The New York Times on Monday marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Fidel Castro henchman and murderous Communist thug Che Guevara. The paper’s Andes bureau chief Nicholas Casey filed “Execution Haunts Village 50 Years After Guevara’s Death -- Residents of a tiny Bolivian hamlet vividly recall the day the guerrilla leaders was shot at their school.” The left has long been infatuated with the Communist killer, and will read nothing to change their minds in the Times' blandishment remembrance from Bolivia, marking Guevara’s execution.
The Times has been properly castigated for its whitewashing of Communism in its infamous Red Century profiles that appear online every Monday. Casey’s piece is of the same kind, blandly ignoring Guevara’s atrocities while noting his “revolutionary” zeal.
Irma Rosales, tired after decades of tending her tiny store, sat back one morning with a box full of photos and remembered the stranger who was shot in the local schoolhouse 50 years ago.
His hair was long and greasy, she said; his clothes so dirty that they might have belonged to a mechanic. And he said nothing, she recalled, when she brought him a bowl of soup not long before the bullets rang out. Che Guevara was dead.
Monday marks a half-century since the execution of Guevara, the peripatetic Argentine doctor, named Ernesto at birth, who led guerrilla fighters from Cuba to Congo. He stymied the United States during the Bay of Pigs invasion, lectured at a United Nations lectern and preached a new world order dominated by those once marginalized by superpowers.
His towering life was overshadowed only by the myth that emerged with his death. The image of his scruffy beard and starred beret became the calling card of romantic revolutionaries around the world and across generations, seen everywhere from the jungle camps of militants to college dorm rooms.
Yet the villagers of La Higuera, Bolivia, who lived through that time, tell a story that is far less mythic, describing a short, bloody episode where a forgotten corner of this mountainous countryside briefly became a battleground of the Cold War.
Casey doesn’t bother to puncture the leftist hagiography around this brutal killer:
As Latin America remembers Guevara’s death, the region also faces a larger reckoning with the same leftist movements that drew on him for inspiration.
Casey whitewashed Venezuela’s Socialist-inspired meltdown:
The Socialist-inspired movement of the late President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela led to gains in education and health care, but the country has sunk into hunger, unrest and dictatorship.
He dispensed with Guevara’s killings in a single clause:
After having overseen the firing squads that followed the Communist victory he helped secure in Cuba, and after a stint running the country’s central bank, Guevara suddenly vanished in 1965, sent by Fidel Castro to organize revolutions abroad. He was dispatched on a failed mission to Congo, then bounced between safe houses in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Prague.
It seems his brutal reputation proceeded him in Bolivia, but the Times reporter doesn’t make anything of it, just engages in understatement.
While Guevara was known around the world, his fame did little to endear him to Bolivia’s peasants.
And the country had already undergone a revolution the decade before, instituting universal suffrage, land reform and expanded education. During Guevara’s time fighting in Bolivia, not a single peasant was documented to have joined him.
Again Casey soft-pedaled Guevara’s murderous instincts. This Che quote was nowhere to be found: "It is hatred that makes our soldiers into violent and cold-blooded killing machines.”
With tips like the one from the mayor, the army started closing in on Guevara and his band of guerrillas.
Among those on the hunt was Gary Prado, then a young officer who had been pursuing Guevara all summer through the mountains.
From his study in the city of Santa Cruz, the retired general, now 78, admitted that the army had hardly been prepared for the start of a guerrilla war on its turf. But it was soon being aided by American training and the arrival of agents from the Central Intelligence Agency, which was eager to see Guevara dead.
It was to this school that the army brought the captured Guevara, and the guerrilla fighter could barely speak when Ms. Cortés entered the schoolhouse the next day, Oct. 9. He was muttering a few words about the revolution, she said, the one he was losing.
“They say he was ugly then, but I think he was incredibly beautiful,” she recalled.
Ms. Cortés said she had just returned home when the shots rang out, killing him.
Casey's coverage exemplifies the Times’ persistent refusal to comprehend leftist tyranny. In a June 2016 NPR interview Casey actually blamed “consumerism” for the country’s woes, while labeling the late socialist dictator Hugo Chavez as a “very much a democrat in a lot of ways.”
On the same page on Monday, reporter Zach Johnk’s sidebar, “Che Guevara’s Fiery Life, and for One Final Time, His Bloody Death,” rendered his murders as blandly as possible:
Before all that, though, there was the man, an Argentine-born doctor who first arrived on the world stage during the Cuban revolution, when he became a trusted comrade of Fidel and Raúl Castro....In the months and years that followed, Guevara oversaw executions at La Cabaña prison before becoming a top-level economic minister and diplomat, traveling the world to promote Cuba’s ideals.”
Johnk found some Che-worshippers:
It was not until nearly 30 years later that Jon Lee Anderson, who was writing a biography of Guevara, learned of the location, and the revolutionary was given a second burial with full honors in Cuba.
On that occasion, in October 1997, Fidel Castro described him as “the paradigm of the revolutionary” who is “everywhere there is a just cause to defend,” The Times reported.
Raúl Barroso González, a retiree, spoke for many who admired Guevara. “As far as we are concerned, he is still alive,” he said.