Che Guevara: Not a Saint, Not a Butcher

Martín Guevara*

Ernesto “Che” Guevara

HAVANA TIMES — Today, I had something of a domestic dispute with an on-line acquaintance who asked me what I thought about my uncle Ernesto “Che” Guevara having been a “butcher.” I tackled the issue more or less saying that, generally speaking, we had to recognize he had been an exceptional person, but that he was ultimately a human being and not the triumphal statue he was turned into.

Neither Saint nor Butcher

The first to suffer as a result of this kind of thinking is the person we’ve turned into a myth. Doing this completely trivializes the effort and the sacrifices that person made in order to acquire each of their supposed virtues.

Ernesto was many things before becoming the man who headed down the road of the “guerrilla,” a path he was persuaded to follow by the ambition and insensitivity of the world’s powerful and their refusal to distribute the planet’s wealth in a more equitable, fraternal and even democratic fashion.

He was a great dreamer and romantic, a lone-wolf, a tireless traveler, an intellectual, a connoisseur of high French, Spanish and Latin American poetry, a refined writer, a doctor who, despite never having practiced officially, healed more people in the jungles, leper colonies and places in Cuba’s Sierra Maestra he spent time in than most professional doctors throughout their lives.

He was a person who stood out among politicians owing to what I consider to be his most outstanding feature: he practiced what he preached. In general terms, I do not agree with any of his ideas. I am not a communist. I hate it when others meddle in my private affairs. The freedom of the State, like that of anyone and anything, ends where my rights begin.

I condemn any kind of interference in the life of individuals on behalf of the interests of the masses, and I am totally opposed to any kind of violence – my uncle’s and, of course, that of his enemies (and we can agree that, since 1967, more people have died as a result of political violence, wars, bombings, armed combat, upheavals, torture and other tragedies than Che ever killed in combat or executed). I do not agree with any of those ideas. I do, however, think our times are poorer for lack of someone who does what they say, think as they act and openly tell us about what they do: someone who practices what they preach, in short.

Ernesto was many things before becoming the man who headed down the road of the “guerrilla,” a path he was persuaded to follow by the ambition and insensitivity of the world’s powerful and their refusal to distribute the planet’s wealth in a more equitable, fraternal and even democratic fashion.

He was a champion of volunteer work and he was the first to roll up his sleeves every Sunday. Fidel couldn’t stand that, because it made him look bad. Fidel would do volunteer work for the picture opportunity. He wasn’t willing to spend four hours of a Sunday sweating buckets. He only did that once or twice after Che’s death, in 1970, when the 10-million-ton sugar harvest failed miserably, but he only did that because he saw his enterprise in danger and was afraid to be held directly responsible for that catastrophic, hard-headed enterprise.

Other government officials resented Che because of that, for mocking them and rubbing their lack of scruples in their faces, and because he was straight as an arrow and not very fond of opportunists.

He stuck his neck out for what he thought was right and died next to his soldiers. He traveled without bodyguards. He would hop on trains and visit places like Hiroshima, or Montevideo, Uruguay, when I assume he missed the River Plate, a thick juicy steak, a mate and a park-bench chat with someone in the parlance of his youth. As a government minister, he would often drive places on his own.

Fidel travels with five hundred bodyguards. He called a liver expert from the Gregorio Marañon hospital in Spain over to avoid dying, razing all of the propaganda about the superiority of Cuban medicine to the ground. He has always done what it takes to remain at the top and, of course, so as to stay alive!

Ernesto took after his mother Celia in that he finished what he started, with the romantic and transgressive spirit of his father Ernesto. He told the truth, even when it was hard to do. He is the only politician ever to stand before the United Nations to say something like:

“We have executed people, we are executing people and we will continue to execute people.” This is no doubt a dreadful statement, but I do miss these sincere and needed speeches that no other leader (not even Fidel Castro) has since pronounced, affirming things such as:

“We imprison, we forbid, we kill, we torture, we bomb, we liquidate, we develop weapons of mass destruction, we create famine, misery, pain and fear, and we will continue to do so.”

Así como los dirigentes que una vez muerto lo encumbraron, y que cuando estaba vivo lo detestaban en silencio; la gente humilde y trabajadora de Cuba, lo quería de verdad, no era ese temor al omnipresente dios devorador que le tenían a Fidel, vi auténtico cariño en rostros de gente muy humilde que lo conocieron cuando me hablaban de él.

