Humberto Fontova
You just knew Che Guevara would show up as an icon of the union demonstrators in Chicago. Why? Well, let’s consider the factors in this demonstration by union-educators who were mostly educated by other union-educators.

*Che Guevara outlawed trade unions. Then-- at Soviet gun-point-- he herded all recalcitrant Cuban union-members into forced-labor camps and sent their rebellious union-leaders to the firing squad.

* The union members clamoring for more union privileges in Chicago while wearing t-shirts hailing this murderous Stalinist union-buster and hailing him as a “role model” are mostly products of America’s public schools-- and keen to continue the glowing tradition abundantly evident in their own education.

Don't look for this in the MSM, on The History Channel, much less in Chicago schoolbooks, but among the first, the most militant, and the most widespread opposition groups to the Stalinism Soviet satraps Che Guevara and Fidel Castro imposed on Cuba came from Cuba’s pre-Castro labor unions.

And who can blame them? Here's a report from the International Labor Organization circa 1957: "One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class," it starts. "Cuban workers are more unionized (proportional to the population) than U.S. workers. The average wage for an 8- hour day in Cuba in 1957 is higher than for workers in Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany. Cuban labor receives 66.6 per cent of gross national income. In the U.S. the figure is 70 per cent, in Switzerland 64 per cent. 44 per cent of Cubans are covered by Social legislation, a higher percentage than in the U.S."

In 1958, Cuba had a higher per capita income than Austria or Japan and Cuban industrial workers earned had the eighth-highest wages in the world. In the 1950s, Cuban stevedores earned more per hour than their counterparts in New Orleans and San Francisco. At the time Cubans owned more cars per-capita than half of Europeans and THREE TIMES as many per- capita as Japanese citizens.

Then came Castroism. In a TV speech on June 26, 1961, when Soviet satrap Che Guevara reigned as Cuba's "Minister of Industries," he proclaimed: "The Cuban workers have to adjust to a collectivist social order--and by no means can they go on strike!"

And why should they? After all, at Soviet gunpoint, all of Cuba’s unions had become departments of the Stalinist regime, hence owned “by the people” hence “public.”

Humberto Fontova

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