‘Ten Shots at Che Guevara’ – debunking the myths about a false hero

Link by email from David J. Theroux of the Independent Institute

Alvaro Vargas Llosa refutes the ten myths the legend of Che Guevara is based on. Here are some examples:

1.HE WAS AGAINST CAPITALISM. In fact, Guevara was for state capitalism. He opposed the wage labor system of “appropriating surplus value” (in Marxist jargon) only when it came to private corporations. But he turned the “appropriation of the workers’ surplus value” into a state system. One example of this is the forced labor camps he supported, starting with Guanahacabibes in 1961.

3. HE STOOD FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE. In fact, he helped ruin the economy by diverting resources to industries that ended up in failure and reduced the sugar harvest, Cuba’s mainstay, by half in two years. Rationing started under his stewardship of the island’s economy.

6. HE WAS A GUERRILLA GENIUS. With the exception of Cuba, every guerrilla effort he helped set up failed pitifully. After the triumph of the Cuban revolution, Guevara set up revolutionary armies in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Haiti, all of which were crushed. … Finally, his incursion in Bolivia ended up in his death, which his followers are commemorating this Sunday.

10. HE WAS RIGHT ABOUT THE UNITED STATES. He predicted Cuba would surpass the GDP per capita of the U.S. by 1980. Today, Cuba’s economy can barely survive thanks to Venezuela’s oil subsidy (about 100,000 barrels a day), a form of international alms that does not speak too well of the regime’s dignity.

Read the whole thing, and also don’t miss Llosa’s article The Killing Machine: Che Guevara, from Communist Firebrand to Capitalist Brand.

46 thoughts on “‘Ten Shots at Che Guevara’ – debunking the myths about a false hero”

  1. W Che Guevara (remember without him this world wouldn’t learn that is possible to escape from a cage to have freedom!) He was killed but he is still in the minds of all the people who knows what freedom means!

    For the dude who wrote the first comment: you are more stupid than Bush try improve a little more you intelligens if you have one hidden in the edge of you “cubed” head! Hasta Siempre

  2. For those of us with a decent education(Public School or Private,) Che Guevara was a hero and a trademark of the honest struggling people of the World.

    You can’t expect some yuppie from the ‘Burbs,’ or sheltered teen to understand his cause, simply because he lived by totally different morals and ethics that your average cut-throat of modern society.

    George Bush Sr and Jr should thank there mindless followers just for mentioning Che in the same text as them, to a man* like Che it’s an insult to be mentioned along with such poor leaders and cowards.

    The sheep of the suburbs should learn to obey virtually like they do in physical precense, you are still just cowardly consumers hiding behind walls and/or a computer screen.

  3. if u seriously thick che is a hero, im sorry but u are ignorant. wat che did in his lifetime led to deaths of hundreds of thousands of people that he exploited more so than they already had been. they died for his dream-an idiotic one at that. its true he helped struggling people, because those wer the only people he could convince and break promises for. after his death million have suffered under an oppressive communist regime in Cuba with no free elections, and nothing to call there own.

  4. Hello genius, how many people do you think that Honorable Mr. Bush has killed in Iraq (both americans and iraqis)? Just because he’s the president does not mean he’s correct. The only people benefiting from this stupid war is the military contractors, who are getting stupid rich because of all of the innapropriate spending. Then stupid people acuse other people of being unamerican if you don’t support the war! Damm some people are so stupid.

  5. How could Che be responsible for what happened after his death. You can’t blame a dead man for the actions that other people committed decades after his death. And for u other stupid people Che was betrayed by Fidel Castro who only used the revolution for his own personal benefit and is believed to have ratted out Che’s location to the Bolivian government. 4 the ppl here that r against Che its obvious ur not Latin (or other abused minority)and hav never been starvin or even considered fighting 4 ur ppl.

    If u listen to our media ur obviously only bein told wat the government wants u 2 kno. So learn about the US betraying the Arab countries and takin advantage of 3rd world countries. THEN TALK

  6. che’s ruled he was the best but some dumb-ass contry CALLED AMERICA KILLED HIM FOR NO GOOD POINT O-WOPTY-DOO HES COMUNITS O DEAR THE WORLDS GOING TO END!!!

  7. Commander Che Guevara was the kind of people that you can’t buy with money. He is an example of dignity and what we need is more CHE’s in this world!, somebody has to stop that US Terrorist Government NOW!. They are planning to attack Venezuela now, just because they don’t like the president that Venezuelans elected, and re-elected, and re-elected several times!.

  8. Guevara was possibly a misled ideologue but then how do you describe the sort of self-righteous, vindictive right-wing dogmatism you espouse here? For all his utopianist errors, Guevara was at least motivated by a fundamentally ethical commitment to social justice and human decency, you guys are just invested in a divisive politics of selfishness and hatred. I know which one I find scarier….

