Foreign Policy

Exorcising the Ghost of Che Guevara

How his violent life undercuts his mythic image.


How resilient is the ghost of Ernesto "Che" Guevara, the Argentine-born Marxist revolutionary who ably assisted the Castro brothers' sadly successful mission to turn Cuba into an island hellhole? His legend survives even a lackluster, long-winded biopic released in 2008 and now just out on DVD.

More important, Che's legend survives the facts of his own life. Born in 1928 and gunned down in 1967 by drunken Bolivian soldiers, Che rarely missed an opportunity to make life miserable for those who opposed him. During the fight against the Batista regime, Che ordered the summary executions of dozens of real and suspected enemies, becoming the very thing he said revolutionaries must be: a "cold-blooded killing machine." As a leader in post-Revolution Cuba, Che became known as the "butcher of La Cabaña" prison, where he oversaw hundreds of murders of political prisoners and "counter-revolutionaries."

When he became the effective czar of the Cuban economy and attempted to create a "new man and woman," or workers fueled by revolutionary ideals rather than conventional workplace incentives, his plans failed catastrophically and helped make Cuba the economic basket case it remains to this day. Along the way, Che did more than his share to help ban rock and jazz music as "imperialist" forms of expression. Such actions mark Che less as the youthful idealist portrayed in the acclaimed film version of his own Motorcycle Diaries and more as a repressive, murderous thug, a Caribbean version of the Taliban.

By the mid-1960s, Che left Cuba to export armed revolution to Africa and South America, all without success. If his violent death at 39 secured his romantic martyrdom to a cause that now thankfully flourishes only in Cuba and North Korea, it is his iconic, beret-bedecked image from a 1960 photo that persists everywhere in popular culture, from Mike Tyson's torso (the boxer sports a tattoo of Mao along with Che) to beer and booze labels to belt buckles to the T-shirts worn around the world. Despite Che's pronounced contempt for rock music, Carlos Santana wore a Che T-shirt during a performance at the 2005 Academy Awards ceremony. Other invocations of the Che image, such as the image above from a greeting card line that features a dog as Che, suggest unconscious (or at least unknowing) parody.

Increasingly, one hopes, Che's image is becoming openly mocked as the ugly reality of his life outlasts the shiny revolutionary veneer. As Alvaro Vargas Llosa reported five years ago, young Argentines have taken to sporting shirts emblazoned with the putdown, "I have a Che T-Shirt and I don't know why." The Australian band The Clap sings of the "Che Guevara T-Shirt Wearer" who has "no idea" of who he is. The Cuban punk band, Porno para Ricardo, which has been arrested for "social dangerousness," openly declaims the Castro regime and its heroes such as Guevara.

Karl Marx, of all people, once remarked that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce. Marx argued that history was the key to understanding the real world, and history is certainly no friend to Che Guevara. If his younger admirers study the historical Che–the one reputed to have declared "I feel my nostrils dilate savoring the acrid smell of gunpowder and blood of the enemy"–they will understand that Che's original influence was indeed tragic, not just for Cubans but for many others as well. And they just might skip the farce phase, out of deference to the many victims of the butcher of La Cabaña.

Nick Gillespie is editor in chief of and He appears in the Glenn Beck special The Revolutionary Holocaust: Live Free…or Die, which airs on Friday, January 22, 2009, and explores the legacy the 20th century communism, including the ongoing cult of Che Guevara. For more information, go here.

To watch's documentary, Killer Chic: Hollywood's Sick Love Affair With Che Guevara, click below. For downloadable versions of the video, go here.

NEXT: The Triumph of the Will (Wilkinson)

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  1. Here we go again. Admit it, you did this on purpose to get another multi-hundred post thread. So transparent.

    1. Beat me to it.

    2. Only in America, can a college dropout like Beck with the IQ of a carrot – make 22,000,000 $ a year by spoon feeding the “deliverance” mouth breathers …

      but then to top it off, he has the audacity to bash the heroic Che Guevara who gave up all his positions of power to slog through the jungles with asthma and fight on behalf of poor Bolivian campesinos (where he is still a Saint to this day).

      How post-modernly-retarded. Right-wingism … a powerful kind of stupid.

      1. 1/10

        1. RE: Killer Chic Propaganda Film

          No wonder Americans are so dumb!

          We are getting our history from an exiled Jazz Musician, a random Chinese basketball player and Beck the college dropout & alcoholic.

          WOW – no wonder Cuban kids are 5 years ahead of American kids at math.

          In the future I think I’ll ask Kenny G, Yao Ming, and the pizza delivery guy to analyze ancient Persian history for me.

          Faux News baby !!! We say what people who don’t think are thinking

          1. Cute.

            Hey everyone who’s not retarded though, make sure you’re aware of:
            The Real Cuba.

            Or you know… Ad homs about jazz musicians (who grew up in Cuba and literally had to *escape* the prison, not unlike these 500 doctors) are good too.

            Ad hom away, Che-bot.

            1. Ever since JFK, US presidents have been promising the Florida voting block of crooked gusano exiles that the Cuban government will be overturned. And you can give them an E for Effort.

              They initiated, promoted or tolerated all of the following:

              Bay of Pigs invasion, attempts on Castro’s life, sabotage, brutal economic blockade, downing of an airliner, innumerable raids by exiles, bombings in Havana, guerrillas in Escambray mountains, misinformation campaigns and much more.

              Now them simply run a cheap website linked to by right-wing nut jobs and other Calle Ocho geriatrics called the “Real Cuba” … run by old pasty white guys who haven’t stepped foot in Cuba since 1960 !!! jajaja

              1. But it’s okay for the Cuban people to continue existing under a communist regime. You’re okay with that, right?

              2. Quite a large number of those images are from much more recently, Che-bot… The problem is, and what’s hilarious about you in general, you don’t realize that Cuba of 2010 looks just as it did, or worse than in 1960.

                At any rate, I’m pretty sure I didn’t defend Kennedy or anything else, so you can go ahead and argue against ghosts all you’d like… By all means, continue.

              3. VivaChe!

                Thanks for making us ‘mouth breathers’ and ‘carrots’ look good!

                Love ya, man.

