Why You Need to Throw Out Your Che Guevara T-Shirt

Natalia Martinez in PolicyMic:

Why You Need to Throw Out Your Che Guevara T-Shirt

http://thumbs.policymic.com/A1leg7471b90SI4ko-M0sAckxi4=/90x90/smart/http%3A%2F%2Fs3.amazonaws.com%2Fpmbucket%2Fsite%2Fusers%2F16480%2Foriginal.pngFilms such as Motorcycle Diaries and Steven Soderberg’s Che — in which Guevara is played by Gael García Bernal and Benicio del Toro, respectively — have aided in perpetuating the myth among new, misinformed audiences. Unfortunately, branded merchandise and the allure of Hollywood (capitalistic forces, ironically) have made Guevara a compelling figure. We seem intent on ignoring how inglorious Guevara truly was, how many societies he fractured, the tyranny he perpetuated, and, most importantly, the many people that died under his command.

He was much more than a Robin Hood tragically killed by the CIA. Guevara was a seeker of power who convinced the world that he was a successful warrior and a visionary philosopher, when I believe he was neither.

Guevara may have had a genuine interested in and concern about poverty and the human condition when he was younger. It is also probably true that he was, for a time, a compassionate and thoughtful young man saddened by the inequality he witnessed in Latin America. But it is also true that his ideals later became corrupted by power, guerrilla tactics, and murderous rage.

This is a man who declared at a United Nations General Assembly in 1964 that executions were necessary and would continue in Cuba.

This is a man who confessed to admiring only three nations: the Soviet Union, Maoist China, and North Korea. He famously stated that he could find not one discrepancy between Mao Zedong’s view of the world and his own.

This is the man who was rumored to have schemed with the Black Liberation Army to blow up the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, and the Liberty Bell. Not only was he extreme, but also he ridiculed and often punished any kind of moderation. He created a zero-sum between capitalism and Chin communism. Those around him who expressed moderate, intermediate positions such as democracy or a mixed economy were chastised and actively criticized as inferior.

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