To be sure, we can miss only the speeches, as the facts have well surpassed all expectations.

Che was not a demagogue: he didn’t deceive the people.

That was his major political difference with Fidel Castro, who, in the course of his life, has been able to convince the sheep to peacefully fall asleep in a den of wolves.

Fidel would gather people up, lie right and left, and deceive the masses, officials, presidents, and businesspeople to suit his individual interests.

“We are not communists and will never be communists,” he used to say.

Then again, looking back on this, that may well have been one of the few truths he ever pronounced: he was never even the shadow of a true communist.

Che, on the other hand, would tell his soldiers this: “most of us will probably not make it out of here alive. Whoever wants to leave, leave now. This is a man’s task.” His battalions started out with a hundred men and ended with ten.

Fidel started with a hundred and ended with a million men. However, he let those million sink on the Titanic, never on Noa’s Ark.

Che died next to his soldiers. Yes, he was certainly tough, and his enemies claim he was heartless. But he was also a man of humanitarian values who took the side of those who had no hope back then, or in the world in general.

The government officials who extolled him after his death had secretly loathed him when he was still alive, but the humble, working people of Cuba loved him sincerely. They weren’t moved by the fear towards an all-powerful and devouring god, as they were when it came to Fidel. I saw genuine affection in the faces of the very humble people who knew him and spoke to me about him.

I say the same thing to those who see only the shining face of the impeccable revolutionary who had nothing but virtues, the image Fidel promoted in Cuba to suit his interests, after abandoning him when Che needed him most, that it is also true he was in charge of the executions conducted at Havana’s La Cabaña fortress, a far from happy episode in the history of the Cuban “de-evolution.”

Every coin has two faces. We are all a mix of different values. Ernesto took the good and the far-from-good to their extremes.
Visita el blog de Martin Guevara (in Spanish) 

65 thoughts on “Che Guevara: Not a Saint, Not a Butcher

  • Che was a loser, and anyone who defends socialism is a loser.

  • Che was homophobic, racist and a murderer.

  • Pay a loan for 10 years? You are dreaming, most USA college graduates pay MINIMUM for 30 years to get their student loans all paid off.

  • I love the way Americans bitch about other peoples about how evil “this one is” or “that one is” . What El Che did was during a revolution. Think about the french rev. Or the bolchaviks, what about the war between the north and the south, II can go on and on, like one person said” One person’s terrorist is the othe persons freedom fighter.” Every one of Americas So Called founding fathers, George Washington, Thomas jefferson, Abraham Lincoln. As well as others like George Custer, Cristopher Columbus, Cortez, Andrew Jackson were outright murderers of the indigenous peoples of the Americas thru execution, scorch and burn policies that killed whole villages, forced removal, broken treaties, just think of all the reminders that Native Americans Face every day of the year, holidays for their murderers, pictures plastered over everything , the names of thekr murders. If anybody has a right in America to complain about this, is the native american. But they are told to shut up and get over it. Until american nation starts atoning for the genocide of its own indigenous people, your complaints are invalid..

  • I suggest you do some research and get the facts right.
    Throughout Che’s life there are lots of examples of racism and homophobia.
    From his early life on, as shown in his “motorcycle diaries”, to the end of his life Che showed he had very big problems working with black people and American native peoples.
    Che was a dogmatic with dictatorial attitudes. He lashed out in racist terms to anyone that did not confirm to the standards he wanted to impose.

  • Che never fought in Angola. He fought in Congo.

    He met with the MPLA in Brazzaville on January 5, 1965 for a two-day visit . Obsessed
    to spark a revolution in Africa, he asked the MPLA to send guerrillas to fight in the Congo (formerly known as Zaire and now the Democratic Republic of Congo), but that request, of course, was received coldly.

    “Lúcio Lara’s wife, Ruth, told Gliejeses that the Angolans were not very happy with the visit of Che. He knew little of the MPLA and his mind was concentrating on the next adventure in the Congo, which proved disastrous .”

