I was just reminded that this week would have marked Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s 93rd birthday. It is satisfying to remember that the man who said, “We don’t need proof to execute a man, we only need proof that it’s necessary to execute him,” met his karmic bullet-riddled end at the hands of CIA-trained Bolivian operatives in a muddy hut in 1967. Since that day, this racist warmonger has been martyred by the international Left and venerated by socialists and revolutionaries around the world. When I was young, his likeness was all over college campuses. Not that long ago, Robert Redford was charming Fidel Castro with his hagiographic depiction of Che’s life. Yet, even if Jay-Z wears his t-shirt or Castro-apologist Colin Kaepernick carries around his biography, my perception is that there’s been a decline in Che adoration these days, despite a reemerging popularity of socialism in American life.
In any event, his birthday is a perfect time to remember his legacy. Scaled for population, the Guevara police state rivals most tyrannies in history. As Humberto Fontova noted back in 2007, Cubans “qualify as the longest-suffering political prisoners in modern history, having suffered prison camps, forced labor and torture chambers for a period THREE TIMES as long in Che Guevara’s Gulag as Alexander Solzhenitsyn suffered in Stalin’s Gulag.” And it is still going.