Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why I voted against a monument to Che Guevara and why you should as well

There is a debate underway in Ireland to erect a monument to Ernesto "Che" Guevara and their is also an online poll for people to vote in favor or against. I voted against and invite you to do so as well. Here is my reasoning as to the "no" vote.

Do you really want your community to be remembered for building a monument to a man who said in Havana on April 16, 1967 that “Hatred as an element of the struggle; a relentless hatred of the enemy, impelling us over and beyond the natural limitations that man is heir to and transforming him into an effective, violent, selective and cold killing machine. Our soldiers must be thus; a people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy.”

Che Guevara’s call to action in a hemisphere with too many military juntas led to new military juntas in countries that had not known them before in their history: Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, and Uruguay all had their first long term military juntas after the Castro regime began exporting guerillas in 1959 and Guevarist ideology best summed up in Guevara’s Message to the Tricontinental. Other countries such as Chile, who had known a military junta between 1924 and 1931, in reaction to communist threats in 1973 embraced Augusto Pinochet who remained in power for seventeen years. With the exception of Nicaragua, Che Guevara’s prescription for revolution in Latin America led to a generation of military dictatorships and harsh repression. In Nicaragua it led to a Marxist dictatorship and civil war.

According to Irish writer Eilis O'Hanlon the bloody legacy of Che Guevara has also made its mark in Ireland in September of 2009 when a 600 pound bomb was diffused twice as large as the one that claimed 29 lives there a decade earlier.

Ernesto "Che" Guevara meets Mao Ze Dong
 Honoring a mass murderer who advocated a totalitarian system that took 100 million lives in the 20th Century is shameful. However Che Guevara went further advocating the placement of nuclear weapons in Cuba and advocating their use explaining: “What we affirm is that we must proceed along the path of liberation even if this costs millions of atomic victims.” The Argentine communist further claimed that "the people [of Cuba] you see today tell you that even if they should disappear from the face if the earth because an atomic war is unleashed in their names... they will feel completely happy and fulfilled." Guevara was upset that Kruschev had backed down in the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and not launched a nuclear attack on the United States.

This is the individual some want to honor with a monument?

After Che Guevara who will be next: Carlos the Jackal, Josef Stalin or Adolph Hitler? Glorifying men who committed terrorism and mass violence serves only to glorify and encourage more violence and terrorism.

Why not build a monument to Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. or Leo Tolstoy instead?

Why not honor those who successfully fought injustice using just means?  Or honor the Cuban people the way they have honored the Irish people by building a monument to Cuban hunger strikers who have died defending human dignity and human rights in Cuba such as Pedro Luis Boitel, Roberto López Chávez, Carmelo Cuadra Hernández, Olegario Charlot Pileta, Enrique García Cuevas, Orlando Zapata Tamayo and Wilman Villar Mendoza in January of 2012?


  1. Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara is a 20th century icon, who symbolises rebellion, justice and equality.Some capitalists like to think that he was a terrorist, but he was a hero to the people.Che Guevara was a Marxist revolutionary humanist, who believed in defeating Imperalism through world revolution. He wished for the world to be a better place, for mankind to leave the greed of money, capitalism and facism and turn its attention to important things focusing on moral values, education, the eradication of money, poverty, hunger and disease.Fascists and capitalists get along fine together. The only ideology that capitalism DOESN’T get along with is the concept of “sharing.” Splinter and models of Che's resistance movements began to spring up in Mexico, Panama, Argentina, and others particularly in South America. As soon as the oppressed countries were liberated Che knew the importance of them being able not only to read and write but to have basic human needs and rights which the Latino and Black population so clearly lacked.Unlike Castro, Che was willing to criticize the Soviet Union leaders for not living in the true equality that communism is intended to be...... Nelson Mandela referred to him as "an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom" while Jean Paul Sarte described him as "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age.According to Time magazine, Che Guevara was one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Swatch made a Che watch,Rage Against The Machine used his photo on an album cover, endless posters and flyers adorn walls everywhere from Havana to Beverley Hills; Mike Tyson and Diego Maradonnahave Che tattoos on their arms.Guevara remains both a revered and reviled historical figure, polarized in the collective imagination in a multitude of biographies, memoirs, essays, documentaries, songs, and films. Che’s legend has continued to grow since his death in 1967, and the revolutionary, anti-imperialist ideals he lived and died for now appeal to a new generation of 21st-century men and women. No matter what people say about him Guevara remains an admired, controversial, and significant historical figure. The fact that his secretly-buried remains were finally discovered in Bolivia[1997] also contributed to renewed public interest in Che Guevara's life and times.This secular saint was ready to die because he could not tolerate a world where the poor of the earth, the displaced and dislocated of history, would be relegated to its vast margins. .........

  2. I could not disagree more with you. Che Guevara criticized the Soviet Union because he was an admirer of Mao Zedong. Guevara's formulation of guerilla warfare is adapted from the Chinese leader. Che published influential manuals Guerrilla Warfare (1961) and Guerrilla Warfare: A Method (1963), which were based on his own experiences and partly chairman Mao Zedong's writings. Guevara stated that revolution in Latin America must come through insurgent forces developed in rural areas with peasant support. His international legacy of glorifying violence through an erroneous analysis of guerilla warfare, based on his experiences with the Batista army, which was too incompetent and corrupt to fight, and applying Zedong’s writings on the subject led to bloodbaths in Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chiapas, Congo, Angola and decades of military dictatorship and political violence.

  3. By definition, Che Guevara was a terrorist.

  4. Terrorism is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”

    Federal Bureau of Investigation Counterterrorism Division

  5. The revolutionary values that inspired Carlos the Jackal continue on today and have a popular icon, Che Guevara, who at that same 1966 Tricontinental conference made the following call to arms: "We must carry the war into every corner the enemy happens to carry it: to his home, to his centers of entertainment; a total war. It is necessary to prevent him from having a moment of peace, a quiet moment outside his barracks or even inside; we must attack him wherever he may be; make him feel like a cornered beast wherever he may move."

  6. John Suarez your definition of terrorism is based on the perspective of whoever is enforcing the law. With your logic, in the eyes of Che Guevara, he was fighting terrorism. Unfortunately the only way to fight violence in this reality is with violence. For peaceful resistance to work, your enemy must have a conscious, most governing bodies that desire greed and control have none.

  7. I base it in the rule of law and a definition in which terrorism is defined as the furtherance of political or social objectives using violence, force or threat of either against civilians. The rule of law applies also to those enforcing the law and there is such a thing as state terrorism. Nonviolent resistance has worked against the Nazis, Pinochet, the Communists, Honecker and many others who were willing to use extreme measures against their opponents. Have you every heard of Rosenstrasse? Check it out if you haven't. No Che Guevara viewed terrorism as a legitimate method of struggle to advance communism. Placing bombs in movie theaters and such.