          2. Not true, I prefer to get my history from the Bolivian soldiers who confided in me over many rounds of Agwa de Bolivia the story about blowing Che’s brains out on the air strip wasn’t what really happened. According to their eye witness accounts Che was captured alright, and he was beaten severely for their efforts invested in the jungle hunting him down like a pig, but he was very much alive when the CIA flew him from that air strip to only the CIA knows where, to do only God knows what to him. Whatever happened one can only imagine Guevara wasn’t allowed to die without first experiencing himself the horrors that he had been responsible for forcing on so many innocent people.

            Best way to the truth is get it from the source, just like from the two men in this video. Now that obviously rubs up against your childish little fantasies in such a way it bunches up your panties into a twisted wad, but don’t fret, you’re only upset because you try to force history to fit your personal views. Once you realize history, like reality, is only valid when accepted for what it is, you’ll be able to forget your childish ways to start functioning as a mature adult. It may not be what you want right now, but you will find it’s honest, and it sure beats the little temper tantrums you’ll be embarrassed you used to throw anytime reality didn’t fit your delusions.

            1. Hey Ratko, cool story, continue it, I’m curious on what they did to the pig at the Air Strip ? 🙂

          3. What’s wrong with a pizza delivery guy?

            Isn’t he a proletarian?

            Isn’t true wisdom found in the commailto:cbobcheck@hotmail.common sense of the working man?

            1. Weird.
              Isn’t true wisdom found in the common sense of the working man?

          4. Wow. You are one of the “useful idiots!” You are so starstruck that you can’t even look at the people who actually were affected by this horrible man! Can you think on your own? Are you capable of intelligent thought? How can you idolize a murderer? Are you that desperate to be cool?

          5. Right. And you are so much smarter than those who were actually affected by this totalitarian regime why? You are a moron!

      2. Only in America, can a college dropout like Beck with the IQ of a carrot – make 22,000,000 $ a year by spoon feeding the “deliverance” mouth breathers …

        You’re just being jealous just because you can’t reach the IQ of a carrot and make $22M a year.

        1. Beck makes $22M a year?

          As the great fight promoter Don King once said: “Only in America”

          How could anyone not love a country in which the common man has the ability to make 22M/year?

          Almost makes me wish I watched TV so I could watch Beck’s show to see if a little of what he knows could rub off on me.

      3. IQ tests are biased against carrots since the carrot is physically unable to indicate his/her selection.

      4. Only in America, can a college dropout like Beck with the IQ of a carrot – make 22,000,000 $ a year by spoon feeding the “deliverance” mouth breathers …

        Yes, but I’d bet he knows enough to capitalize the D in deliverance when it’s used as the title of a movie. Maybe even the “mouth-breathers” do.

      5. You mean the campesinos who turned him in to the government?

      6. Mr. Beck America’s Prophet….more like profiteer. Americans are so gullible to be spoonfed such nonsense.

  2. Murdering people to obtain the right to further oppress oppressed people. How cool is that?

    1. “I have yet to find a single credible source pointing to a case where Che executed an innocent.”

      ? Jon Lee Anderson, Author of the 800 pg “Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life”, PBS Forum

      1. Everyone he murdered must have been guilty of resisting, then.

      2. Of course he didn’t murder innocent people. When he murdered homosexuals, they probably really where homosexual. When he murdered jazz music fans, they probably where jazz music fans. We simply disagree that homosexuality or enjoying jazz music should be an executable offense.

        1. name just 1 Jazz fan or homosexual that Che ever murdered? Hint: There are none. Even the Che-haters were only able to compile a list of 216 people believed to have been killed on Che’s orders and they were all for desertion, rape, crimes against peasants, being part of the former secret police etc. Google Armando Lago + Che + 216

          1. There’s the people that Che personally murdered, there’s the people that he ordered to be murdered… and then there’s all the people that the rest of the regime he was associated with murdered and continues to murder.

          2. Only 216 eh? Well that’s o.k. then.

          3. “crimes against peasants”, eh?

            I’m sure there’s no way that gets to mean just about anything you want it to.

          4. “Desertion”, huh? Wonder why they wanted to leave…

            This whole thread is so informative, purely because we get to see people who love violence in action. See, the Soviets killed a lot of deserters too… I think Kim Jong Il has been doing that for a while. Castro is certainly a big fan… Of course, those people were totally guilty, so executing murdering (executing really implies a fair trial, doesn’t it?) them is totally fine.

            The fact that what they were guilty of was trying to LEAVE a horrid situation is of no consequence to these dictator-fellating morons… You don’t have the right to leave a place like Cuba, or try to get out of being in a military force actively endangering your well-being. Your ass is owned by your faithful leader… the omni-benevolent “Butcher”.

            What’s even better is watching people like this come talk to libertarians as if we did or would have ever supported the kinds of activities engaged in by the CIA or JFK or anyone else… Of course, I’m a “wing-nut” for suggesting that people have the right to be free from thugs and actually hold that as a real principle that applies across the board. For Che-bot and his buddies, it’s only a “principle” if the thug isn’t on their team… By which I mean, there is no principle. If you’re a dictator, a murderer, a mass-murderer… Hey! No problem! Just do it for the “right” reasons.

            1. “By which I mean, there is no principle. If you’re a dictator, a murderer, a mass-murderer… Hey! No problem! Just do it for the “right” reasons.”

              Isn’t utilitarianism great? Where would we be without the great mass murderers of the world?

              1. As sarcastic & rhetorical as I know you’re being heller, the only answer I have to this is “wealthier, happier and more alive.”

              2. Isn’t utilitarianism great? Where would we be without the great mass murderers of the world?

                Be careful. Collectivism is by no means utilitarian. They ignore the lethal results of their policies and their actions.

                Liberty does in fact provide the greatest good for the greatest number.

      3. “I have yet to find a single credible source pointing to a case where Che executed an innocent.”

        ? Jon Lee Anderson, Author of the 800 pg “Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life”, PBS Forum

        Ahh, what perfectly dishonest – you did not write the rest of the quote. The guy basically said that Che was justified to murder so-called “desertors” because they are executed in time of war anyway.

