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Thread: Ernesto "Che" Guevara

  1. #1
    DDilegge
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    Default Ten Shots at a "Celebrity Revolutionary"

    From Real Clear Politics - Ten Shots At Che Guevara by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

    "Che Guevara fans are preparing to commemorate one more anniversary of the revolutionary’s death, which took place thirty-eight years ago at the Yuro ravine in Bolivia. It’s an appropriate time to address ten myths that keep Guevara’s cult alive.

    The last time I visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York, an American student wearing a Che Guevara T-Shirt and a beret caught my eye (the fact that Nicole Kidman happened to walk in at that very moment may have had something to do with my noticing him). I asked him politely what exactly he admired so much about that man. Here are the ten reasons he mentioned— and my response."

    Click on the link for the 10 Shots...
    Last edited by SWCAdmin; 10-09-2005 at 03:59 PM.

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    Default Guevara

    Regardless of what one's opinions are of Guevara, Castro and the Cuban Revolution have endured. Yes, he made repeated mistakes as Head of the Cuban National Bank; however, he also made Cuba a superpower during the Cold War. Yes, I said superpower. No, it was not an economic juggernaut, but it has remained a focus of US attention since 1959. Guevara inspired revolutionaries across the globe, and while his admirers in the Congo proved uncommitted, those in groups such as the Red Brigades were certainly a threat not to be ingnored. Next, the author will argue that Mao was a total failure and not worthy of study due to the fact Deng Xiao Peng criticized him and his programs after his death.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Che has entered into the pantheon of revolutionaries based on image and not substance, IMO. That Cuba has remained a fixture of US policy is based more on domestic politics and not real foreign policy observations, again IMO. Che was "sexy," in a way that Trotsky before him was, or Hitler at the same time but with a different political leaning. Mao's impact on revolutions was at least as great as Trotsky's, and far beyond Che's.

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Ernesto "Che" Guevara

    8 May Belmont Club blog - Ernesto "Che" Guevara - Myth Making by Wretchard...

    Ernesto "Che" Guevara was one of the most famous media figures of the 1960s. A high-ranking Cuban official and confidante of Fidel Castro, Guevara was appointed head of a Cuban delegation to the UN in 1964 and in the process became a public celebrity...

    About three years later he was dead. And though I searched long and hard for the particulars of Guevara's last stand, the best source documents available on the web are the debriefing of Felix Rodriguez, a CIA agent of Cuban extraction who was sent to Boliva to help track him down and the after-action debriefing of the 2nd Bolivian Ranger battalion by US Southern Command. A bare-bones synopsis of Che Guevara's military career in Bolivia can be found here. Basically, Guevara entered Bolivia in late 1966 and started up a platoon-sized guerilla group. The group went on to kill 30 Bolivian army personnel before being surrounded and wiped out together with it's leader in late 1967. Action against Guevara's guerilla unit was conducted entirely by Bolivians, with some training assistance but with no actual command or direct involvement by US personnel. As a feat of arms, Guevara's effort in Bolivia is remarkably undistinguished and there must be dozens of guerilla leaders alive in the world today with a better showing...

    Che Guevara is a testament to the power of a media symbol. As a purely military force he was negligible. As an organizing force and agitator of Bolivians he was an abject failure. But as an international Marxist symbol and poster-boy Che was eminently successful. Millions of people have worn his likeness on a T-shirt believing that he was a brilliant revolutionary and guerilla when in fact he was neither. But that would be missing the point. Guevara was the prototypical example of the triumph of image over reality. What did it matter if he wrote nothing of lasting ideological value? What did it matter if he was a comparative military failure? He was a surpassing public relations success and that made up for everything else. The power of Che lay not in his M2 carbine, which was shot out of his hands by the Bolivian Rangers. It lay in his beard, beret and his photogenic camera angles. Long before the word "spin" came into common usage Guevara was all spin -- a spin which will outlast the memory of those who defeated and slew him.

