I am always amazed when I see the faces of Mao or Che Guevara on clothing or posters by those free spirits who imagine that these men would do anything but kill them for their social and political views. On page 16 of this book the author recounts how Henry Gomez made a t-shirt to counter all the "Che Lives" shirts floating around. His said "Che's Dead - Get Over It". Carlos Santana saw it and came over to berate him (never mind that Santata's brand of music was banned in Cuba by Guevara). Santata said, "Che may be dead for you, but he lives in our hearts ... Che is all about love and compassion." They then exchanged points. Santata's were based on fantasy and Gomez in fact. In the end, Santana said what one would expect, "You're getting hung up on facts, man." Wow.
This book recounts Che's murderous role in the deaths of more than 10,000 people after the Cuban revolution. Just one story of horror involves a mother pleading for the life of her boy directly in front of Che. He listened, thought, and then picked up the phone and shouted a command for the boy to be taken out and shot immediately. He had no respect for the law. It was a bourgeois detail that impeded the revolution. When one official pleaded for a trial before a sentence of death was passed, Che shouted that the man could conduct his trial tomorrow, but that the execution had to be conducted tonight. Even when there were trials, they were just for show with the sentences already noted on the form prior to the trail. There is much of this.
That so many on the left, including many American media outlets (such as the New York Times, Time Magazine, Life, and many others), helped Castro and Che come to power should still be a matter of shame, but is never mentioned anymore. That so many on the left extolled Che's justice, courage, beauty, and perfections should be always remembered. More than few are still writing today. All of them are wrong, all of them are perpetuating lies. Che ran from real fights and enjoyed bullying and even killing the defenseless.
Far from being a savvy guerilla leader (despite his book on the subject), he bungled every fight he was in and got lost for weeks at a time. In Bolivia, he never recruited a single Bolivian to his cause. Oh, he tricked a few into joining him by promising them training in the USSR or China, but as soon as they could, many of those deserted and became informants for those looking for Che.
If you are committed to the dream of Che, you will hate this book. If you want to know more of the reality of who he really was and the atrocities he committed, this book will be an important read for you.
Far from being Satre's "most complete human being of our time", he was a monster who improved the world most when he was sent out of it.
on July 10, 2008
"Exposing the Real Che Guevara" is an interesting text, and certainly sheds some light on a man who was a blight in twentieth century history. I learned some out of the ordinary facts in this text, and I would tell people to read it simply as a starting point to finding out the truth about Che.
Having said that though...Mr. Fontova's prejudices come through, and he has a right to them. But in being so emotional, he gives his detractors something to point at and belittle. This allows people, and disingenuous reviewers on this site, to distort the book by attacking his obvious emotional bent without touching on the truth in this book. For the most part Fontova substantiates most of what he says, and some of it is truly shocking. Still, I keep coming back to my desire for a more scholarly approach to this text. The book suffers from redundancy and that again takes away from his thesis. This text is imminently readable, which I think accounts for some of the author's simplistic style choices, and I hope it serves as a jumping off point for even more scholarly research into the joke that is the myth of Che Guevara.
on April 23, 2007
Sorry I didn't buy your new book. Yesterday I read
about half of of it sitting in the coffee shop of my
local bookstore. Cheapness was instilled in me during
my formative years by my chinese parents. Fortunately,
their political leanings were not and I learned to
read, think, and analyze for myself.
Thank You for writing the book! Even though it's about
Che and Cuba, it means a lot to me as well--a
Chinese-American. Any book against one dictator is a
book against ALL dictators. I imagine you must feel
the same rage seeing a Che T-shirt as I do seeing a
Mao T-shirt. It bothers me that many people do not
think twice about wearing either T-shirt, but if
somebody wore a T-shirt with the visage of Hitler,
Stalin, bin Laden, or that Virginia Tech guy it'd be
all over the news.