    Some suggested reading on the Cuban intervention in Angola:

    In the Congo he tried to use the rebels of Laurant Kabila, father of the current president, as a communist force for revolution. He failed utterly as he – like in Bolivia – failed to understand the cultural differences. Frustrated by the lack of “revolutionary zeal Che style” he called them “banana beer swilling useless idiots”.

    In his “motor cycle diaries” he described blacks as follows:

    “The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing, have seen their territory invaded by a new kind of slave: the Portuguese.”

    “The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations.”

    Thanks for letting me educate you again.

  • Che a racist? that’s why he went and fought in Angola alongside ONLY African soldiers ? Go do some research instead of quoting word to word that idiot Marco Rubio…

  • What actions of the Cuban people? The Cuban people isn’t free to act internationally nor is it allow to interact with other people.
    As far as Cubans being better off under Obama: lots of Cubans still flee to the US. They vote for “the US under Obama”. I think if you asked Cubans a majority would prefer to live the US lifestyle.
    A quarter of Cubans have already voted for another life by emigrating.

  • Wow, the dissonance in your posts are really something!

  • I choose to suffer while my fellow man is suffering, my role model is known to me personally, regardless why.

  • “None of the actions of the Castro dictatorship are “for the benefit of the world””? What about the actions of the Cuban people. You seem to think they would be better off under Obama… boom boom…

  • That “love” is made manifest by all those who risk their lives to flee the island on rickety rafts.

  • What an intelligent response. You came up with that all in your own did you?

    …regardless, it’s no surprise that you entirely missed the point.

  • None of the actions of the Castro dictatorship are “for the benefit of the world”. Fidel Castro, with his demand of a “first strike” in 1962 was ready to destroy the world.
    We can help Cubans to get their freedom without sowing hatred. It will be done by stopping the hatred sowed by the Castro dictatorship with its repression, CDR thugs, …
    The US may not be perfect, but nothing can excuse the killing of thousands of innocent civilians in the Twin Towers. To even insinuate that is morally reprehensible.

  • Maybe Che would have been a lot more credible as “friend of the miners” if he had spoken their language, respected their traditions and had sold his Rolex to buy food for their families.

  • It is not all for the benefit of the Cuban people, it is for the benefit of the world… if we can help the Cuban people have the freedoms the U.S. people enjoy without sowing seeds of hatred then we will… U.S. American’s are very irresponsible and they wonder why their buildings get destroyed by planes… it’s just the chickens coming home to roost…

  • Of course you have choices in the U.S. IT owns everything.

  • Wow. Kinda’ harsh for a blog, don’t you think?

  • The best “leader” in what respect? Under his leadership I can’t associate with whomever I like, Say what I please, access information, at least information not o the regimes approved list. The list goes on and on. Please explain how this is in your best interest?

  • ….different things to deferent people. what’s important is the ability to choice. I have the opportunity to succeed or fail at whatever I choose to do. Something that would have been denied me under the Castro regime. Indeed I would have been denied – for the most part – access to this very website.

    Does that answer your question?

  • What is a meaningful life to you?

  • Why do his own people still love him?

  • The point is: Felix Rodriguez said Che’ died like a man. something you will never achieve.


    The CIA and Cocaine: Who has the airplanes?

  • The biggest lie of Castro apologists is that they support the Cuban people while in reality the support the Castro dictatorship.
    The underlying fallacy that “Castro = Cuba” is what keeps them going. They would find it a lot harder to find excuses for the actions of the Castro’s against the Cuban people if the would not add the fiction that it was all for the benefit of the Cuban people.

  • If you are not too “disturbed” please reveal one comment of mine that is not factual.

  • You Really must learn to recognize sarcasm when you see it. Get yourself a BarcaLounger, pick up your feet and read up in it.

    It is the realization that the revolution was all smoke and mirrors that drove my parents and I from Cuba. The peoples sacrifices have been in vain. I, a true Cuban ( naci en el tercer piso la haban) fled for the opportunity of a meaningful life. And thankfully my entire family (we brought them all over to miami) have had the opportunity afforded by this country to live a fulfilling life. Something that would not have been possible in Cuba.

  • Who told you it was free. You pay 97% tax rate, so NO, it’s not free. Your proletariat wife is a millionaire by comparison to a Cuban doctor….it’s why they prefer to drive a cab!

    How sad for you Dan

  • It’s Castro haters ….get it right for once!

