June 14th marked Ernesto Che Guevara’s 85th birthday. Yet amazingly, no celebrations were reported by the Obama campaign precinct-captain who in 2008 decorated her Houston office with his famous visage.
And this precinct-captain was not your usual bubble-headed Che Groupie who seemed to recall the awesome dude opening for the Foo Fighters at Lollapalooza. No, this Che fan was middle-aged woman born in Cuba where she lived during a period when Che Guevara was Cuba's chief executioner and second in command. At the time, Cuba had the highest political incarceration and execution rate on earth, far surpassing that of their Soviet mentors and suitors. Chile’s much-reviled Pinochet regime never even approached it.
Pictures subsequently surfaced of Obama campaign worker Maria Isabel at several Obama campaign functions; arm in arm with Barack, in a bear hug with Michelle Obama, and apparently, very heavily involved in the Obama campaign. Some background on her hero:
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, mooching off women, staying in flophouses and scribbling unreadable poetry.
Che was a Revolutionary Ringo Starr. By pure chance, he fell in with the right bunch at just the right time and rode their coattails to fame. His very name "Che" was imparted by the Cubans who hob-knobbed with him in Mexico. Argentines use the term "Che" much like Michael Moore fans use "dude." The Cubans noticed Ernesto Guevara using it so they pasted it to him. And it stuck.
Today his famous photo by Alberto Korda is reputed to be the most reproduced print in the world, emblazoned on everything from infant wear to super model Gisele Bundchen’s derriere. Even the Pope, on his visit to Cuba in 1998, spoke approvingly about Che's "ideals." Che owes all this hype and flummery to the century's top media-manipulator Fidel Castro, who also dispatched him deliberately to his death. As those who know him have always said: "Fidel only praises the dead."
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.