I don't want to be a "woe is me I'm a minority/person
of color", but unfortunately part of me does feel when
it's whites killing whites (ie Hitler, Stalin) then
those dictators are evil. When it comes to "minority"
dictators, those guys are suave, cute, cuddly, or part
of "other people's" cultures. What? Dictators are
dictators regardless of country, race, culture, or
Keep up the good work! You've given me courage now to
voice my opinion. When I see someone wearing a Mao
(and Che) T-shirt I'll be sure to set them
straight. Those images are just as offensive as the
Confederate flag or a Nazi symbol.
on March 5, 2012
Like many point out, the book has a obvious bias, which the author makes clear, but it is a good read, quick, and entertaining in a stomach-churning way. I believe every book ever written about Che has a bias. The purpose of the is book is to counter the enormous amount of propaganda and hero-worship engendered by the left. I think this book is where the Che idolizers should start, and then work their way back to the leftist propaganda (including the NYT and Hollywood) with everything this book has to say in mind. People need to understand why there is an embargo. Che was no hero.
on May 22, 2013
...for every left-wing buffoon who struts around wearing one of those t-shirts. Guevara was a homicidal sociopath, not a hero of any kind, except maybe to other sociopaths. Demolishes the myths that he was a doctor (although even if he was, so what? So was Josef Mengele.) or that he was any kind of competent military leader, or even very courageous -- his gallant last words? "Don't shoot! I'm worth more to you alive than dead!"
on July 26, 2007
Josef Stalin may have referred to radical left-wing Americans as "useful idiots", which to him, they were. To the rest of us, they are useless idiots. Young people who sport Che tee shirts can be forgiven for their ignorance and naivete. However, this book won't have any impact on useless idiots who refuse to acknowledge the truth about their darling Che. Hopefully, enough young people with a mind of their own to venture beyond MTV, You Tube, and Rolling Stone will read this and maybe some day Che idolatry will become the domain of fringe kooks, like the Aryan goons who still worship Hitler.
Humberto Fontova, a Cuban refugee who knows some of the victims of Castro and Che, has the credentials to set the record straight once and for all. Meticulously researched with numerous first hand accounts, this book exposes the great martyr of the radical left for what he really was: a liar; a fraud; a hypocrite; a hedonistic narcissist; a perverse sadist; a cruel and merciless tyrant; a bungling fool; and ultimately, a coward.
I always knew that Castro and Che turned Cuba into a totalitarian cesspool. The boatloads of Cuban refugees who risked their lives to get out of there convinced me of that. I never knew how evil these two thugs actually were. Their cruelty was of the same nature as Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam Hussein. It is maddening how mindless stooges in our media and entertainment industry have been duped into believing Castro's propaganda. It must be a slap in the face for Cuban American refugees and their descendants to see Che garbage paraded in front of them in the very country they risked their lives getting into. God bless them. Their outrage is justified.
Fontova points out how Che Guevara was the exact opposite of how he has been portrayed by his foolish admirers. He was an opressor rather than a liberator. He was hardly a champion of the poor Cuban masses. Most of his victims, those who defied him, were rural campesinos whom he defeated with the help of the KGB and Soviet armaments. Much of his revolution was financed by wealthy opponents of Batista and was aided by the Soviets. A PEOPLE'S REVOLUTION? HARDLY!!! It was Castro and Che who destroyed the Cuban economy, not any embargo. As a result, the poor became poorer while Castro, Che, and their cronies plundered Cuba's wealth mostly for themselves. Their critics were quickly silenced, usually with torture or a bullet to the head.
The slackers and dead heads who wear Che's face on their shirts would be suprised to know that their idol detested such people and rounded their type up into forced labor camps where they could be molded into good and obedient subjects of the "revolution". The same people who hate authority and call George Bush a fascist would have a rude awakening in the Cuba of the early 1960's. Castro and Che's vision for Cuba was a Soviet type police state in which they would have absolute power.
Fontova brings to light the real heroes of the Cuban revolution, those who dared to defy it, most of whom were rural campesinos. These were the people who took part in the Escambray Rebellion who refused to be slaves on Cuba's state-owned farms and refused to have their small family farms taken from them. The "heroic" Che had to defeat these people with Russian helicopters and convoys of Russian trucks. The real bloodletting of the Cuban revolution was done in prisons like La Cabana where Che ordered dissidents executed without a trial, some by his own hand. The names and exploits of the real martyrs of Cuba who defied Castro and Che are chronicled in this book.