    Though he died nearly forty years ago Che, from a media perspective, is thoroughly modern. He is so modern it would be possible to argue that both Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musab Zarqawi are simple extensions of his great archetype. Zarqawi, for example, is by almost any measure a complete military failure unless one counts massacring women and children as some kind of martial accomplishment. Zarqawi is even incapable of clearing a stoppage from a light machinegun he fires on video. But no matter, because it is the video not the machinegun which is the real weapon. It is the T-shirt graphic not the man depicted on the T-shirt which is important. News no longer describes war; it is war which inscribes news.

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    The Economist, 11 Oct 07: A Modern Saint and Sinner: Why the Che Myth is Bad for the Left
    The bearded face—eyes staring defiantly to infinity, the long wavy hair beneath the beret stirred by the Caribbean breeze—has become one of the world's most familiar images. Alberto Korda's photograph of Ernesto “Che” Guevara may be waved aloft by anti-globalisation protesters but it has spawned a global brand. It has adorned cigarettes, ice cream and a bikini, and is tattooed on the bodies of footballers.

    What explains the extraordinary appeal of Guevara, an Argentine who 40 years ago this week was captured and shot in Bolivia? Partly the consistency with which he followed his own injunction that “the duty of the revolutionary is to make the revolution”. A frail asthmatic, he took up arms with Fidel Castro's guerrillas in Cuba's Sierra Maestra. After their victory, Guevara would fight again in the Congo as well as Bolivia. He fought dictators who were backed by the United States in the name of anti-communism when the cold war was at its hottest, and when Guevara's cry to create “two, three...many Vietnams” resonated on university campuses across the world. His renewed popularity in recent years owes much to a revival of anti-Americanism.

    But it is semiotics, more than politics, that leads teenagers ignorant of the Sierra Maestra to sport Che T-shirts. Korda's photograph established Guevara as a universal symbol of romantic rebellion. It helps, too, that he died young, at 39: as a member of the Cuban gerontocracy he would hardly have become the James Dean of world politics....

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Got the TShirt

    There are any number of similar folks on the African side, the most notable and notorious would have to be Lumumba.

    He has become the darling of the liberal intellectual africa studies crowd. When HBO did their movie on him, they interviewed Halle Berry for her "thoughts" and she among others dubbed him, "the George Washington of Africa." Facts simply have no effect on that sort of thinking.

    Che seems to be much the same. He makes for a better T-shirt than he did as an exporter of revolution. As part of the Cuban movement he was effective. But he was a clown in the Congo and hardly better in Bolivia. I suspect the Soviets had far more influence on the Red Brigades than he did.

    Funny that right after the RPA took Kigali, vendors were selling Fred Rwigemba and Paul Kagame tshirts at the airport with the slogo "free at last." Kagame put an end to that one real quickly but I got my Tshirt.

    Best all,

    Tom

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    GWU's National Security Archive, 25 Oct 07: Che Guevera's Hair Up For Auction
    As bidding begins today at 5:00 p.m. CST at the Heritage auction house in Dallas, Texas for a scrapbook containing a lock of Che Guevara's hair along with photos, captured documents, intelligence intercepts, and original fingerprints relating to the capture, execution and secret burial of the Argentine-born revolutionary, the National Security Archive posted declassified U.S. documents relating to his death 40 years ago this month. (Censored versions of some of the documents were first posted on the 30th anniversary of Guevara's execution, which took place on October 9, 1967 in Bolivia.)

    The macabre memorabilia being auctioned off to the highest bidder were compiled by a Cuban exile CIA operative named Gustavo Villoldo, who was tasked to help capture Guevara and, after his execution by the Bolivian military, secretly bury him in the middle of the night. Before Guevara's hands were cut off, Villoldo helped fingerprint his corpse, and a "death mask"--a plaster cast of his face--was made as proof that the real Che had been captured and killed. The covert operative also clipped a portion of Che's beard as a memento of the CIA's triumph over Latin America's most famous revolutionary.....