  • Dan, students in lots of European countries go to med school for free and are free to do what they want afterwards. They are not forced in to a life of servitude.
    These are the true “social” countries and they have mixed capitalist systems.
    Any reply?

  • Correction accepted.

  • The “cuba-haters” are those that deny the Cuban people the respect of their human rights and that support the Castro dictatorship.
    How can you claim to “love” the Cuban people while you are supporting repression, abuses, virtual slavery, ….?

  • Not for “free”. You have to comply 100% with the regime to get in.
    Once you get graduated the regime will use you as a salve and rent you out for thousands of dollars while paying you a couple of hundred.
    You will also “pay” by not having the freedom to travel outside Cuba, not being able to emigrate, …
    Read up on the plight of Cuban doctors.

    What is best: pay a loan for 10 years or pay with servitude all your life?

  • Or go to med school for free.

  • The ANC did not defeat the South African government. Their guerrilla attacks were in no way threatening the stability or security of South Africa. The SADF and their police forces were more than sufficient to keep the ANC and other militant groups down.

    What did put an end to Apartheid was the system of economic sanctions, an embargo if you will, which seriously hurt the South African economy. The wealthy and middle class white South Africans were finally moved to demand change, when their standard of living was hurt.

    PW Botha introduced a series of cautious reforms to apartheid in the late 1980’s. When Botha fell ill in 1989, FW de Klerk succeeded him as PM, he moved quickly to end the ban on the ANC, lifted several apartheid laws and released Mandela from prison. Mandel & de Klerk soon began negotiations which lead to the first full elections in South Africa and the end of apartheid.

    In 1993 de Klerk and Mandela were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their work for the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime, and for laying the foundations for a new democratic South Africa”.

  • If ‘bragging rights’ has value, Fidel should be proud of himself. You certainly seem to be proud of him. But if having a functioning economy is a goal, then Fidel is a horrible failure. Cubans are leaving Cuba in record numbers. The physical infrastructure in Cuba, after 56 years of neglect, is literally crumbling. The New Man that Fidel claimed to be building is corrupt, and immoral. If “standing up to US imperialism” comes at the price Cubans have paid, are you sure it was worth it? Hint: many Cubans say no.

  • Thank you Moses, I am aware of the historical problems. I don’t expect you to understand. A multi-polar world is very important to us, it gives us room to maneuver when the U.S. doesn’t act in our best interests which I’m sorry to say, as much as I appreciate U.S. innovation, happens all to often. This is why we support Putin as well, but as far as setting up alternative poles goes, Fidel is by far the best leader to stand up to the U.S. If you like, from a U.S. perspective, he is the best of a bad bunch, but if you had been on the receiving end of U.S. imperialist aggression you would not be so quick to judge.

  • I very much admire Malcolm X, but he did not say anything 30 years ago. He was assassinated 50 years ago.

  • Still, $9 an hour is enough to keep you in Cheetos and Bud Lite, so don’t complain.

  • As an African-American, like the great majority of African-Americans, I see myself as an American first and last. You see, my ‘African’ heritage was largely stolen from me and what wasn’t stolen was stained. Unlike the Irish, German, Chinese, Japanese, etc. I do not have a single country to identify with. I have an entire continent. To make the genealogical connections are more difficult at best if not impossible.

  • Looking forward to a Cuba free of the Castros does not make me or anyone else a “Cuba-hater”. On the contrary, given what the Castros have done to Cuba, loving Cuba by definition should be synonymous with getting rid of its biggest problem…the Castros. I have never impugned the patriotism of any Castro bootlickers who comment here at HT. OK, maybe commenter John Goodrich, but no one else. I strongly believe that one of the reasons for American exceptionalism is our capacity to disagree. The minimum wage in San Francisco where I live is $11.05/hour and that sucks. If your wife works hard for only $9/hour, and she isn’t flipping burgers, I can understand why she is pissed.

  • Be glad she isn’t in Cuba where should would have to work as a “proletarian” for $20 a month.

  • Dan, get real and get educated.

    Castro was considered danger to humanity even by the Soviets:

    “Castro, who had earlier stridently opposed removing the long-range missiles and Il-28s, made a strong pitch to keep the tactical weapons in Cuba during a Nov. 22 meeting in Havana with Anastas Mikoyan, the Soviet Communist Party official who handled most Cuba-USSR relations.

