When a comedian‘s “brilliant” witticism bombs he'll often complain to the "dumb" audience that: "The irony is lost on you people!"
In this spirit of “lost irony” I give you (pro) Michael-Brown demonstrators wearing Che Guevara T-Shirts at the recent Ferguson demonstrations.
Why “lost irony” some readers might ask?
“Don’t Shoot!” was the Ferguson demonstrator slogan/chant right? Well, upon his very first (and very brief) experience with something properly describable as combat, the world’s most celebrated “guerrilla fighter” actually snuck away from the firefight, crawled towards the Bolivian soldiers doing the firing—then as soon as he spotted two of them at a distance, stood and yelled: "Don't Shoot! I'm Che! I'm worth more to you alive than dead!" Among Cuba-watchers Che’s whimpering plea ranks right up there with Roberto Duran’s famous “No Mas!” to Sugar Ray Leonard in the pantheon of sniveling surrenders.
My very strong guess is that the Ferguson demonstrators are utterly unaware of this delicious historical morsel. My very strong guess is that they invoked the ghost of Che Guevara as a symbol of liberation, especially the liberation of “oppressed” blacks in formerly capitalist Cuba by the “courageous civil rights champion” Che Guevara. Indeed, this invocation has a long and illustrious history among black “spokepersons.” Unsurprisingly some of these are Ferguson gate-crashers.
“Viva Fidel!” bellowed Jesse Jackson while arm-in-arm with Fidel Castro at the University of Havana in 1984. "Viva Che Guevara!" he yelled again with fists raised high. "Long live our cry of freedom!"
"He (Jesse Jackson) is a great personality," reciprocated a beaming Fidel Castro, "a brilliant man. Jackson's main characteristic is honesty. He is sincere and there is no hint of demagoguery in his speech.” Takes one to know one, right Fidel?
Regarding Che’s “courage,” please see above. Now on to Guevara’s view of blacks:
“The negro is indolent and lazy, and spends his money on frivolities and drink.” This comes straight from Che Guevara’s diaries, better known subsequently as The Motorcycle Diaries. But for some reason Robert Redford saw fit to omit this charming observation from his charming movie on the young Ernesto Guevara.
In fact, many Cuban blacks suffered longer incarceration in Castro and Che’s dungeons and torture chambers than Nelson Mandela suffered in South Africa's (relatively) comfortable prisons. In fact, these Cubans qualify as the longest-suffering political prisoners in modern history. Eusebio Penalver, Ignacio Cuesta Valle, Antonio Lopez Munoz, Ricardo Valdes Cancio, and many other Cuban blacks suffered almost thirty years in Castro's prisons. These men (and many women too, by the way, black and white) suffered their tortures 90 miles from U.S. shores.
But you’ve never heard of them, right? And yet from CNN to NBC, from Reuters to the AP, from ABC to NPR, Castro’s Stalinist-Apartheid fiefdom hosts an abundance of U.S. and international press bureaus and crawls with their intrepid “investigative reporters.”
On the other hand, you can’t swing a dead cat in the media without hitting the name Nelson Mandela. Interesting how that works.
“Reporters in Havana are either insensitive to the pain of the opposition or in clear complicity with the government.” (Black Cuban torture-victim Jorge Antunez in the Miami Herald 8/7/2013)
During a press conference shortly upon Castro and Che’s entry into Havana in 1959 Luis Pons, a prominent black Cuban businessman, asked Che Guevara, what his revolution planned on doing to help blacks. Che answered: “We’re going to do for blacks exactly what blacks did for our revolution. By which I mean: nothing.”
Che was much too modest. "Nothing" is not exactly accurate for the Castro regime’s treatment of Cuba's blacks. In fact, these lily-white icons ( Che and Fidel) of American black “leaders” forcibly overthrew a Cuban government where blacks served as President of the Senate, Minister of Agriculture, Chief of Army, and Head of State (Fulgencio Batista), a grandson of slaves who was born in a palm-roofed shack. Not that you'd guess any of this from the liberals' exclusive educational source on pre-Castro Cuba: Godfather II.
Today the prison population in Stalinist/Apartheid Cuba is 90 percent black while only 9 percent of the ruling Stalinist party is black. "The Cuban government tries to fool the world with siren songs depicting racial equality in our country,” explains Jorge Antunez’ sister. “But it is all a farce, as I and my family can attest, having suffered from the systematic racism directed at us by Castro's regime. Cuban blacks suffer the scourge of racial hatred every day. The beatings by the police are always accompanied by racial epithets. They set dogs on us. The only thing we have to thank the Cuban revolution for, is for restoring the yoke of slavery that our ancestors lived under."
It says a lot about the current condition of U.S. education that black civil rights “leaders” habitually hail a regime that jailed and tortured the longest suffering black political prisoners in the history of the Western Hemisphere.
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.