        1. “To this I must point out that, while Che did indeed execute people [an episode I have gone into at length in my book] I have yet to find a single credible source pointing to a case where Che executed ‘an innocent’. Those persons executed by Guevara or on his orders were condemned for the usual crimes punishable by death at times of war or in its aftermath: desertion, treason or crimes such as rape, torture or murder.”

          They key one here is “treason” I think – this concept gets tricky (i.e. turns into a blank check for violence) during highly ideological social revolutions. Russia, China, Cuba, Iran, etc etc…

      4. The funny thing is that leftists believe that the US executes innocent people all the time, and yet apparently Che never made a mistake. Odd, that.

      5. Hey cool, he’s just like Pinochet (but a bad economic reformer)

        1. Actually, Pinochet was a terrible economic reformer. His policies were just as insane as most dictators (and most current US politicians for that matter), but they were so disastrous that he eventually had no choice but to stop trying to control his economy. They tried limited market liberalization in small pockets at first, and that was so successful that they let those pockets grow into a whole country, and now its economy is far more successful than most of its neighbors.

          No one here has any love for Pinochet… Market liberalization is something he didn’t want to do, but having hit basically rock bottom, he had no other choice.

          Similar stories are available in Estonia and India and a whole lot of former Communist nations around 1990. Another analogous story might be Portugal’s drug legalization, which occurred not because politicians wanted to increase liberty but because they simply couldn’t afford to keep enforcing their idiotic policies any more. Surprisingly (to them), legalizing drugs has precipitated a huge drop in the overall crime rates and seen a massive decline in drug use. Counter intuitive if you’re a politician, I suppose.

  3. Ha! Until you’re a Chia you haven’t really arrived!

      1. Che’a pet?

  4. great photo.

    still think that maradona’s handball in the ’86 world cup was the worst thing that an argentine has done.

    1. The Hand of God?

      1. sure Che might have murdered and tortured people but nothing compares to that crime.

        1. Ironically, Maradona has a huge tattoo of Che on his arm


          1. and I thought that he couldn’t get more irratating.

            and I thought that he couldn’t get more irritating.

            Actually apart from having a child that he barely acknowledges, its hard not to like him.

      1. I think Che Guevara in his current state would probably make a better manager

  5. Live by the gun, die by the gun. Still laughing.

  6. The Che worshippers I knew in university openly admired his thuggishness and violence. I suspect it is much the same today.

    BTW: “Declaim” =/= “denounce”.

    1. The only example needed of how debased Plantation Capitalism is, is the fact that in Soviet Russia Glenn Beck wouldn’t be qualified to peel potatoes, yet somehow in the land of the fat and stupid on Faux News, he is heralded as the next Aristotle (LOL)!

      The so called “experts” that Beck is utilizing for this idiotic Goebbels-esque special tonight, are all about as credible my pizza guy. it would be like having Jay Leno do “Jay Walking” interviews with hobos on Ancient Persian History – they are not credible in academia at all (and are on par with flat earthers and moon landing deniers).

      1. I didn’t know this article was about Glenn Beck. I must be illiterate.

        Perhaps I’ll move to Cuba. Sure, I can read better–but I’ll have to use the state-sponsored newspaper as toilet paper.

        On another note, it is ironic that the rock band Rage Against the Machine uses Che’s picture despite his contempt for modern music.

        1. Um, smart guy, Gillespie will be on Beck tonight, read the post article tag lines.

          1. So because Glen Beck has Nick Gillespie on his show concerning his article about misconceptions within popular culture about Che Guevara and communism, Beck is added to the tagline to help search engines find the article, and in doing such that makes the article about Beck.

            Um, that’s just brilliant, Alejandro.

        2. A little like the way skinheads play “neo-Nazi” music, when the real Nazi regime would have sent them to the camps in a second as part of their war against degenerate music.

      2. Soviet Russia had no potatoes to peel. Most likely he would have been sent to a gulag to die. But no worries, I am sure you would have been given a nice position, maybe Stalin’s personal fluffer? You seem like the type who can suck a mean dick. Anyway, have fun trolling.

        1. Well, let’s be fair – you could manage to get your hands on a potato, or a peeler…just never both at the same time.

      3. In Soviet Russia, potatoes peel you.

      4. You are, what we would call in Brooklyn, a putz. So the water mark of a person’s worth in society is how they would have been valued in Soviet Russia?

        To quote that famous philosopher: “Are you serious? Are you serious”

  7. Rage Against the Machine, anybody?

    It’s the first thing to come to mind when I see his picture.

    1. Che was fighting against:

      – American Oligarchy (United Fruit, Texaco, U.S. Sugar)
      – The US based Mafia (1959 Havana)
      – The Monroe Doctrine rationale for Latin American Imperialism (Bay of Pigs)
      – The idea of Banana Republics (Arbenz 1953 coup)
      – Uncle Sam’s love of Dictator Puppets (Batista, Suharto, Somoza, Trujillo, the Shah etc)

      It just kills Conservatives that such a heroic man will not go away. That is because these troglodytes cant fathom that he lives in the hearts of the hungry and the oppressed and that ideas never die.

      Hence Che Lives on !

      1. Because the ends ALWAYS justify the means, right generic-liberal-reader-of-a-libertarian-news-source?

        You can’t be pissed about torture if you’re not pissed about blanket executions.

        1. Fidel, Che, and Raul were able to overthrow the dictator Batista because of several conditions in the country.

          These caused widespread resentment for Batista and his US and mafia backed oligarchy.

          Such conditions were:

          ? Americans owned 70 % of the arable land.

          ? 1% of the population controlled 46 % of the wealth.

          ? Batista’s goons and secret police killed 20,000 Cubans (tortured even more).

          ? 40 % of the population were illiterate.

          ? 50 % of the population lived in Bohio shacks.

          ? Dissidents were hung and left to dangle in the streets as a warning sign.

          ? The Mafia (Meyer Lansky & Co) ran Havana and used Cuba as a whorehouse for rich gringos from the U.S.

          … I know the right-wing hates nuance and context, but some of us “book-readers” require it.

          1. You realize that Fidel was backed by the CIA, right? He claimed to be a “Jeffersonian Republican”. The first country he visited after taking power was the United States.