    “Wouldn’t it be impossible to keep the atomic weapons in Cuba under Soviet control without turning them over to the Cubans?” Mikoyan quoted Castro as asking, in a Russian-language report on the meeting that he sent to Moscow and that was later found by Naftali and Fursenko.

    Mikoyan reported that he quickly told Castro, on his own initiative, that
    such a deal was impossible. Khrushchev had already made the same decision, apparently believing that Castro could not be trusted with such weapons.”

    Published Sunday, May 3, 1998, in the Miami Herald
    “A nuclear secret in ’62 Cuba crisis
    100 Soviet warheads undetected by U.S.”
    Herald Staff Writer
    Published Sunday, May 3, 1998, in the Miami Herald

    Did you know that after the overthrow of Allende in Chile Castro demanded nuclear weapons from the Soviet Union – again – in violation of all agreements?

    Thank God Soviet Leaders, who already considered Castro a “loose canon” in 1962, never gave them any.

    Castro requested Soviet missiles in 1981, book says
    Posted on Mon, Sep. 19, 2005

  • Simply put, Fidel represents to these Latin American leaders the embodiment of the type of leader they wish they were in one respect and only one respect: He stood up to the US. Not one of them wants to turn their country into Cuba. As far as Mandela is concerned, he was pragmatic. He took help where he could get it. Castro, Quaddafi, and others who helped the ANC to defeat apartheid and the South African government that supported it were welcomed with open arms, warts and all. Finally, right-wing dictators are no better in my “book” than left-wing dictators. Terrorists, regardless of their political bent, are still terrorists. The “I HATE FIDEL” Club is open to all sorts of folks.

  • Egomanical? Probably. But murderous tyrant? Not even close. Hiroshima, as tragic as it was, probably saved more lives than it cost. The immediate surrender of the Japanese ended what was likely to be many more months of war casualties. Nonetheless, the US was at war with Japan and the full effects of the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima could not have been known. When Castro urged the start of WWIII, he knew full well that the US would retaliate against his small island. Apparently, he had no problem with the death of millions of Cubans. Your attempt to defend Fidel Castro by implying that he was no worse than a US President is childish. Fidel IS a murderous tyrant. Making Nixon a murderous tyrant doesn’t make Fidel any less a murderous tyrant.

  • The butcher got caught.

    The part you left out about his caputure:

    “When Guevara was taken prisoner (he was wounded, he had a wound in his leg), he apparently said, “Don’t shoot me, I’m Che Guevara. I’m worth more to you alive than dead.” Now this may be apocryphal, I don’t know, but that is what is reported to have been said. The fact is he would have been worth more alive than dead, but I think there the Debray syndrome kicked in and the Bolivians were just not having any more of that.”

    He failed anywhere outside Cuba.

    In Congo he was so frustrated with his “revolutionaries” that did not act as he expected (note: rebels led by the father of the current president) that he called them “useless banana beer drinking idiots”.

    In Bolivia he repeated his biggest mistake of all: a utter failure to understand and respect local culture. He thought in Latin America people would follow him because he was “El Che”. In reality the indigenous population just saw him as another “colonialist” that had no understanding of their culture and language.

    Che rode the well organized wave of the Cuba revolution carried by the Cuban middle class and imagined he could copy that anywhere regardless of cultural, social, political, ethnic and social differences. His “hubris” brought him down.

  • I apologize but I fail to see your point. The credibility of the men whose names you mention has always been a factor. If their recollections are true, it surprises no one that the CIA was involved somehow in Guevara’s death.

  • Moses, do remind us all, which US President does NOT fall into the category of egomaniacal, murderous tyrant?
    As for nuclear strikes, remind me, who murdered so many innocent people in Hiroshima?
    People who live in glass houses etc.
    Hasta Siempre Che

  • Very succinct George. The conveniently delusional beliefs and clap trap propaganda that Moses regurgitates is neither entertaining or factual. If anything, some of his ‘comments’ are quite disturbing.

