Obama, Guevara, and Us

by Jay Nordlinger

So, the American president has allowed himself to be photographed in front of a giant Che Guevara mural in Havana. A friend of mine just asked me, “How bad is that?” Pretty bad, I would say.

What I have to say about Guevara and his cult, I said in a piece many years ago: “Che Chic: It’s très disgusting.” To read it, go here.

I thought I would include a paragraph here on the Corner:

The fog of time and the strength of anti-anti-Communism have obscured the real Che. Who was he? He was an Argentinian revolutionary who served as Castro’s primary thug. He was especially infamous for presiding over summary executions at La Cabaña, the fortress that was his abattoir. He liked to administer the coup de grâce, the bullet to the back of the neck. And he loved to parade people past El Paredón, the reddened wall against which so many innocents were killed. Furthermore, he established the labor-camp system in which countless citizens — dissidents, democrats, artists, homosexuals — would suffer and die. This is the Cuban gulag. A Cuban-American writer, Humberto Fontova, described Guevara as “a combination of Beria and Himmler.” Anthony Daniels once quipped, “The difference between [Guevara] and Pol Pot was that [the former] never studied in Paris.”

Last month, I did a Q&A podcast with Otto Reich, the Cuban-born American foreign-policy analyst. I believe I spoke of Obama’s education and his worldview. I think I described him as a walking, talking Che Guevara T-shirt.

Anyway, give it a listen, if you like. Otto’s words are, of course, much more important than mine.

To say it again: In Cuba, the Castros’ island prison, the American president has been photographed with looks of delight on his face in front of a Dear Leader-ish image of Guevara. This is a sorry pass in the American story. And it’s essentially the choice of the American people, who elected Obama twice, resoundingly.

By the way, Obama’s first opponent, McCain? He was tortured by the Castros’ agents in Vietnam. He knows exactly what the Castro regime is, and says so, in clearest terms.

Every election says something about who we are, as a people.

P.S. The Cuban-American CIA agent Felix Rodriguez had a role in stopping Guevara, there in the Bolivian mountains. I interviewed him a few years ago. For that profile, go here. He is a very, very different American from those now in charge of our government, executive branch.

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