            It was only after the CIA, under pressure from the State Department, pulled their support from Fidel that he decided he could get bigger bribes from the Communists.

          2. This word you keep using, nuance, I do not think you know what it means.

            If you knew anything, you’d know that this is not a right-wing site and you’d know that nobody here would endorse any of the things you list above. Just because we think Che was a murderous thug doesn’t mean that we think Batista wasn’t a murderous thug. They were all horrible people.

            But hey, why find out anything about the people you’re arguing with since they’re a bunch of dumb hicks?

          3. This word “book-reader” you use, I do not think it means what you think it means.

          4. Who the hell at this site is honoring Batista? You don’t seem very good at reading.

            1. Oh, no… You don’t understand… He said he reads “books”, like See Spot Run, and other favorites. He didn’t say he was capable of the extremely challenging task of even checking the wikipedia entry on “libertarianism”.

          5. Interestingly enough, Batista (who pursued a somewhat pro-labor policy) was supported by the official Commmunist party of the day, the Partido Socialista Popular, which actually was represented in Batista’s cabinet. Castro, on the other hand, hadn’t come out as a communist yet (and may not have been, though Che certainly was from the beginning), so people could support Fidel as part of the non-communist left that the CIA was so fond of in those days. Only later did it turn out that the Batista-Castro fight was more like a fight between the CPUSA and the Revolutionary Communist Party.

        2. That’s not a liberal. Socialism (and paternalism) are opposite of liberalism.

          1. Now you’re just playing semantic games. I think we all know what kind of “liberal” the illustrious Porcupine was referring to… eg: not the liberal kind.

        3. Lenin didn’t call them his useful idiots for nothing. With the complete collapse of Soviet communisn their usefulness to any one has ended, nonetheless, idiocy has no cure – “Hence Che Lives on !”

      2. I suppose ends might justify means in some cases if I agreed with the end. Che’s means were not really any worse than Batista’s or the CIA’s.

        However, I do not agree with his “ends”, specifically, his solution to the age old problems of inequality and exploitation by putting the people under the thumb of the collective, run by a regime just as dictatorial as that which it replaced.

        I refuse to glamorize a thug just because he replaced some other thug.

        1. That’s the “subtlety” of your position that the CheBots won’t understand. You’re just using words to trick them…

          For what it’s worth, +1

      3. he lives in the hearts of the hungry and the oppressed

        Uh, no he “lives” over the hearts of spoiled ignorant first-world college students who will soon grow up to be hugely embarrassed whenever a photo of them wearing a Che shirt surfaces.

      4. Read, think, create. Then you won’t be so hungry or oppressed.

        I always thought that being faux rebellious took too much effort to cover up laziness and irresponsibility.

    2. Terrible thing, to have that shitty band pop into your head.

      1. Why don’t their fans ever get the delicious irony of these poseurs raging against “the machine” with whom they openly are working to separate (typically low income) consumers from their money through their band’s products, services and advocacy.

        Seriously, do they need the hypocrisy illustrated in cartoons? Gotta love the left.

      2. I know, but I had seen too many of their t-shirts when I was in HS in the 90’s.

  8. yeah I knew a kid in college who was going to be a teacher and said he would hang a picture of Che in his classroom. Needless to say he was the typical psuedo-intellectual that nobody liked

  9. Along the way, Che did more than his share to help ban rock and jazz music as “imperialist” forms of expression. Such actions mark Che less as the youthful idealist portrayed in the acclaimed film version of his own Motorcycle Diaries and more as a repressive, murderous thug, a Caribbean version of the Taliban.

    Even now many people that harbor some sympathy for this guy do not believe that he hated rock bands.

    1. “Che is not only an intellectual, he was the most complete human being of our time, our eras most perfect man.” — JEAN PAUL SARTRE

      1. And if a French intellectual says it, it must be true!

        1. Well, he did write Nausea, so I think your comment is appropriate.

          1. That was Camus, not Sartre.

            1. Oops, getting my French Existentialists mixed up. Ignore that last remark.

              1. Actually, I think it was JOHN PAUL BELMONDO, the intellectual actor, that wrote this.

      2. Of course, Jean Paul Sartre collaborated with the Nazis during WWII, so take his praise with a grain of salt.

      3. Sartre was possibly one of the most depressing individuals ever to exist. Anyone who can hold both communism and freedom as simultaneous ideals in their mind, has got to be in denial.

      4. Great, more existentialist bull shit.

      5. Sartre wasn’t a wife-beater. He never married Simone. And simone was only a complete feminist because she took those beatings and went back for more.

        Maybe Sartre thought he himself wasn’t complete because he could go through with killing her.

      6. I don’t understand why you don’t see any Pol Pot t shirts or movies. I mean, he fought capitalist imperialism, executed LOTS of enemies of the peasants, and was endorsed by great intellectuals like Noam Chomsky. What more do you need?

        1. Maybe Che is better looking and has a cooler sounding name?

  10. The Che worshippers I knew in university openly admired his thuggishness and violence.

    The rest do it un-openly or unconsciously. No one wears a badge innocently.

    Why aren’t the KFC guy and Orville Redenbacher as memetically catchy as Che and Mao? They’re all just friendly competitors in the emptily iconic red and black head business, right? But the Colonel and Orville don’t deniably signify mass murder, so no one wants them on their shirt.

    People are fucked up inside.

    1. “But the Colonel and Orville don’t deniably signify mass murder”

      Chicken Holocaust Denier!

    2. Well Colonel Sanders and Trotsky look alike…

  11. One man’s murderous thug is another man’s freedom fighter.

    1. I disagree, murder is different than killing for a cause. rounding up people in a prison and shooting them is not the work of a freedom fighter its the work of a socio-path. Hey lets make a Ted Bundy T-shirt, im sure in no time money hungry closet capitalist rock bands will be glad to wear it while they rake in the dough and yet profess to being socialists

    2. “Che Guevara is an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom, we will always honor his memory.” — NELSON MANDELA

      1. “I am a liberal tool!”

