Forty-three years ago this week Che Guevara met the same sort of fate to which he had subjected so many others. Over at Town Hall, Humberto Fontavo pens a not entirely fond remembrance (extract follows):
“When you saw the beaming look on Che’s face as the victims were tied to the stake and blasted apart by the firing squad,” said a former Cuban political prisoner Roberto Martin-Perez… “you saw there was something seriously, seriously wrong with Che Guevara.” As commander of the La Cabana execution yard, Che often shattered the skull of the condemned man (or boy) by firing the coup de grace himself. When other duties tore him away from his beloved execution yard, he consoled himself by viewing the slaughter. Che’s second-story office in Havana’s La Cabana prison had a section of wall torn out so he could watch his darling firing-squads at work.
Even as a youth, Ernesto Guevara’s writings revealed a serious mental illness. “My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any vencido that falls in my hands!” This passage is from Ernesto Guevara’s famous Motorcycle Diaries, though Robert Redford somehow overlooked it while directing [actually Redford was a producer of the project, but it’s the thought that counts] his heart-warming movie.
The Spanish word vencido, by the way, translates into “defeated” or “surrendered.”And indeed, “the “acrid odor of gunpowder and blood” very, very rarely reached Guevara’s nostrils from anything properly describable as combat. It mostly came from the close-range murders of defenseless men (and boys.)
I blogged on the continuing cult of Che in his native Argentina over at Secular Right back in August.