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    The Army appears to be done crushing my head for a month or two, so, in lieu of a reintroduction, here is my contribution to the "Che" Guevara thread.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 120mm View Post


    The Army appears to be done crushing my head for a month or two, so, in lieu of a reintroduction, here is my contribution to the "Che" Guevara thread.
    Dude,

    Welcome back....

    Tom

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    I've found it helpful if I think of the left as the infantile, led by the childish, on behalf of the adolescent. It's all a matter of determining which age group one of them falls into, then using the appropriate parenting skills.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wolfsberger View Post
    I've found it helpful if I think of the left as the infantile, led by the childish, on behalf of the adolescent. It's all a matter of determining which age group one of them falls into, then using the appropriate parenting skills.
    Hey, I resemble that remark, and, while I am left-handed, I am not a member of the left.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    I've found it helpful if I think of the left as the infantile, led by the childish, on behalf of the adolescent. It's all a matter of determining which age group one of them falls into, then using the appropriate parenting skills.
    Yes, it's always quite comforting to not take seriously the ideas of those we disagree with. That way we never have to actually question or engage our own ideas or feel out of sorts at all.

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    I've found it helpful if I think of the left as the infantile, led by the childish, on behalf of the adolescent. It's all a matter of determining which age group one of them falls into, then using the appropriate parenting skills.
    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    Yes, it's always quite comforting to not take seriously the ideas of those we disagree with. That way we never have to actually question or engage our own ideas or feel out of sorts at all.
    Thanks for coming to our defence, tequila. As a member of the left, I was going to protest by throwing my Lego around, but decided against it when Sesame Street came on. After all, Ernie is singing "You've got to put down (some of) the kinetics if you want to play the COINaphone....
    Last edited by Rex Brynen; 11-15-2007 at 08:23 PM.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    It's more a defense of being open-minded and unafraid to engage. I'm left-leaning on certain issues but quite right-wing on others which are not covered by this message board.

    It's also why I continue to read COMMENTARY and NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE, as well as MOTHER JONES.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    [sarcasm] I just plug my ears and start screaming any "-ist" words I can think of until they all go away...[/sarcasm]

    That's not directed at you, Tequila. More of a general comment on what often passes for debate and discussion in some circles these days. "If you don't agree with me you're a racist/Communist/sexist/Islamist/exhibitionist (well...not really...but gotta think of Stan)."

    Gotta say I don't really identify with EITHER major party.

    And welcome back, 120mm!
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Frankly I tire of the left equals liberals equation as a tool for the Ann Coulter crowd. The same can be said when it comes to saying conservative is the same as right wing. Neither linkage offers clarity and that seems to be the point.

    No one could ever be more conservative than my old man, a card carrying, dues paying member of the AFL-CIO for nearly 40 years.

    Meanwhile matchbox cars are way more cool than Legos, Rex.

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Meanwhile matchbox cars are way more cool than Legos, Rex.
    New thread! New thread!

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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Meanwhile matchbox cars are way more cool than Legos, Rex.

    Tom
    Sounds like a clash of cultures to me.

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Frankly I tire of the left equals liberals equation as a tool for the Ann Coulter crowd. The same can be said when it comes to saying conservative is the same as right wing. Neither linkage offers clarity and that seems to be the point.
    It would seem I owe an explanation.

    1. wm, I've nothing against lefties. Some of my best friends are lefties.

    2. I'm liberal on a few issues, centrist on others, libertarian on quite a few.

    3. Liberal and left are definitely not the same.

    4. I'm open to any argument, from any quarter, provided it is presented in the form of evidence based reasoning. As the post started, the topic was the mythology that has built around Che Quevara. The cheap shot was aimed at those who buy into it.

    5. My apologies to any one who took offense. I assure you, the cheap shot was not aimed at you.
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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    John,

    No worries. I for one was not offended by your post. My reaction was to the larger tendency to categorize views with simplistic models.

    If I seemed offended or even offensive, I apologize.

    Best

    Tom

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