We also learn how Che, as Cuba's Minister of Industries, botched things up so badly, the Soviets and Castro had to abandon him, which they finally did in Bolivia. As Fontova humorously puts it, "It usually requires an earthquake, volcano, tsunami, or atomic bomb to equal Che's industrial and economic achievements in Cuba".
Che's final debacle, trying to start a revolution in Bolivia, was opposed primarily by Bolivian campesinos who wanted no part of it. Unlike his comrades, Che surrendered without a fight, convinced that his life would be spared because, as he put it, "Don't shoot! I'm Che! I'm worth more alive to you than dead!" This is hardly the stuff martyrs are made of.
I wonder if the celebrities who visit Cuba and return with glowing reports parroting Castro's propganda, realize that their rooms may have been bugged and their itineraries closely monitored?
If this book doesn't outrage you, you are either a useless idiot or you need to check your pulse...you probably don't have one. After reading this, you'll never look at Che's image the same again. As for the crackpot celebrities who adorn themselves with it, you'll wonder why we take such people seriously.
on August 6, 2007
As I began this book, I thought that Fontova was ranting a bit much for my tastes, while painting a rough picture of Che. I read Fontova's account of his family's escape from Cuba and saw that this colored his view of things to some degree. By the end, I was right there with Fontova, as the evidence became clearer and clearer that Che was a sick man who took pleasure in killing (according to his own hand, in a letter to his father). He was a man who was only brave when his opponents were defenseless.
Some basic points of background:
1) The hundreds of thousands of Cuban refugees were not fleeing a kindly ruler, nor were they all wealthy. Dismissing their ire at Castro and Che -- and their eyewitness accounts of their brutalities -- is equivalent to dismissing the anger that Poles or German Jews reserve for Nazis.
2) The glowing portrayals of Che are based on Castro-produced stories, Che's own delusional diaries, and the fawning of Che's buddies like Sartre. Would we only consult the North Korean propaganda ministry for a biography of Kim Jong Il? Eyewitness accounts of Che's murderous ways are not hard to find.
This book used a fair amount of second hand sources, but Fontova also included numerous stirring accounts from eyewitnesses that really makes it impossible to believe that anyone would consider Che Guevara to be admirable in any way.
on February 5, 2014
Read this and then explain why democrats love this guy and the guy he worked for to me, please. I am ashamed for my country whenever I see some ignorant slob wearing a T-shirt of this creepy, cowardly thug. To imagine that our president thinks this guy is cool. Good grief.
on January 24, 2016
Tis is an essential book about this lifelong murderer Che Guevara, the dirty Communist who killed thousands in the prison of La Cabana and who wanted to throw nuclear bombs on New York and Washington. This is the only Guevara biography that is not written by someone slavish to the Communist dictatorship of Cuba. It is a bitter yet entertaining book about a cowardly murderer, the expert on killing bound men, Che Guevara.
Castro's Cuba also is a racist dictatorship, like Che Guevara himself. The majority of Cubans are black, yet only 0.08% of the leadership is black - THAT is apartheid.
It is astonishing that people criticize Humberto Fontova for relying on Cuban sources - this is analogous to criticizing books about Nazi Germany because they rely on accounts of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust instead of accounts of SS chiefs and Nazi party leaders. The degree of oppressiveness the Communist Cuban dictatorship is made clear by how many Cubans left the country at the risk of their lives, going in the sea - where a third of them drowned or were killed by sharks.There are now 2 millions Cuban exiles - they or their parents fled the creation of the murderous "revolutionary" trio: the Castro brothers and Che Guevara. At least Che, the Communist killer, was killed as he deserved. May his memory live in infamy.
on October 13, 2011
As a Bolivian, it pains me that the actual President Morales celebrates Guevara that not only invaded Bolivia but with his band of terrorists killed Bolivians.To have his picture in the Presidential Palace is an insult.
To see a person with a shirt,to see his picture carried by Bolivians, to hear the Army forced to accept him as a heroe, while the Bolivians that fought and won the guerrila war; are banned from any militar act, makes me thank the author for daring to writte the truth about Guevara.
I ask sometimes , "You are wearing a T shirt with Che, do you know what he did? "
Most people might know or they have this idea that he did not commited crimes, that he tortured the horses and mules he used in Bolivia,that he robbed peasants, had them killed, that human life ment nothing to him if they were not communists.