Hey Urban Outfitters: Che Guevara Was a Murderer and Your Poster Is Not Cool
A friendly reminder from Human Rights Foundation founder Thor Halvorssen to your neighborhood vendor of overpriced rags and tatty studio apartment decor: Posters of Che Guevara are not cool, even when they are on sale for $9.99 (originally $19.99!):
Although Guevara's image has appeared on countless items for consumption over the last few decades as a symbol of change for the better, Guevara's actual record is that of a brutal tyrant who suppressed individual freedom in Cuba and murdered those who challenged his worldview.
That's right, Urban Outfitters. By flacking posters of Che's beardy face, you're encouraging your customers to say: Hey, I like old records, three legged stools, and death!:
From 1959 to 1960, the new government carried out summary executions of at least 1,118 people by firing squad. Guevara himself presided over the notorious La Cabaña prison, where hundreds of the executions took place. For comparison's sake, the Batista regime was responsible for 747 noncombatant deaths between 1952 and 1959. The Cuban revolution under the direction of Guevara also saw the rise of forced labor camps which gave way a few years later to full-scale concentration camps. These were filled with dissidents, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Afro-Cuban priests, and anyone else who had committed "crimes" against the new moral revolution.
Just to be clear, Halvorssen (and Reason) thinks people who want to ban Guevera's smug mug are just as dumb as the wearers themselves. Because freedom of speech! And Urban Outfitters does describe the poster as a "conversation starter." So, conversation started, I guess. Let's see what the beret-clad Cuban has to say for himself:
In a speech in front of the United Nations in 1964, Guevara proudly admitted that "yes, we have executed, we are executing, we will continue to execute." He boasted of murdering Eutimio Guerra, bragging in his diary how he "ended the problem with a .32 caliber pistol, in the right side of his brain."
Headline inspiration from the "Che Guevara was a murderer and your t-shirt is not cool" Facebook group.