      2. “Splat! Splat! Splat! Splat! Splat! Splat! Splat! Splat! Splat!”—THE SOUND OF CHE BEING SHOT 9 TIMES AT POINT-BLANK RANGE

        1. They were drunk. It was an accident.

      3. One terrorist endorsing another. Mandela is lucky the Boers didn’t copy Che’s methods.

      4. Yay! I am going to honor freedom by putting a tire of gasoline around the head of my political opponents and their families and light it on fire.

      5. What’s with quoting of people as if it justifies and adds credibility?

        And they say people don’t think…

        Here’s a quote: “Crazy Ernie was the most complete asshole ever.”

        1. Typical fall back of a weak mind ? “it must be true, my heroes said so!”

          Also emblematic of someone with a pliable sense of right and wrong.

    3. Paging Mr. Godwin. I repeat, paging Mr. Godwin.

    4. Yes, and that other man is Pol Pot.

  12. I have two shirts with the slightly altered “Viva La Revolucion” picture. has tee’s with Reagan’s picture and the words “Viva La Reagan Revolution”. I also got my brother-in-law the one that says “Celebrate Diversity” and has a dozen pictures of handguns. (warning conservative messages abound)

    For my coming birthday I am going to get my wife to purchase the one that all libertarians should appreciate. It says “Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms should be a convenience store not, a government agency”

    1. Damn, misplaced comma!

    2. Reagan was a fake and you know it

      1. … not to mention Reagan was a War Criminal that killed 200x more people with his right-wing Contra Death squads than Che ever did.

        Che had 200 War Criminals shot after a revolution … Reagan helped facilitate 200,000 deaths in Latin America by contras …

        WORSE ???

        1. Thank you both for you comments.

          Nothing confirms by beliefs more than disagreement from imbeciles.

        2. Funny that you think that if one is against Che Guevara he or she is for Reagan.

          You don’t have many complete thoughts, do you?

        3. Reagan and Guevara both sucked.

          Reagan, in fact, had socialist tendencies of his own.

        4. You’re comparing Giant Douche to Turd Sandwich

    3. I have the ATF shirt,and it was a big hit at the 2010 NAMM show last week,it also pisses people off,which I always enjoy,

      1. Bobnormal,

        I’m with you, I’m all for pissing off the lefties.

  13. What I don’t get is, why no modern personality cult survives for any of the mainline Warsaw Pact leaders?

    Why no shirts with Wojciech Jaruzelski rocking out in his trademark shades? You don’t see Erich Hoenecker showing up in Dos Equis commercials.

    Why can’t these guys share in the belated adoration of confused college girls?

    1. Because they were white.

      1. … Che was an Irish Argentine and would be seen as “white” by most, genuis.

        1. No, he would be seen as “foriegn, maybe Mexican?”. Because left wing college kids are fucking retarded.

          1. White, but also exotically foreign. Yes, Jean Paul Sartre, the perfect man.

        2. If you had a brain, I’d fuck it like a pie.

    2. I’m willing to bet that the Hoenecker worship is coming in about another twenty years.

  14. Nick’s qualifications to opine on Che would be what exactly??? That he runs an internet blog?

    1:22:10 = Beck the Mormon college dropout alcoholic in magical underpants is going to pontificate to the illiterate teabagging yokel demographic on the social aspects of the Soviet Union —> With his sole basis of knowledge being Patrick Swayze in Red Dawn.


    1. And here come the hysterical, incoherent che-bots.

    2. Uh, just what “qualifications” does one need to observe that someone was a murderous thug?

      1. … Hmm let’s see, Che reviewed the appeals of 200 or so War Criminals after a revolution who were convicted to die by revolutionary tribunals modeled after the Nuremburg allie ones … and those he refused to pardon were shot against a wall.

        Keeping in mind that the mafia backed Dictator Batista had killed 20,000 Cubans – only having to shot 200 goons afterwards was pretty tame.

        Yet somehow this makes Che a “murdeous thug” in wingnut land? Is a US governor who does not commute a death sentence a “murderer”? How about a US President that invades another country on false pretenses which leads to 900,000 deaths?

        You clowns are pathetic – and in bad need of an education.

        1. Yes, we know we’ll all be in the reeducation camps after the revolution and you can correct our negligent thinking then. We’ll all wear our happy Che shirts and sing socialism’s praises.

        2. Getting less cute as I read through the thread… Unsurprising though.

        3. “Yet somehow this makes Che a “murdeous thug” in wingnut land?”

          Murder is murder in any land.

          “Is a US governor who does not commute a death sentence a “murderer”?”

          What? Um, if you’re asking if a US governer kills someone then it’s still bad the answer is yes.

          “How about a US President that invades another country on false pretenses which leads to 900,000 deaths?”

          That man is an idiot and, yes, morally reprehensible. Btw, how’s Mr. Nobel Peace Prize doing on the needless war front? I can only imagine by your opposition to State murder that Obama deserves death by “revolutionary tribunal.” I’d let him off with just a lecture on ethics if he’d promise to tell his thugs to let us be, but that’s just me.

        4. Yet somehow this makes Che a “murdeous thug” in wingnut land? Is a US governor who does not commute a death sentence a “murderer”? How about a US President that invades another country on false pretenses which leads to 900,000 deaths?


        5. Keeping in mind that the mafia backed Dictator Batista had killed 20,000 Cubans – only having to shot 200 goons afterwards was pretty tame.

          Have you noticed how nobody here is sticking up for Batista? Just because we condemn Guevara doesn’t mean we support the gangsterism of Batista. It’s not one body count vs another body count, all dictators are bad whatever rhetoric they cloak themselves in.

          Yet somehow this makes Che a “murdeous thug” in wingnut land?

          No, it’s the 200 (+/-, YBCMV) bodies that make Guevara a murderous thug (spelt rite!) at reason dot com. Other thugs’ body counts are not relevant, see above.

          You’re welcome for the free education in not assuming shit.

        6. Apples and oranges and broken eggs a delightful omelet make!

    3. And your qualifications to opine on anything are what exactly?

      And had you read earlier thread’s on Gillespie’s appearance on Beck’s show, you’d know that Beck is not universally admired here.

      Now, run along and play with your other little radical chic friends while the grownups have a serious talk…

      1. Actually, some of us are starting to admire Beck. He was talking shit 6 months ago, now, not so much. Apparently he is correct more often than the far left and libertarians are willing to admit.