  9. huh… this must’ve got linked by a low-traffic Che forum somewhere, and over the course of a month and a half all of the forum denizens have managed to come here and comment, slowly.

    Che may or may not have fought for what he thought was a good cause… but in the end, results matter, and the results he got were crappy.

  10. LotharBot: This low-speed flamewar is very amusing.

    Brett: Guevara’s “utopianist errors” included mass murder, yet in your opinion we’re “scarier” than he was. Do you really believe that? I mean, I disagree with you but that doesn’t make you scary. Perhaps you will explain what it is about our arguments that scares you. (Of course to do that effectively you would have to make an effort to actually read and understand our arguments.)

  11. For all his utopianist errors, Guevara was at least motivated by a fundamentally ethical commitment to social justice…

    Or he was a ruthless sociopath who used utopian ideals to try to advance himself to a position of unrestricted power just like his former buddy Castro.

    Guevara was a killer. He was Castro’s hatchet man after the revolution succeeded when it came time to clear out those highly dangerous earnest believers in the utopian vision. Guevara personally oversaw and perhaps even conducted some of the 500 executions of high level party members that Castro used to cement his hold on power. Guevara bailed from Cuba not because of revolutionary fervor but rather because he thought he was next. Castro was more than willing to let him get the press running around Latin America while Castro enjoyed the benefits of real power.

    Rhetoric counts for nothing. Heck, Stalin talked a human game. Only actions truly reveal a individual’s true character. Guevara’s reveal him as a selfish, ruthless killer.

  12. It is beyond me how some people can call che a hero. I also dont understand how people can wear those stupid shirts and not think its the least disrespectfull. I guess i could start wearing shirts with hitler down miami beach, im sure the jews wont mind. Or maybe Mike Tyson could get a tat of Daniel Carver, leader of the kkk. Im sure that would look great next that che, and of course the black community wont mind. Thxs to Che and Fidel, and there form of thinking, i cant visit the country i was born in. My family starves in broken down shacks and the food they get is half liter of milk, and half a dozen of eggs. Che is not a hero, he is a murderer. Just read his notes

  13. r u guys serious??

    do u know that che guevara is latin and central americas #1 idol and hero….
    and if u talk shit about him they gonna just start a f´n war cause u talked shit..

    So all the whinny bit ches who are f´n crying and saying that che guevara is a bitch just shut the fuk up!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

  14. “they gonna just start a f´n war cause u talked shit”

    I spent the morning watching the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (aka the Blue Angels), and then finished the afternoon watching Brian Shul’s presentation on his experience as an SR-71 pilot. I don’t think I’m too worried about Latin America starting a war. We don’t mind taking down the Islamikazes, who are far more dedicated to their death cult than Latin Americans are to Che, and who have far more oil money with which to bribe other nations with. Sorry bro, but you don’t pose a credible threat.

  15. What is becoming obvious is that the Communist / Socialist disease has not been successfully stamped out from the world. And we just as obviously need a revived Operation Condor to get rid of the anthropoid pathogens before it becomes too late!!! Instead of state oganized efforts like the Iraq invasion, Bush should rely on enabling individual efforts: bounty hunters to take out vermin such as Hugo Chavez and the Baboon Morales of Bolivia, etc.

  16. Che was a hero… all the ppl who think he wasnt should come to latin america and see by themselves the suffering of all the ppl and what they must go through…with the money Mr. Bush have spend in his war he could easily help the most poor countries in latin america, but he didnt. Why? Because you yankees are just interested in expanding your capitalism and imperialism to every corner of the world and put a McDonalds on every city on every country. You dont know who che was or wut he wanted because you are all americans nasty and dirty americans wh have no idea wut latin america is and wut it should be so go and drink a Coca Cola and in the mean time i will go and clean my butt with your stripped star flag.

  17. Daniel, I have some questions for you:

    -How did Che ever help anybody? Please be specific.

    -Venezuela is rich with oil, yet its national income has declined since the socialist Chavez took control. Why is this?

    -If you dislike and insult Yankees, why should Yankees listen to you?

  18. I don’t understand how a man who murdered and ordered the execution of hundreds (maybe thousands) of people could be seen as a hero. Yes, you say that I don’t live in South America and that’s why I don’t know what he was all about. Well let me tell you something, I’m Cuban, and that “hero” helped destroy the most beautiful island in the Caribbean. I don’t know about you, but people who murder hundreds and thousands of people are not heroes… and don’t come to me with this “Bush want’s to expand capitalism” bullshit. Its called revenge. They knocked down two towers and killed thousands of people. So we’re knocking down two countries and killing a few more thousand people. And you cannot even beggin to compare the amount of U.S. soldiers (WHO WANTED TO BE SOLDIERS) that have died to the amount of people that Che, “Mr. Hero” killed. So please, use your common sense. America is in war against people that kill random innocent people. What’s worse, killing random people, or killing those who kill random people???


