When They Killed Che – by Humberto Fontova


Forty two years ago this week, Ernesto “Che” Guevara got a major dose of his own medicine. Without trial he was declared a murderer, stood against a wall, and shot. Historically speaking, justice has rarely been better served. If the saying “what goes around comes around” ever fit, it’s here.

Consider the kind of man Che was. “When you saw the beaming look on Che’s face as the victims were tied to the stake and blasted apart by the firing squad,” a former Cuban political prisoner told this writer, “you saw there was something seriously, seriously wrong with Che Guevara.”

As commander of the la Cabana execution yard, Che often shattered the skull of the condemned man (or boy) by firing the coup de grace himself. When other duties tore him away from his beloved execution yard, he consoled himself by viewing the slaughter. Che’s second-story office in La Cabana had a section of wall torn out so he could watch his darling firing-squads at work.

Romanian journalist Stefan Bacie visited Cuba in early 1959 and was fortunate enough to get an audience with the already quasi-famous Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Upon entering Castro’s chief executioner’s office, Bacie noticed Che motioning him over to the office’s newly constructed window. Bacie got there just in time to hear the command of “Fuego!” and the blast from the firing squad and to see a condemned prisoner crumple and convulse. The stricken journalist immediately left and composed a poem, titled, “I No Longer Sing of Che.” (“I no longer sing of Che any more than I would of Stalin,” go the first lines.)

Even as a youth, Ernesto Guevara’s writings revealed a serious mental illness. Take these macabre musings from Guevara’s famous Motorcycle Diaries, somehow overlooked by Robert Redford while he was directing the movie version of the book.

“My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood. Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any vencido that falls in my hands! With the deaths of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!”

The Spanish word vencido, by the way, translates into “defeated” or “surrendered.” And indeed, “the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood” rarely reached Guevara’s nostrils from anything properly describable as combat. It mostly came from the close-range murders of unarmed and defenseless men – and boys.

Carlos Machado was 15 years old in 1963 when the bullets from the firing squad shattered his body. His twin brother and father collapsed beside Carlos from the same volley. All had resisted Castro and Che’s theft of their humble family farm; all refused blindfolds; and all died sneering at their Communist murderers, as did thousands of their valiant countrymen. “Viva Cuba Libre! Viva Cristo Rey! Abajo Comunismo!” “The defiant yells would make the walls of La Cabana prison tremble,” wrote an eyewitness to the slaughter, Armando Valladares.

Rigoberto Hernandez was 17 when Che’s soldiers dragged him from his cell in La Cabana, jerked his head back to gag him, and started dragging him to the stake. “Rigo” pleaded his innocence to the very bloody end. But his pleas were garbled and difficult to understand. His struggles while being gagged and bound to the stake were also awkward. The boy had been a janitor in a Havana high school and was mentally retarded. His single mother had pleaded his case with hysterical sobs. She had begged, beseeched, and finally proven to his “prosecutors” that it was a case of mistaken identity. Her only son, a boy in such a condition, couldn’t possibly have been “a CIA agent planting bombs.”

Fuego!” and the firing squad volley shattered Rigo’s little bent body as he moaned and struggled awkwardly against his bounds, blindfold and gag. Remember Che Guevara’s instructions to his revolutionary courts: “judicial evidence is an archaic bourgeois detail.” And remember Harvard Law School’s invitation and rollicking ovation to Fidel Castro during the very midst of this appalling bloodbath.

Not that the victims of this Stalinist bloodbath were exclusively men and boys. In their refusal to discriminate among potential victims, the Castroites were well ahead of the Taliban. On Christmas Eve 1961, a young Cuban woman named Juana Diaz spat in the face of the executioners who were binding and gagging her. They found her guilty of feeding and hiding “bandits” (Che’s term for Cuban rednecks who took up arms to fight his theft of their land to create Stalinist kolkhozes.) When the blast from that firing squad demolished her face and torso, Juana was six months pregnant.

The term “hatred” was a constant in Che Guevara’s writings: “Hatred as an element of struggle”; “hatred that is intransigent”; “hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him a violent and cold-blooded killing machine.”

The one genuine accomplishment in Che Guevara’s life was the mass-murder of defenseless innocents. Under his own gun dozens died. Under his orders thousands crumpled. At everything else Che Guevara failed abysmally, even comically.

During his Bolivian “guerrilla” campaign, Che split his forces whereupon they got hopelessly lost and bumbled around, half-starved, half-clothed and half-shod, without any contact with each other for 6 months before being wiped out. They didn’t even have WWII vintage walkie-talkies to communicate and seemed incapable of applying a compass reading to a map. They spent much of the time walking in circles and were usually within a mile of each other. During this blundering they often engaged in ferocious firefights against each other.

