Ernesto Guevara — or “Che,” as he is known in infamy — has held a romantic appeal for certain sophomores since he died in Argentina in 1967 in the same manner he dispatched thousands in Cuba, by an executioner’s bullet. Many the sophomore, determined to remake the world in a way to make daddy angry, posted Che’s image on dorm walls and wore the ubiquitous Che T-shirt. Many of them didn’t know any better, and most of them outgrew it.
Now the sophomores at UNESCO, who have never shown any signs of outgrowing lurid enthusiasms, have included “The Life and Works of Ernesto Che Guevara” in this year’s additions to the Memory of the World Register. The Widow Guevara and their two children were invited to Havana for the honors. The documents chosen to tell an expurgated version of Che’s story include youthful “Motorcycle Diaries” and his journals written in a cell in Bolivia before he kept his date with a firing squad. Three hundred documents are carefully and lovingly displayed in Havana.
Documenting history is always a good thing, and Che deserves to be remembered in the company of Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan and a few others of their ilk. But remembering is one thing; commemorating is another. Naturally, the United States is expected to pay for a lot of this. President Obama wants to restore American funding for UNESCO, and send $225 million to UNESCO at once, or as soon as Congress can be persuaded to put a check in the mail.
Not everyone applauds. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, a Republican who was born in Cuba and represents a Miami district, calls the UNESCO honors for Che “more than an insult to the families of those Cubans who were lined up and summarily executed by Che and his merciless cronies, but it also serves as a direct contradiction to the UNESCO ideals of encouraging peace and universal respect for human rights.” She rightly calls it a mockery of the organization itself to “venerate and memorialize the life of a bloodthirsty, murderous sadist.”
Che never tried to hide his thirst for blood or the pleasure he took in torture and murder. “Hatred,” he said, “[is] an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine. This is what our soldiers must become …” And so they did. He presided over the executions of hundreds of government officials without trial or due process. He signed the death warrants of Cuban authors and ordered the burning of 3,000 “anti-revolutionary” books.
Che visited America in 1964 and boasted of the Cuban terrorist state. “Yes,” he said, “we have executed people; we are executing people and shall continue to execute people as long as it is necessary.” Not much of a hero, even for sophomores or UNESCO.
The Washington Times