  19. OK. Here is the thing: I am white. I am american. I am a teenager. HOWEVER, I am not a middle class kid who can even afford to buy a ‘che guevara t-shirt’, and Im not the average teenager saying ‘whoa dude, che guevara is cool. He was a revolutionary!’ No, Che was many things, HERO including one. I grew up in the gutter. I was poor. I lived off Ramen and Kool-aid. And after readin a few books by Che, doing my fair share of research, I have all the facts. I have both sides of the “Hero-Villian” story, and so yes, you could say I know a little. I see Che as a fighter. A man who attempted to make life better. A man who used his Tactics to overthrow the Batista government and establish the Castro government. And yes, I do belive Castro betrayed him. Afte his death, the facts that CASTRO killed thousand and thousand and thousands is NOT Che’s fault. Castro could have done different. CASTRO could have helped his people. CASTRO could make things right. BUT HE DIDNT. Che was born a man. Che died a man. So, even though he is no god, and he was no immortal, he is still a legend, and he is still the most infamous and respected revolutionary fighter and guerilla tactictian of all time.

  20. Sean,

    Che was a con-artist sociopath who told people what they wanted to hear while he tortured and murdered his way to power. He served as Catros hatchet man when it came to clear out the troublesome honest believers in communism after the revolution. Che supervised the torture and murder of up to 500 diehard communist who fell afoul of he and Castro after the revolution was one and they needed to consolidate their power.

    Castro betrayed Che only in the sense that he backstabbed Che before Che could do the same to him. Like Stalin with Trotsky, a state built around a cult of personality could have only one leader. They tussled and Che lost.

    Che wanted power and he saw that Communism provided him with the means and justification for getting it. Just because you had a hard-scrabble childhood doesn’t mean that Che was any kind of good guy. End of Story.

  21. Che is che. Those who does not like him is “bush”. Yes its not humankind, it’s a kind of fucking animal

  22. I am shocked! How a teen can say that che was not a good guy. Suddenly I realized that it’s not his fault. It is fault of those who bring this teen to world.

  23. erm… i fail to see what purpose this entire forum has. there are multiple sides to any story, and people on each side willing to fight for their version of the truth. some of the comments on this page are well written, well argued. the majority, however, are useless drivel spewed from the keyboard with more profanity than actual argument. Che may not be your hero, but i fail to see how claiming that a picture of his dead body is “your favorite” elevates your arguments against him, especially if your arguments point out how cold hearted he was. That, to me, points out a decided lack of human decency, and the increased lack of human decency is frightening. If the closed-minded, propegandized, follow-the-herd mentality is what you are striving to attain, i’d say you ‘ve achieved it not only for yourselves, but for anyone who applauds your kind of behavior.

  24. my god you people are a bunch of flag wavin zenaphobes!
    che was born into a middle class house hold, (he was a qulifayed doctor)
    during travles in south americas he witnesed extreame hardships & inequliteys, which made him chose to leade the live he lead.
    a life fighting for freedom!
    in his writings he in no way advocates the killing of cilvians, or in fact any unnessorcery killing.
    & in responce to the above clames he did not advocate forced laybor, & he reconised that the state could not complatley provide the needs of the population therefoure some exports were nessorcery!

    & to clames that the cuban state faild …. yes it did but id did becouse of the leadership of thoughts after che
    & there is still confilt in the name of che in persute of true equlity

    ask me if this can be truley achived …. i do not … but i do respect che’s ideals & his story!

  25. Shannon,

    Though I respect you opinion, Im sorry to say I disagree. Che tortured his way to success. So what? Hasn’t everyone? Look at all great empires throughout history. I mean, he tortured people. So did America when they began slavery. That also can be considered torture. And he’s so bad because he killed 500 communists? He should have killed 5000. ALL Communists should be killed. If America were to ever become a commi nation, I’ll blow my brains out. Just because Im 16, dont patronize me. And I never said Che was a good guy because I had a hard scrabble child hood. I said Che was a LEGEND and a HERO because he fought for freedom. Freedom from a communist leader, freedom from the Batista oppresion, and freedom from people who support communists. Like you.

  26. “you’re all idiots … he was a fukkin hero!!”

    yeah Kay. I’ll bet you think Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini were also heroes.

    A brain is a terrible thing to waste kay. Get some education before it turns to mush.