“You hate to laugh at anything associated with Che, who murdered so many,” says Felix Rodriguez, the Cuban-American CIA officer who played a key role in tracking him down in Bolivia. “But when it comes to Che as ‘guerrilla’ you simply can’t help but guffaw.”

Che’s genocidal fantasies included a continental reign of Stalinism. And to achieve this ideal he craved “millions of atomic victims” – most of them Americans. “The U.S. is the great enemy of mankind!” raved Ernesto Che Guevara in 1961:

“Against those hyenas there is no option but extermination. We will bring the war to the imperialist enemies’ very home, to his places of work and recreation. The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! We must keep our hatred against them [the U.S.] alive and fan it to paroxysms!”

This was Che’s prescription for America almost half a century before Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and Al-Zarqawi appeared on our radar screens. Compared to Che Guevara, Ahmadinejad sounds like the Dalai Lama.

So for many, the questions remains: How did such an incurable idiot and sadist attain such iconic status?

The answer is that this psychotic and thoroughly unimposing vagrant named Ernesto Guevara de la Serna y Lynch had the magnificent fortune of linking up with modern history’s top press agent, Fidel Castro, who—from the New York Times’ Herbert Matthews in 1957, through CBS’ Ed Murrow in 1959 to CBS’ Dan Rather, to ABC’s Barbara Walters, to NBC’s Andrea Mitchell more recently—always had the mainstream media anxiously scurrying to his every beck and call and eating out of his hand like trained pigeons.

Had Ernesto Guevara not linked up with Raul and Fidel Castro in Mexico city that fateful summer of 1955 – had he not linked up with a Cuban exile named Nico Lopez in Guatemala the year before who later introduced him to Raul and Fidel Castro in Mexico city – everything points to Ernesto continuing his life of a traveling hobo, panhandling, mooching off women, staying in flophouses and scribbling unreadable poetry.

Although a fixture on modern college campuses, Che was no hero. It is thus fitting that when death came for him, on Oct. 8 1967, Che went not with a bang but with a whimper. “Don’t shoot!” I’m Che! I’m worth more to you alive than dead!” he pleaded when approached by two Bolivian soldiers, dropping the fully loaded weapons he had not hesitated to discharge against unarmed victims. To the very end, Che Guevara remained a coward.

  • Proxywar

    “Don’t shoot!” I’m Che! I’m worth more to you alive than dead!”

    I don't think he said this, If I remember correctly there is some dispute over this quote.

    His fan boys claim he actually said:

    “No”, he replied, “I'm thinking about the immortality of the revolution.” Che Guevara then told his executioner, “I know you've come to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man.”

    I tend to believe the quote you provided because of how cowardly he fought or didn't fight in battles.

  • http://twitter.com/ARKovnat Alex Kovnat

    If Che Guevara had been born in Egypt or Yemen, he would have been an Islamic fanatic. If someone like Zarqawi had been born in central America, he would have been a communist. Different doctrines, same hatred of humanity.

  • Eugene Levitzky

    Dear Mr. Fontova,

    Thank you for your continuing heroic efforts to get the truth out about Che Guevara. I have used information from your writings to try to convince Che T-shirt wearers that Che is not worth adoring or emulating. It is a struggle of sorts. I did convince a college professor that he was a fool (useful idiot?) for wearing a red Che Guevara sweatshirt. Working at a video store on weekends (in 2007) I had a boss who was a communist and he would not believe anything negative about Che and he told me point blank that everything and anything written against Che Guevara is a lie. I told my video store boss about my uncle being starved to death in a Soviet labor camp, my grandfather being executed in Leningrad, and other deadly stories about Russian communism and he pretty much laughed in my face, in essence smugly denying that these things meant anything.

    Sorry to go on like this but I do want to thank you again and personally give you this patriot's absolute seal of approval for standing up against evil and standing for truth and liberty.

  • Marcelo Monteiro

    From Brazil
    Thank you Mr. Fontova. I'm a college teacher in Rio de Janeiro and I have recommended your book too many students who wear that infamous t-shirt and don't have a clue about the guy whose face is on it. It's a good thing that we have the book in Portuguese now. I'm looking forward to your next work. Thank you, muchas gracias, muito obrigado.
    Marcelo Monteiro

  • UCSPanther

    I read Castro didn't want Che around, mainly because this monster was like a vicious dog that you kept chained for use as a let-loose-and-take-cover weapon for dealing with internal rebellion, and Guevara was getting more and more difficult for Castro to control, which is why he was happy to let him get killed in Bolivia, and only bring his body back for propaganda purposes.