  • Moses, egomaniacal propagandists can also be tyrants. I know you resent other opinions, but answer these simple questions: If what you say about Fidel Castro is true, why did the South African icon renowned internationally for his human rights struggle (Mandela) love Fidel? Why did arguably the greatest democratically elected Latin American President (Allende) love Fidel? Why did the greatest Latin American author {Marquez} love Fidel? Why today do so many democratically elected Presidents across Latin American love Fidel and, indeed, got their inspirations from him? Are or were such notable people all stupid fiends and you and your ilk are the only brilliant saints? What about Batista, Lansky, Pinochet, Trujillo, Somoza, Bosch, Posada, etc.? Do they all get free passes in your book just because they were/are dire enemies of Fidel? As a democracy lover in the United States of America, I believe you are a prime example of why the Cuban Revolution says a lot more about the United States than it says about Cuba.

  • Thank you for your excellent post, Martin. I think it was very well balanced. There was much to admire about Che. I abhor both those who deify him and those who try to suggest he was a monster. He was a man who followed his convictions, and while I do not share all of his political views, I have no doubt he worked hard and gave his life for the poorest among us. We should have more of his fearless honesty and refusal to accept bribes and favour in our politics today. As for some of the hateful comments below, they need to learn history beyond American hate blogs.

  • That’s strange, I could have sworn that you and the rest of the Cuba – haters that comment here frequently, routinely impugn the patriotism of us American “Armchair Bolshevki”. As usual, the master of double standard.
    My wife, btw, unlike yours and yourself, is proletarian. She works hard, for $9/hour. I’d love to have you talk to her about this “Freedom” she should be so gratefully enjoying.

  • Finally, a balanced perspective….the gusanos must be rotting in their caves, after all the fanfarroneria about Martin’s book…oops no more invites to Miami…

  • What Castro said that:

    “If the second variant [invasion of Cuba] takes place and the imperialists invade Cuba with the aim of occupying it, the dangers of their aggressive policy are so great that after such an invasion the Soviet Union must never allow circumstances in which the imperialists could carry out a nuclear first strike against it.

    I tell you this because I believe that the imperialists’ aggressiveness makes them extremely dangerous, and that if they manage to carry out an invasion of Cuba — a brutal act in violation of universal and moral law — then that would be the moment to eliminate this danger forever, in an act of the most legitimate self-defense. However harsh and terrible the solution, there would be no other.”

    He demanded a “first strike” if he was in danger. That would have meant the destruction of Cuba, the US, The Soviet Union, Europe,….

    All for his survival: me gone, everyone dead.

    Compare that to Kennedy’s statement:
    “At the height of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, John F. Kennedy privately told his 19-year-old mistress Mimi Alford “I’d rather my children be red than dead,”

    and you know who was the more humane.

  • Some of us are dependent on a multi-polar world. You wouldn’t understand that living in the U.S. though many Afro-Americans do. It depends whether you see yourself as American first and African second or the other way around.

  • Thirty years ago, Malcolm X made a penetrating observation: Oppressed
    people don’t own airplanes and boats. The media and the government try
    to blame oppressed people for drugs – but international drug trafficking
    requires fleets of cargo planes, landing strips in several countries,
    networks of international contacts, pools of investment money, networks
    for money laundering and the high-level contacts for getting past US
    Customs and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
    The Man who had Che’ Guavera killed was NO hero…

    In 1989, pilot Mike Tolliver told CBS that, after years of smuggling
    drugs, he was recruited into the contra supply operation by a “Mr.
    Hernandez.” Tolliver identified “Hernandez” as Felix Rodríguez, the CIA
    agent directing contra supply from El Salvador’s Ilopango Air Base.
    Tolliver says he flew a DC-6 loaded with guns and ammunition for
    “Hernandez” in March 1986, from Butler Aviation at the Miami Airport
    down to Aguacate, the U.S.-controlled contra air base in Honduras.
    Tolliver says the guns were unloaded by contras and he was paid about
    $70,000 by “Hernandez.” After a three-day layover, Tolliver said he flew
    the aircraft, reloaded with over 25,000 pounds of marijuana, as a
    “nonscheduled military flight” into Homestead Air Force Base near Miami.

  • “Mi Capitan?”

    I looked up from my work. “Yes?”

    “When are you going to shoot him?”

    That caught my attention. “Why are you asking me that?” I asked.

    “Because the radio is already reporting that he is dead from combat wounds.”

