Yesterday, we talked about a San Jose State University student newspaper writer who had decided to impart to her readers some of her wisdom and knowledge of Cuba and U.S. policy towards the island, which included referring to former Cuban president Fulgencio Batista as Juan Bautista. The ignorance of Cuban history displayed by this apparent journalism student painted a sad picture for the future of journalism. It is not as if it is all that difficult to find out who led Cuba before Fidel Castro — even Wikipedia gets the name right — but it would seem that thorough research and pride in being accurate is not what they are teaching the world’s future journalists in journalism school or any other study discipline.
However, this morning, I came across a ray of sunshine.
Sarah Backer is a business major at the University of Houston and has written several Op-Eds for the school’s paper, The Daily Cougar. In her latest opinion piece, she takes on the obsession some people have with Ché Guevara, wearing t-shirts with his image while being completely oblivious to the fact Guevara was a psychotic, sadistic mass murderer.
Ms. Baker, however, took the time to learn the facts, and provides us with that glimmer of hope that perhaps not all of America’s college youth is completely ignorant of Cuban history:
Che: A revolution in pop culture misrepresentation
Next time you see someone sporting a shirt or anything with the visage of Marxist freedom fighter, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, stop and ask them what they know about this romanticized symbol of revolution.
A brief look at history shows a darker, more accurate side of Guevara.
In 1928, Guevara was born to a middle class family in Rosario, Argentina. He completed his medical studies in 1953, and after traveling around Latin America, decided that the only way to liberate the poor from their degraded existence was through violent warfare. An expert on guerrilla warfare, he was an important figure in the Cuban Revolution and tried to lead Marxist revolts in the Congo and Bolivia, where he was executed in 1967.
Since his death, Guevara has been touted by some on the left as the pop culture hero of anti-imperialism and rebellion. It was in the 1960s when Guevara truly rose to prominence as a symbol of revolution.
Guevara supporters claim he stands for freedom, justice and free-thinking; however, Guevara acted in the Cuban Revolution’s first firing squads and founded Cuba’s “labor camp” system which acted much like concentration camps.
Ironically, Guevara opposed freedom of speech, he campaigned to have homosexuals jailed in labor camps, he opposed free elections, he was a profligate adulterer and he hoped the Cuban missile crisis would lead to atomic war. Guevara’s political beliefs of mass-slaughter and absolute government fly in the face of freedom, social justice or free thought. For instance, take this quote from this 1966 speech by Guevara:
“Hatred is the central element of our struggle! Hatred that is intransigent … hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him violent and cold-blooded killing machine … We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow! The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! These hyenas are fit only for extermination. We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm! The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!”
Actions speak louder than words. As a Communist totalitarian murderer, Guevara participated in execution of thousands people, not all of which were former members of former Cuban President Fulgencio Batista’s administration.
What we need is for people to break from the confines of popular culture and think for themselves. Just because some actor likes Guevara and I like that actor doesn’t mean I should then like Guevara. The truth is wearing a Guevara shirt is much like sporting a shirt with Hitler’s or Stalin’s face on it. The only difference is that the Guevara shirt is socially acceptable, thanks to the obtuseness of Hollywood.
Read the entire article HERE.