Acton Institute Powerblog

Don’t Cry For Che Guevara

Share this article:
Join the Discussion:

Cuban–American author Humberto Fontova has a new book out titled, Exposing The Real Che Guevara and the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him. Che worship is something I have been fascinated with for quite some time, especially among the young Americans who are hyper consumers. Investor’s Business Daily ran an interview of Fontova concerning his new book on July 10 and here are some essential quotes by Fontova from the interview.

“My dad doesn’t like to take orders. There’s this myth that anyone leaving Fidel Castro’s revolution had to be a millionaire, a gangster or a crook. All he wanted was to not be a slave.”

“Cuba in 1961 had 6.3 million people. According to Freedom House, 500,000 Cubans have passed through Cuba’s prison systems, proportionately more than went through Stalin’s Gulag. At one time in 1961, 350,000 Cubans (were) jailed for political crimes and 1 out of 18 Cubans was a political prisoner.”

“He had an arrogant nature. I interviewed people who visited him and tried to save their sons from firing squad executions without trial. He liked to toy with them. He liked to pick up the phone in front of weeping mothers and bark out, “Execute the Fernandez boy right now!”

“They have big notions, especially the young kids who see Che as a hero — that he is a revolutionary, that he fought “The Man.” No, sir, I say, he was “The Man” that rebellious people fought against. You got it completely backwards.”

The disinformation out there about Che is staggering. Che was unsuccessful leading Marxist revolutions in Africa and Latin America, so much so Fidel Castro sent him on a suicide mission. He was a tyrant and murderer. And even one book against one tyrant and murder is a book against all of them.

Religious Cubans also suffer from the oppression of a hostile regime just 90 miles from the American shore. If the Che t-shirt culture reminds of us anything it’s the fact and sadness of the billions of people who live under totalitarian oppression are often forgotten. Unfortunately the evil Stalinist – Che ideology is not just forgotten but knowingly and sometimes unknowingly propped up by copycat consumers. In fact the National Council of Churches and other like minded organizations have defended and propped up Castro’s Cuba.

In contrast Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) said, “We must stand with the oppressed rather than their oppressors and defend human dignity by supporting those who toil for freedom.”

Ray Nothstine is opinion editor of the the North State Journal in Raleigh, North Carolina. Previously, he was managing editor of Acton Institute's Religion & Liberty quarterly. In 2005 Ray graduated with a Master of Divinity (M.Div) degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky. He also holds a B.A. in Political Science from The University of Mississippi in Oxford.


  • leena kilani

    allow me to say : you can’t think right.
    when someone says that he can insure your life is gonna be like others ; that’s a good person.
    when someone say that no one will be poor ; that IS a GREAT person and i would be a follower to that person .
    as long as they can guarantee I will not be poor or in need for charity and we all would be even and nobody is gonna take my rights away .
    though it has some faults it is better than what is going on now !!!

  • His Excellency

    You, sir, are clearly parroting Castro dictatorship propaganda, which is not surprising, seeing that Fidel Castro, himself, once said, “Propaganda is the heart of our struggle. We must never abandon propaganda.” Anyway, you are clearly wrong about Che, Castro and Cuba, both pre-Castro and contemporary. For starters, under Batista, there was no massive illiteracy nor was there massive starvation. Yes, Batista was politically corrupt, but that did not affect Cuba’s socioeconomic structure during the 1950s. The reality was that in a mere fifty years since a war of independence that cost Cuba nearly a fifth of its population, Cuba managed nearly 80% literacy. In fact, education was over a fifth of Cuba’s budget during the 1950s. So not only were a majority of Cubans literate before Castro, but they were also free to read any material without censorship from the government, which they can’t do now. Also, a UN report from 1957-1958 noted that Cubans consumed around 83 lbs of meat by average annually, making Cuba the third-largest protein consumer in Latin America. By contrast, since 1962, a Communist-mandated food ration system for all citizens in Cuba has daily food rations that are smaller than the rations that the Spanish monarchy mandated that Cuban slaves had on a daily basis in 1842, at a time when Cuba was a Spanish colony. And Che did not only execute 100 “Batista men”. He executed around 14,000 innocent Cubans, most of whom had no connections to Batista. In fact, many of those Cubans murdered by Che even fought against Batista. So it’s ridiculous to say that opposition to Castro and Che automatically means pro-Batista. Under the Castro dictatorship, during the 1960s alone, there were 500,000 political prisoners in Communist Cuba’s prison system. This was out of a then-total country population of 6.4 million. That meant that one in fifteen Cubans was a political prisoner. So please stop the Communist revisionist propaganda.