  15. “What I don’t get is, why no modern personality cult survives for any of the mainline Warsaw Pact leaders?”

    Because they were mostly old, crusty bureaucrats. Charisma counts for quite a lot

    1. It’s true. If they had had long, untamable hair and a beret little pinkos everywhere would be sporting their image today.

  16. He does seem like the typical fly half.
    There have been worse than him though.

  17. CHE’s LAST WORDS to his children in a farewell letter =

    “Above all, always be capable of feeling most deeply any injustice committed against anyone in the world. That is the most beautiful quality in a revolutionary.”

    1. …and also be “a cold-blooded killing machine”.

    2. What if “revolutionaries” are the ones performing injustice?

      1. “At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality… We must strive every day so that? this love of living humanity will be transformed into actual deeds, into acts that serve as examples, as a moving force.” — CHE GUEVARA

        1. Sure, he loved humanity, individuals who disagreed with him were problematical, though. They needed correcting, the kind that can only come through the loving use of force.

          Those damn individuals, always screwing up utopias.

        2. And then…

          Bang, bang.

          And then…

          Write poetry.

          And then…

          Bang, bang.

          Circle of demented life.

        3. You ever read Paul Johnson’s wonderful article, “The Heartless Lovers of Human Kind”?

          Seems like it’s worth a read… But cause I’m feeling more generous I’ll link you to a blog I did about Karl Marx also being this kind of a douchebag entitled; Marx *never* visited a factory!??

          Funny thing about guys like Che. They really “loved” humanity in the sense of the extremely abstract… Like when a wife-beater says he “loves” his wife. No really, he’d just die without her. He NEEEDS her! He just also has to beat her senseless if she ever does anything under her own volition. Thugs are funny like that.

        4. Yes ? only delirious people so heavily imbued with a sense of their own righteousness that it approaches the high of new found love can commit atrocities. Ever see those speeches by someone who I shall not name (for fear of Goodwining the subject), that was some righteous passion.

          The fact that morons like you walk around really scare me.

    3. VivaChe!|1.22.10 @ 1:42PM|#
      “CHE’s LAST WORDS to his children in a farewell letter =”

      A farewell letter? What, he knew that he was going to be shot by a bunch of drunken Bolivians before he died?

  18. At least Che’s mom didn’t drown herself like Beck’s Mother … but then again if I gave birth to that spawn of $atan I’d kill myself too :o) hahahaha

    1. What is it with you and Glenn Beck? I wasn’t aware that he was Reason’s favorite guy.

      1. I believe the Che-bots are using Beck because after the article it states

        “Nick Gillespie is editor in chief of and He appears in the Glenn Beck special The Revolutionary Holocaust: Live Free…or Die, which airs on Friday, January 22, 2009, and explores the legacy the 20th century communism, including the ongoing cult of Che Guevara.”

        I have Beck TIVOd tonight and cant wait.

        1. Is it more than one Che-bot? I was thinking it’s probably the same guy.

          1. could be Sean, but id say from the girth and number that there is probably a che forum somewhere that mentions whenever reason mentions che and they all flock here. “commies at the gates”!

          2. They’re all the same guy. There’s an assembly line in Shenzhen, China

    2. Some say that Glenn Beck is the new ‘Che’.

  19. If only it had been something about royalties and image rights.

  20. Where did all the CheBots come from? They obviously have never been here before and know absolutely nothing about the Reason crowd. Did some pro-Che blogger find this and send them our way?

    1. They were googling for South American Thug Bukkake pics.

    2. I think it’s “activities time” at the Kommunity Kollege and the “book-readers” have been let out to play.

  21. Where did all the CheBots come from?

    Somewhere there is a group home for mentally challenged adults that is about to rethink its internet access policies. Don’t worry, they usually go down for naps after the 2:30 feeding and diaper change.

    1. When I was an impressionable youth in the 70’s I hate a Che shirt – but I thought it was an artistic depiction of Jesus.

      Now i’d burn it.

      1. Keep that T-shirt. Remember, Che was a Commie. Few things could be worse for a Commie than being turned into a symbol used by for-profit companies to sell trendy apparel for middle-class white kids.

        1. +100

  22. no love so far for poor old Mao.

    1. … none of the mao-bots in China are allowed internet access 🙂

    2. You know it’s gonna beee…


      You know it’s gonna beee…


    3. Plenty of love for him on the White House Holiday Tree.

      1. +10

  23. The U.S. allied itself with the brutal Stalin against Nazism, thus he was “our monster” … Hitler on the other hand was the “enemy monster”.

    Foreign policy is very Machiavellian. If he kills for U.S. interests (Pinochet, Marcos, Somoza, The Shah, Trujillo, Batista, Suharto, Mobutu, Saddam (1980-88), Mubarak, Osama Bin Laden during the Soviet Invasion, King Abdullah etc) then he is an important allie who Uncle Sam backs with mine and your tax dollars.

    However if he kills against U.S. interests (Allende, Khomenni, Castro, Che, Arbenz, Lumumba, Ben Bella, Franco, Chavez, Ortega, Saddam (1991-2001), Ahmadinejad, Osama Bin Laden post Soveit Invasion etc) then he is an “evil” villian who must be destroyed.

    I believe that both Ron Paul (R) and Dennis Kucinich (D) have done a good job of pointing this out.

    We as Americans should be the ones to demand an end to propping up any brutal tyrants !

    1. nuh-uh.
      If you oppose Che, you rape puppies and support the Capitalist Puppy Rape Machine.

      1. If you oppose support Che, you rape puppies and support the Capitalist Puppy Rape Rage against the Machine.

    2. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

  24. Where can I get a Joe Stalin T-Shirt?
    “Ya gotta break some eggs to make an omelet”
    would be a great quote under Joe’s picture.
    Like Che, Joe hasn’t quite reached the level of adoration he deserves.

    1. HAHA now that is funny. Stalin could even be holding a spatula.

      1. Hello, this is Sy Greenblum, President of Spatula City.

        I love their spatulas so much, I bought the company.

    2. Do it up at

  25. I WANT THAT, MiddleGrounder.

  26. His image reminds me of planet of the apes.

    or am I talking complete crap?

