Thursday, February 7, 2008

Indian artists in support of a murderer, part 2 -Che myths

Continued from part 1 below-

What is it about the Che iconography that is so resistant to facts? Alvaro Vargas Llosa takes apart the Che myths-

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.

2. HE MADE CUBA INDEPENDENT. In fact, he engineered the colonization
of Cuba by a foreign power. He was instrumental in turning Cuba into a temporary beachhead of Soviet nuclear power (he sealed the deal in Yalta). As the person responsible for the 'industrialization' of Cuba he failed to end the country's dependency on sugar.

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.

4. HE STOOD UP TO MOSCOW. In fact, he obeyed Moscow until Moscow
decided to ask for something in return for its massive transfers of money to Havana. In 1965 he criticized the Kremlin because it had adopted what he termed the 'law of value'. He then turned to China on the eve of the Cultural Revolution, one of the horror stories of the twentieth century. He simply switched allegiances within the totalitarian camp.

5. HE CONNECTED WITH THE PEASANTS. In fact, he died precisely because he never connected with them. "The peasant masses don't help us at all," he wrote in his Bolivian diary before he was captured, an apt way to describe his journey through the Bolivian countryside trying to stir up a revolution that could not even enlist the help of Bolivian Communists (who were realistic enough to note that
peasants did not want revolution in 1967; they had already had one in 1952).

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. He later persuaded Jorge Ricardo Masetti to lead a fatal incursion into that country from Bolivia. Guevara's role in the Congo in 1965 was both tragic and comical. He allied himself with Pierre Mulele and Laurent Kabila, two butchers, but got entangled in so many disagreements with the latter and relations between Cuban and Congolese fighters were so strained that he had to flee. Finally, his incursion in Bolivia ended up in his death, which his followers are commemorating this Sunday.

7. HE RESPECTED HUMAN DIGNITY. In fact, he had a habit of taking other people's property. He told his followers to rob banks ('the struggling masses agree to rob banks because none of them has a penny in them') and as soon as the Batista regime collapsed he occupied a mansion and made it his own, a case of expeditious revolutionary eminent domain.

orgy of death. He executed many innocent people in Santa Clara, in central Cuba, where his column was based in the last stage of the armed struggle. After the triumph of the revolution, he was in charge of 'La Cabaña' prison for half a year. He ordered the execution of hundreds of prisoners, former Batista men, journalists,businessmen, and others. A few witnesses, including Javier Arzuaga, who was the chaplain of 'La Cabaña', and José Vilasuso, who was a
member of the body in charge of the summary judicial process, recently gave me their painful testimonies.

9. HE WAS A VISIONARY. His vision of Latin America was actually quite blurred. Take, for instance, his view that the guerrillas had to take to the countryside because that is where the struggling masses lived. In fact, since the 1960s, most peasants have peacefully deserted the countryside in part because of the failure of land reform, which has hindered the development of a property-based agriculture and economies of scale with absurd regulations forbidding all sorts of private arrangements.

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.

Humberto Fontova (linked in part 1) has an excellent article on how the myth of Che is maintained and propagated in popular media. Excerpts-
The History Channel Shills For Che Guevara

[Humberto Fontova is the author of Exposing the Real Che Guevara and the
Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him.]

The regime Che Guevara co-founded stole the savings and property of 6.4 million citizens, made refugees of 20 per cent of the population from a nation formerly deluged with immigrants and whose citizens had achieved a higher standard of living than those residing in half of Europe. Che Guevara's regime also shattered through executions, jailings, mass larceny and exile virtually every family on the island of Cuba. Many opponents of the Cuban regime 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 Solzhenytzin suffered in Stalin's Gulag.


One signed his name "Stalin II," professed that "the solutions to the world's problems lie behind the Iron curtain," and boasted that "if the nuclear missiles had remained we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S. including New York City." He also professed that the victory of socialism was well worth "millions of atomic victims."


Immediately upon entering Havana Che Guevara stole and moved into what
was probably the most luxurious mansion in Cuba. The rightful owner fled
the country barely ahead of a firing squad and a reporter who wrote of Che's new house in a Cuban newspaper was himself threatened with the firing squad. A year later thousands of Cubans were sent to forced-labor camps on Che's orders, based on his whim to fashion "a new man,"


During a 1961 speech in Cuba, Che Guevara denounced the very "spirit of
rebellion" as "reprehensible." Earlier he had cheered the Soviet
invasion of Hungary and the concurrent slaughter of thousands of
Hungarians who resisted Russian Imperialism. According to Guevara, these
freedom-fighters were all "fascists and CIA agents."


On his second to last day alive Che Guevara ordered his guerrilla charges to give no quarter, to fight to the last breath and to the last bullet. With his men doing just that, a slightly wounded Che snuck away from the firefight and surrendered with a full clip in his pistol, while whimpering to his captors: "Don't Shoot! I'm Che! I'm worth more to you alive than dead!" He then groveled shamelessly, desperate to ingratiate himself. "What's your name, young man?" Che asked one of his captors.
"Why what a lovely name for a Bolivian soldier!"

"So what will they do with me?" Che asked Bolivian Captain Gary Prado. "I don't suppose you will kill me. I'm surely more valuable alive....And you Captain Prado," Che commended his captor. "You are a very special person ...I have been talking to some of your men. They think very highly of you, captain! And don't worry, this whole thing is over. We have failed." Then to further ingratiate himself, "your army has pursued us very, could you please find out what they plan to
do with me?"

So far, subjective matters. Now on to more objective ones.

Despite numerous attempts, nobody has managed to locate any record of
Ernesto Guevara's medical degree. Shortly after his capture Che admitted to his captor's commander, Captain Gary Prado, that he (Che) was not a doctor but "had some knowledge of medicine."

Nonetheless The History Channel refers to Ernesto Guevara as a "newly
qualified Doctor."

"The Black Book of Communism," written by French scholars and published in English by Harvard University Press (neither an outpost of the vast right-wing conspiracy, much less of "Miami maniacs!") estimates 14,000 firing squad executions in Cuba by the end of the 1960's. "The facts and figures are irrefutable," wrote the New York Times (no less!) about "The Black Book of Communism." A Cuban prosecutor of the time who quickly defected in horror and disgust named Jose Vilasuso estimates that Che signed 400 death warrants the first few months of his command in La Cabana. A Basque priest named Iaki de Aspiazu, who was often on hand to perform confessions and last rites, says Che personally ordered 700 executions by firing squad during the period. Cuban journalist Luis Ortega, who knew Che as early as 1954, writes in his book "Yo Soy El
Che!" that Guevara sent 1,892 men to the firing squad.
Read the whole thing.

Is the terrible state of modern/post-modern art, the utter irrationalism and lunatic-asylum quality about it -I wonder if that because it is people like Suneet Chopra who are it's thekedars *. Historically, the descent of art into irrationalism has followed the descent of intellectuals into the embrace of utopian totalitarianism.

(emphasis mine)

*The colorful Indian language translator-
thekedar - One who decides and sits over judgment(literally- someone who has been given a contract to do something)

Next- in part 3: tired of that 'iconic' image of mass-murderer staring from trendy t-shirts.Here are some Che images we would like to see more of.

See part 1 here