  27. Che was not a communist or fascist, period (thus, the leaving and all that… read sometihng about him [and politics] before you start making comparisons to Hitler and so forth. It makes you sound not so smart.)

    Also, if you think the Cuban government has “failed,” I would ask you to examine our government: alienating and slowly killing the rest of the world for our benefit. If that is not “failing,” I don’t know what is. If we we are not always striving to improve it, then what are we doing? Are we that complacent and arogant? I hope not. I think by analyzing all sides, we will see that many have committed “evils” on the worlds; some, we are socialized to view as much more villainous and outstanding (such as shooting people) and others as “the cold hard facts of life” (economic practices that force billions to live in sub-human conditions).

    There are 261 billionaires. They own more wealth than the poorest 3.2 billion people on this planet. Can we really wake up every morning thinking: “that’s just the way it is”? Or could that be the social injustice Che fought against?

  28. -Socialist, fascist — who cares about labels. The fact is, Che Guevara was a mass-murderer. Isn’t that bad enough?

    -Yes, the Cuban govt has failed. You are blind if you don’t realize that.

    -Yes, by all means analyze both sides. Then tell us how your analysis explains why people risk their lives to leave Cuba and risk their lives to enter the USA.

    -There are many billionaires in the USA and most Americans who are not billionaires live very well by world standards. The poorest Americans live better than does almost everyone in Cuba. Speaking of which, the only billionaire in Cuba is Fidel Castro, yet ordinary Cubans live in squalid poverty. So it looks like your theory about how rich people cause poverty isn’t borne out by reality. But hey, don’t let mere facts get in the way of your envy-based ideology.

  29. Todos ustedes gringos idiotas, aún sabiendo que el che los odiaba y pensaba que ustedes los gringos eran los peor que habia en el mundo, lo siguen defendiando.
    El che mato a mi abuelo y a mi tio por intentar defenderlo. Y mato a los dos por creer en Dios.
    Ya veo que en eso fue lo único que el Che tuvo razon, ustedes son unos idiotas.

  30. che did alot of bad things, che did alot of good things. but, Cuba appears to be getting better, the going is slow, but is happening, literacy is up, standard of living is improving. che helped start this, somebody had to. he aint perfect, few leaders are. as for the oil subsidies from other socialist nations, anyone looked at americas debt clock, its running out of digits, not the end of the world, but cant be a good thing. Cubas has also had some bad times, like their oil crisis, but they pulled through and are better for it, alot ‘greener’ too, espicialy for a deveoping nation. Che helped start this. not every revolution has to involve bloodshed, ches’ did, americas did, canada’s didnt, took long enough though, but nobody got killed for it… getting of topic. they all thought that they were being oppressed, isnt that what counts, he obviously had wide support and made things better for the masses, if only marginaly at first. That is what revolutionaries should be remembered for.

  31. The myth of communist success in Cuba relies on the historical ignorance of people like you. Far from being in bad shape before the communists took over, Cuba had one of the highest standards of living of any Latin American country. Literacy, public health, etc. were at or close to first-world levels. Since the communist takeover Cuba has been reduced to the third-world basket case it is today, that Cubans risk their lives to flee. Che and the rest of the gangsters have only killed, robbed, impoverished and destroyed. What is better in Cuba today as compared to before the Castro takeover? Is there anything?

  32. Oh my …well, as the reasonable man I am, I´m atheist, so…just oh my: I can´t believe all you fucking stupid people. But then again, half of all americans are dumbwits: just look who´s in the white house. Your “president” (more like a world dictator) is much more of a fascist than Che ever was! In fact, Che was better at everything domestic, even now, Cubas social system is way better than that crap you got. USA will soon collapse under its struggling economy. How much is your debt now? Like 14 figures? Get real guys, USA isn´t even a democracy (2 party-system). You guys need a fucking revolution! And please: dont even mention that you saved europes ass in WW2, you fucking egomaniacs. If it wasn´t for the norwegians, the nazis would have had nukes long before you…Then again – the world would probably ´ve been a better place under Hitler than under Bush…

  33. The Che thing has a way of hauling up strange life forms from the depths.

    It is a good reminder of how bad it is out there:

    “the world would probably ´ve been a better place under Hitler than under Bush…”

    You cannot make this stuff up. It is beyond parody.

  34. Lex: At least Hitler believed in something, fought for something. Even though what he believed in was sick and twisted, he did it for a cause. Bush is only in it for personal wealth (oil).
    And, I said probably. Wouldn´t be much worse anyhow.

  35. Che Guevera was a hero.
    Che Guevera was Cuba.
    Do not swear in his presence as it will haunt you all.
    Che Guevera was a hero.

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