    1. I don’t think he looks anything like a half-melted Statue of Liberty.

  27. “We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you. God damn you all to hell”

  28. “The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have conserved their racial purity by a lack of affinity with washing, have seen their patch invaded by a different kind of slave: The Portugese…. the black is indolent and fanciful, he spends his money on frivolity and drink; the European comes from a tradition of working and saving which follows him to this corner of America and drives him to get ahead.” -Che

    I think I might join the Che fan club. Not only did he hate the faggots, he hated them niggers too! Oh boy, count me in.


    2. That quote was from his youth when he encountered bleakc people in a slum for the first time.

      His views later changed and he fought with mostly blacks, had a black bodyguard, and even fought with an army of blacks in the African Congo.

      Nice Canard though.

      1. Yeah, probably some of his best friends were black. 🙂

      2. Aren’t all the quotes the Che-bots posted thus far also various types of canards and/or non sequiturs?

        Besides which, Che, being the fine Marxist that he was would naturally have to be a polylogist. Even if he didn’t take it that far (and I’m pretty sure he did) he was one of the most extreme collectivists of all time. Point being: Racism = Collectivism. The whole idea behind Marxist philosophy is that everyone’s socio-economic/political/racial/etc. group dictates who they are as a person. There are no individuals – only members of groups, and by product of birth, or upbringing, “reality” is different.

        Being the big-time Congo revolutionary, I’m quite sure Che knew loads of black people. So what? That doesn’t make him not a racist scumbag murderer… Hell, quite a large number of Africans are extremely racist as it is. That’s part of the deal you make when you stick with tribalism as your cultural & political ideal.

  29. He hated niggers and fags?! I’m going to dump my hooded robes and get me one of them t-shirts.

    1. Actually Che denounced Apartheid in 1964 at the UN, 30 years before everyone else did.

      But don’t let a fact ruin an argument.

      1. I’m pretty sure that was more driven by his hatred of “western” “white” culture. I’m sure he was very “progressive” but his ideals were still dehumanizing to people of any race. Being against dictatorship was great, but I would hardly call his future dream of constant revolution and bloodshed left a lot to be desired.

        1. I’m pretty sure that was more driven by his hatred of “western” “white” culture. I’m sure he was very “progressive” but his ideals were still dehumanizing to people of any race. Being against dictatorship was great, but I would “hardly call”(should say, “argue”) his future dream of constant revolution and bloodshed left a lot to be desired.

  30. What else is new? Hollywood has a sick love affair with the founding fathers also, many of whom were slaveholders and practiced genocide.

    1. You may note a minor difference, in that the philosophy espoused by the founding fathers led to more and more freedom and the renunciation of slavery as more people were included into the concept of humanity and natural rights. Ultimately that has made people who’s forefathers may have been slaves vastly richer here than one might have ever expected… Whereas, the philosophy espoused by Guevara is that of *more* murder, rape, enslavement and economic destruction… Those people who’s forefathers were slaves in Cuba aren’t doing much better now, for instance.

      1. Um, Thomas Jefferson would have sex (i.e. rape) is slave girls.

        U$ currency bears the face of rapists and slave holders who exterminated Indians because they felt God wanted them to.

    2. Sweeping generalization alert!

      Man, you can’t be this myopic.

  31. Probably the most fitting quote from that shitstain Guevara.

    “Cruel leaders are replaced only to have new leaders turn cruel!”

  32. I loves me some Che! But seriously folks, Who’s calling the kettle black? Show me one government without blood on it’s hands and then I’ll take that government a bit more seriously. EVERY government is a power base, and hence, they will do ANYTHING to keep power. Including murder of the opposition and innocents. Just look at modern america, for example. I’m sure the crown of England, back in the day, thought George Washington was a terrorist and a murderer since he is documented as having quislings and some British officers executed.
    Once people start realizing that governments are NOT there for the everyday citizen, even in a republic or a ‘democracy’, like in america (did ya see that the supreme court just upheld the right for corporations to bribe our politicians?)
    People – it’s the people against the power hungry. Whether that be corporations or governments.

    “And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in all the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.” — John Steinbeck – (1902-1968) – Source: East of Eden, 1952

    ~ lupus the free man

    1. and whose t-shirts are being worn?

  33. I’m watching this right now. I disagree with important aspects of the attempt to paint Nazism as a left-wing (or non-right) movement, from my perspective as a scholar of Nazi/Soviet history, but the rest of this is dynamite. Dynamite. Heartwrenching dynamite.

    1. It was collectivism and statism. Who cares if it was left or right, since those terms make more sense as directions and not political point of views.

    2. Esoteric,

      There is nothing right-wing or left-wing with Hitler or Stalin or Mao – they were all Statists. You only have Statists (i.e. Thieves with no Character) and Non Statists (i.e. Voluntarysts, Libertarians, Anarchists)

  34. Oddly, the worst monster of the 20th Century, Mao, made only a brief appearance at the end, almost as an afterthought. Yet, despite some annoying production gimmicks, it was an effective bit of propaganda. You can only scratch the surface of this topic in such a restricted time slot, but if the show prevents a few nitwits from buying Che T-shirts it will have been worth it.

    1. Unfortunately, I think the special might actually sell more of those Che bikinis.

      The Che piece seemed out of place, as the others killed in the millions, and he killed in the dozens – the humor was also out of place.

      Anyway, the overall film was great – although Mao should have been featured more.

      1. Only to someone completely uninformed, could Che —(a man who fought in Africa with an all black army against white South African mercenaries of Apartheid)— be seen as “racist” for a diary passage he wrote as a youth 15 years earlier.

        1. I don’t think he was racist. He was just nuts. He’s always viewed life in relatively simplistic terms from the sound of it. The only reason he came to side with blacks was because he felt they were oppressed by capitalism. If they were rich capitalists, he would have probably developed a hatred of them.

      2. You’re counting only the people Guevara killed directly versus all the people killed by Mao’s and Stalin’s policies. Guevara and his regime killed far more than dozens and contributed to the poverty and death of millions, just like Mao and Stalin.

  35. Okay, Nick, it’s terrible that people are fetishizing left-wing butchers. But appearing on a Glenn Beck special? Dude.

