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For the first year of Castro’s glorious revolution Che Guevara was his main executioner—a combination Beria and Himmler, with a major exception: Che’s slaughter of (bound and gagged) Cubans (Che was himself an Argentine) exceeded Heinrich Himmler’s prewar slaughter of Germans—to scale, that is.
Cuba was a nation of 6.5 million in 1959. Within three months in power, Castro and Che had shamed the Nazi prewar incarceration and murder rate. One defector claims that Che signed 500 death warrants, another says over 600. Cuban journalist Luis Ortega, who knew Che as early as 1954, writes in his book “Yo Soy El Che!” that Guevara sent 1,897 men to the firing squad. In his book “Che Guevara: A Biography,” Daniel James writes that Che himself admitted to ordering “several thousand” executions during the first few years of the Castro regime.
Call Fidel everything in the book (as I have) but don’t call him stupid. Outside of his efficiency at the mass-murder of the defenseless, Guevara’s attributes—his inane twaddle and idiotic projects—must have driven Castro nuts. The one place where I can’t fault Fidel, the one place I actually empathize with him, is in his craving to rid himself of this insufferable Argentine jackass.
But today his famous photo by Alberto Korda ranks as the most reproduced print in the world. Last year Burlington Industries introduced a line of infant wear bearing his famous image. Even the Pope, on his visit to Cuba in 1998, spoke approvingly about Che's "ideals." Che owes all this hype and flummery to the century's top media swindler, Fidel Castro, who also dispatched the hero deliberately to his death. As those who know say, "Fidel only praises the dead."