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Smithsonian Magazine Sanctifies Che Guevara

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

“The image that lasted from the trip (to Cuba) was from the museum in Santa Clara, where the photograph showed Che Guevara smiling as he fed the baby Ernesto with a milk bottle.”

Aaaw….sniffle…sniffle.   I’m telling you that Che Guevara was a veritable Mr. Mom, with shades of Ward Cleaver and Fred Mac Murray as Steven Douglas in "My Three Sons"! 

You see, amigos: an author for recently went on a motorcycle tour of Cuba with Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s son Ernesto as tour guide. The passage above pretty much sums up the hard-nosed “insights” provided by the article.

“Santa Clara was the site of Che’s greatest victory during the Cuban revolutionary war of 1956-59,” the Smithsonian author writes about the utterly bogus Cuban guerrilla “war.”  “It was then the crossroads of the island’s transportation system and a key strategic goal in the armed rebellion led by Fidel Castro against the U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

Consider that in an article written from and about a serious sh*thole of a Stalinist nation, whose article subject (Che Guevara) co-founded a regime that jailed and tortured political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin’s during the Great Terror, and murdered more Cubans in his first three years in power than Hitler murdered Germans during his first six –consider that in such an article the word “dictator” only appears in relation to Cuba’s leader prior to the mass-torturing, mass-murdering Stalinist regime.

In fact, the word “dictator” only appears in relation to the Cuba that boasted a higher standard of living than half of Europe and was inundated with more immigrants per-capita than is the U.S. today—and this at a time when Cubans were perfectly free to emigrate from Cuba with all of their possessions and could get U.S. visas for the asking. All during that time more Americans lived in Cuba than did Cubans in the U.S. 

“Che could not rest while there was injustice still in the world,” the Smithsonian author approvingly quotes the curator of Cuba’s Che Guevara museum. “Within 25 months (of landing in Cuba from Mexico) the odd couple (Fidel and Che) were in control of Cuba,” continues the Smithsonian author, “with Che given the job of overseeing the execution of Batista’s most vicious thugs.”

Let’s have a look at some of these “vicious thugs” shall we, and from an eye-witness not beholden to a Stalinist regime- after thorough vetting to assure his sympathy for the Stalinist regime-- for his “journalism” visa, (as was the Smithsonian author).

A Spanish priest named Javier Arzuaga had the misfortune to preside over the Havana parish that included the city’s La Cabana Fortress which Che converted into Cuba’s firing-squad and torture-central in January 1959.

During his painful rounds father Arzuaga was shocked to find a 16-year-old boy named Ariel Lima among the condemned “war-criminals” crammed into the dungeons and torture chambers. The priest described the boy as totally dazed with his teeth constantly chattering and probably mentally-handicapped.

Astoundingly, father Arzuaga managed to get an audience with executioner-in-chief Che Guevara, where he pleaded the boy’s case. “Quickly I realized my pleas were pointless," recalls the priest. “The harder I pleaded for his compassion, the wider and crueler became Che Guevara’s famous sneer.”

“OK, fine. We’ll take it up tonight at the Tribunal of Appeals,” Che finally said while continuing to sneer at the distraught priest.

But what Che did at the “appeals hearing,” (that was attended by little Ariel’s single mother) was confirm the death sentence and schedule the firing squad murder for that very night.

As they left the ‘hearing,' “Che was walking with his usual entourage when he noticed me,” recalls father Arzuaga. “He sneered again and waved hello. Suddenly I saw Ariel’s hysterical mother run in front of Che and throw herself on the ground.”

“Woman,” Guevara laughed at her. “Go see that guy,” and Che turned and pointed at me,” writes father Arzuaga. Padre Javier is a professional at consoling people,” Che chuckled. “Then he looked over at me laughing. 'She’s all yours, padre.'"

“I walked over and helped the devastated women who had fallen on the ground sobbing uncontrollably,” recalls the priest. “'Put yourself in God’s hands, Mam,' I prayed. 'Try and rise above this tragedy. God will help you learn to live without your son.'”

“That night (the mentally–handicapped) Ariel Lima was still in a totally dazed condition as they tied him to the execution stake,” wrote father Arzuaga, “totally unaware he was about to be murdered.”

“FUEGO!”  And the volley shattered Ariel’s little quivering body.

No doubt Che was watching and gloating from his window, as was his custom. Che's second-story office in La Cabana had a section of wall torn out so he could watch his darling firing-squads at work.

“My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any surrendered enemy that falls in my hands! We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm!”

Alas, the “acrid odor of gunpowder and blood” rarely reached Che Guevara’s nostrils from actual combat. It always came from the close-range murder of bound, gagged or blindfolded men (and boys).

Rigoberto Hernandez was 17 when Che's soldiers dragged him from his cell in La Cabana, jerked his head back to gag him, and started dragging him to the stake. Little "Rigo" pleaded his innocence to the very bloody end. But his pleas were garbled and difficult to understand. His struggles while being gagged and bound to the stake were also awkward. The boy had been a janitor in a Havana high school and was mentally retarded. His single mother had pleaded his case with hysterical sobs. She had begged, beseeched and finally proven to his "prosecutors" that it was a case of mistaken identity. Her only son, a boy in such a condition, couldn't possibly have been "a CIA agent planting bombs."

"FUEGO!" and the firing squad volley shattered Rigo's little bent body as he moaned and struggled awkwardly against his bounds, blindfold and gag.

“Certainly we execute!” boasted Che Guevara to the UN General Assembly Dec. 1964.  “And we will continue executing as long as it is necessary!” Those executions (murders, actually; execution implies a judicial process) had reached about 16,000 by the time of Che Guevara’s boast, the equivalent, given the relative populations, of over half a million executions in the U.S. (This figure comes from The Black Book of Communism, by the way, written by French scholars and published in English by Harvard University Press, neither outfit exactly a bastion of “embittered Cuban exiles with an axe to grind.” 

Needless to add, the Smithsonian—though billing itself as “the world’s largest education and research complex”—somehow omitted all of the thoroughly-documented items above regarding their article subject-- in favor of Che Guevara with a baby bottle.

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