    1. I agree, Beck is no Libertarian, in fact I would call him a Skouse-ian Mormonist who subscribes to John Birch NWO conspiracies.

      Ah well, he’s at least better than Olbermann (barely).

      1. It’s worth it though. Che-bots have a hive mind. If you can induce a rage-stroke in even one bot then the effect can spread and take out a whole colony.

  36. Nick,Great job today on Beck,you sure brought out the trolls today,it’s too bad that the left in America doesn’t like guns,cos they can’t revolt against us rednecks,WE have the guns!…..Tools,
    Useful idiots all!

  37. Guanahacabibes

  38. And to think I once thought communism was dead! I love when 20-year old Maoists come to places like this to impress us with their new-fangled book larnin. It’s so thoroughly enriching.

    1. Paying taxes to support the public universities where they learn this garbage is really special, too.

  39. My friend texted me from the airport which had their tvs on mute and said “Fox News is marketing Che shirts” because as she was walking by, the start of the Che segment with the shirts was playing. Let’s hope people used their closed captioning :o)

  40. Jefferson didn’t rape those slaves. Sally loved to have him come down to the shack after midnight to shoot a load all over her gorgeous black bod. He was the Bill Clinton of the founding fathers.

  41. I see from reading all the pro Che comments the whole White house staff is here tonight.

    1. +1

  42. The concept really needs to be presented over several hours–one episode per murderous monster–to do it justice. Why hasn’t Ken Burns tackled this subject, hmmm? Then again, we’re more likely to see Rachel Maddow in a ball gown.

  43. Since you all like Che, I think Saddam Hussein was a great revolutionary. Heck might as well throw in Hitler as well, Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot. Think I will get into the Tee Shirt making business.

    1. -1, for the reductio ad hitlerum

      which ironically was most of what Beck’s silly mockumentary was

      1. Silly is as silly writes.

    2. Godwin’s Law

  44. Che was hot, right-wingers are not

    … therein lies the issue :o)

  45. ObamaGirl is half correct. The Che image is very sexy.

    And make no mistake: we all are aware of the gun unseen in the picture.

    The folks on the left (including, sadly, the feminists) are uncomfortable with the very real biological preference that women have for strong, well armed men.

    We are all civilized now so we seek other traits in men, but a century or so of enlightenment has a difficult time competing with a millennium of evolution.

    An intelligent woman looks at the Che image and thinks ‘what a waste’. The young coed believes she is drawn to his so-called compassion and is relieved that there are ‘acceptable’ leftish heroes that don’t remind her of Ed Begley!

    Che will be popular until another sexy image takes his place. And it won’t be Obama; I don’t know what his attraction to so many people is but it isn’t anything our cave dwelling ancestors (probably mouth breathers)would respond to. Even the undeniably attractive guys on the left (DiCaprio, Stephenopulous, Martin Sheen, Clinton is his younger days) don’t inspire that primitive lust that Che does.

    As for Mao, he doesn’t need a t-shirt – he had his little fortune cookie book.

    ObamaGirl is also correct that right-wingers are not hot. So?

    Libertarians on the other hand. . . in their leather jackets with their tousled hair and dark dreamy eyes. . .

  46. I love the people on this thread who say they like to hear about people and events from the source. And then make fun of and dismiss the accounts of the men in this video because they’re “only” a ball player and musician.
    So, if you were there, it doesn’t count if you didn’t hold certain jobs?

    Do you people listen to yourselves?

  47. “gunned down in 1967 by drunken Bolivian soldiers”

    Hmmm . . . that’s an odd way to characterize Che’s death.

    Che was painstakenly tracked down by Felix Rodriguez, a Cuban-born CIA Agent. Che was captured by the Bolivian forces that were working with Rodriguez and was held for (if I remember correctly) less than 24 hrs before being executed. (Rodriguez wanted to extradite Che, but was overruled.)

    The whole story is told in Rodriguez’s autobiography, “Shadow Warrior”…..0352326859


  48. You wite for a living and this is the best you can come up with? I’m totally idifferent to any sort of fashion fad, but honestly, who cares if people wander around with che shirts/bags/ipod cases? Kindergarteners learn all about how amazing Christopher Columbus was, when in reality he was a murder/pillage/rape mega star. What’s your next article going to be about, Chairman Mao handbags?

    reporter fail.

  49. Great Post.

    Specially that image is too good

  50. We’re living in a time of instantly-gratifying selective history; if you’re a conservative you can log onto Amazon right now and find a book that supports your ideology. If your a liberal ? likewise. There are plenty of books expounding on the heroic feats of the ‘liberator’, Che Guevara. On the flip side there are plenty that rail against all the atrocities he committed. These are then “proven” or “disproved” by a series of other books.

    There’s a reason why Che (the Robin Hood myth) is still compelling. Regardless of his actual exploits, the myth depicts a character who overthrows a brutal dictatorship by rallying the common folk. He takes land from wealthy foreigners who’ve supposedly ‘exploited’ the poor and gives it away. He fights in another continent to help free South African blacks. He thumbs his nose at a superpower which has grown incredibly arrogant and belligerent in it’s meddling. There’s a lot to like in that for anyone (regardless of its actual accuracy).

  51. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke.

  52. State and Local Public Policy from the Mercatus Center Gov. Christie declares a “fiscal state of emergency” in New Jersey by Eileen Norcross on February 11, 2010 in Uncategorized Just as he promised, after winning the office in November, Governor Chris Christie has declared a fiscal state of emergency in New Jersey. The move gives him broad powers to reform the state’s finances. He will?

  53. Very interesting article, thank you for the infos

  54. Exactly where can one obtain Java Stalin T-Shirt?
    “Ya gotta break up a good number of offspring to create a good omelet”
    would have been a good estimate within Joe’s snapshot.
    For instance Che, Java has not rather arrived at the exact level regarding adoration this individual feasible to get. Finnish Lapphund breed

  55. Thanks for your wonderful article!

  56. there’s mudslinging to communism here, what about how capitalistic nations effectively eliminate other nations through funding dictators and ensuring local people don’t thrive? just for them to live in excesses e.g congo, Iraq, or are these not people?

  57. als rather than conventional workplace incentives,

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