    The Bolivians were taking no chances. That radio report sealed Che’s
    fate. I went down the hill, into the schoolhouse and looked Che in the
    face. “Comandante, ” I said, “I have done everything in my power, but
    orders have come from the Supreme Bolivian Command…”

    His face turned as white as writing paper. “It is better like this, Felix. I should never have been captured alive.”

    When I asked him if he had any message for his family, he said,
    “Tell Fidel that he will soon see a triumphant revolution in America.”
    He said it in a way that, to me, seemed to mock the Cuban dictator for
    abandoning him here in the Bolivian jungle. Then Che added, “And tell my
    wife to get remarried and try to be happy.”

    Then we embraced, and it was a tremendously emotional moment for me.
    I no longer hated him. His moment of truth had come, and he was
    conducting himself like a man. He was facing his death with courage and

    I looked at my watch. It was one in the afternoon. I walked outside
    to where Mario Teran and Lieutenant Perez stood. I looked at Teran,
    whose face shone as if he had been drinking. I told him not to shoot Che
    in the face, but from the neck down. Then I walked up the hill and
    began making notes. When I heard the shots I checked my watch. It was 1:10 P.M.

    Che was dead.

  • ”Che died next to his soldiers”…..NOT true, He was assassinated by his captors.

    Guevara was attempting to persuade the tin-miners living in poverty to
    join his revolutionary army. When Guevara was captured, it was Rodriguez
    who interrogated him before he ordered his execution. Rodriguez still
    possesses Guevara’s Rolex watch that he took as a trophy.

  • My marriage aside, Fidel is an egomaniacal murderous tyrant. Why would I want to defend him?

  • That “first strike thing” you seem to diminish was Fidel’s desire to initiate thermonuclear war. No doubt that he had a Soviet-built bunker somewhere close to Punto Cero for himself and his loved ones. But what about the other 6 million Cubans on the island at that time. The US, had first strike nuclear attack from Cuba been launched would have obliterated that island and its population along with it. Fidel will forever wear that mantel, like it or not. Secondly, being a Fidelista is not synonymous with being “patriotic”. My wife loves her country and its people very much. The despotic, tyrannical regime that has controlled it for the last 56 years….not so much. By the way, if your wife REALLY preferred life in Cuba over living in freedom in the US, why does she continue to torture herself? We both know the real answer to that. She likes having toilet paper.

  • You drag out that first strike thing constantly. I suggest you get it right. What he said was that if the US invaded Cuba or the East Bloc, it would inevitably lead to the use of nuclear weapons, and that the USSR should not sit by and let its arsenal be obliterated. Your armchair socialist joke is wearing thin too. I was in Cuba 10 years before you. I too have a Cuban wife, but mine , unlike yours is patriotic. She loves her country as does her entire, working class family. And after 15 years here she prefers Fidel to the liars, thieves and cruise-missile christians who are our “leaders”.

  • I see Havana Times is correcting my spelling… how long I have lived in Cuba is a matter of debate… unlike you I have not lowered myself to bashing Fidel in order to get a girl… the Cuban people have made great sacrifices that have helped my country to find its way… it is they that are noble… from your comfy barcalounger (whatever that is) you sow discord to keep your marriage afloat whilst everyday the Cuban people struggle… it is easy to bash Fidel from the States… far harder to defend him… how can you be a man and still acknowledge Fidel’s authority?

  • More a “butcher” than a Saint.
    Che killed those that opposed him without mercy.
    His homophobic and racist attitudes are also well documented.

  • “Fidel was a man of peace first and truth second”? Really? How does that work when Fidel was the one who selfishly urged Khrushchev to launch first-strike nuclear attacks against the US? The truth is that neither Peace nor Truth will be words used to describe Fidel Castro. George, you obviously have never lived in Cuba under Castro’s tyrannical rule. From your comfy barcalounger Fidel’s socialist ideals seem noble. But if you lived with a ration book and a CDR, you would feel differently.

  • Martin, you have yet to master the art of discourse. Positive thinking is necessary to achieve, Fidel had that, honesty even if it is negative is necessary for people to discover the truth by themselves, even if this leads to bloodshed? Fidel was a man of peace first and truth second, Che, his counterbalance was the other way around. You defend your uncle because he is family, you would defend Fidel in the same way.

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