I have is to really explore wonderful themes.”
Ground Control to Director Wyatt: Thank your lucky stars you were born in England in 1972 instead of in Cuba around 1940. Your symbol of freedom jailed and exiled most of Cuba's best writers, poets and filmmakers while converting Cuba's press and cinema–at Soviet-gunpoint–into propaganda agencies for a Stalinist regime.
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.