    Basically, my impression of Guevara was that he was the Cuban version of Heinrich Himmler: Clear signs of psychopathy and narcissism, used as an executioner, ultimately rejected by the original leader and refusal to take responsibility for their actions to the very end.

  • imgood

    Every person who loves liberty, and prefers historical truth to hagiography founded upon falsehoods, is in Humberto Fontova's debt. Unlike the typical academic, who seems congenitally inclined to proffer a “balanced” analysis (…well, he was a psychotic murderer, but he was also a dreamy revolutionary who wrote the Motorcycle Diaries, etc.), Fontova pulls no punches and reveals Guevara in the truest light–as a cowardly, pathological killer of unarmed citizens.
    The slimy thug must have soiled his pants when he realized that–unlike Regis Debray, the French academic who was captured in Latin America playing revolutionary, and subsequently released to great fanfare by his fellow leftists–his fate would be much swifter and would not include any interviews with the sycophants at the N.Y. Times.

  • CowboyUp

    If he said the latter, why did he surrender in the first place? Every time I see one of those che' shirts in a store window I go in and ask 'em where their charlie manson shirts are.

  • imgood

    I think that's right. My understanding is that Castro's Soviet sponsors were not particularly amused by Guevara's declarations of support for the “Tricontinental” revolutionaries (radicals whose desire it was to foment rebellion in Asis, Africa, and South America and who openly sided with the Chinese Communists in their cold war with the USSR).
    So Castro's desire to rid his island of this mad dog fit nicely with the demands of his Soviet masters that the dog be muzzled.

  • gstasse

    I also have trouble explaining the real Che. People still think of him as Robin Hood and refuse to believe the overwhelming evidence that says otherwise.

    I think the problem is a kind of mental illness, where fantasy is impervious to fact and differing opinions are taken as an attack on superior morals and intelligence. It's almost like trying to deprogram a cult member. These people are unreachable, unreasonable and deliberately ignorant of fact, reason, logic and history. Telling such people truths, or even attempting to encourage them to even consider exploring another viewpoint in an effort to open their minds, is effort wasted.

  • patriotwork

    I didn't know all this about Che. But he was such a great icon to the media and many of the marchers. In all the years since,I have never recalled hearing of his being killed without a feeling of pleasure and justice.

  • Federale

    What a fitting end.

  • Alex Leibovici

    A small correction: the name of the Romanian journalist is correctly spelled “Stefan Baciu”.


  • dougw333

    Pretty sordid past for Che. What is the appropriate response to an obviously easily led buffoon wearing a Che Guevara tee shirt? Ignore? Laugh? Sneer? Punch? Have a conversation and try to reason with them?

  • brimp

    A small percentage of Americans get their ideas through reading. Video images are the only thing that they have the attention span of absorbing. A movie of the real Che and the revolution would be an eye opener. It is not clear that it would make money.

  • Name

    Unfortunately, the video store boss was not truly denying reality. He just did not have the guts to tell you that he wholly approved of the butchery.

  • Sorrow01

    I would agree that the first quote was the more likely one. Che liked to harm defenseless people, but could not take it himself.

  • suprkufrb

    Distressingly contrived! It is infuriating and frustrating to read the inaccurate and loaded language of those who condemn the Cuban revolution not out of accurate investigative journalism, but rather because of inflexible and inaccurate preconceptions.Ernesto Guevarra, like all human beings, had character deficiences which wilt under the close examination of historians; he was arbitrary, autocratic and frequently inappropriately vindictive. Still, fairness demands that one acknowledge the nature of the forces arrayed against him and his compañeros.The Cuban status quo against which Che Guevarra, Fidel Castro and Camilo Cienfueugos revolted was ruled by the cruel iron hand of one of the most bloodthirsty dictators ever seen in the western hemisphere, Fulgencio Batista. Under his aegis Havana was the exclusive property of George Raft and his mafia bully-boys, while the countryside was the private preserve of the United Fruit Company. It is here that I am able to insert first-person narrative; I have a very old and dear Cuban friend from those dark days. Gini's life before the revolution was as follows: the family, consisting of Gini, his sister and his parents, lived in a tin and and cardboard hut on the perimiter of a huge garbage dump, from which the family tried to subsist by salvaging anything of value. After the revolution, from which Gini to this day bears several bullet wound scars, the family was relocated to a clean, albeit humble, social housing unit. Gini and his sister were sent to school and the family was entitled to the best medical care which the state could offer, free of charge.I know it's very difficult for my US friends to acknowledge, but Cuba has a much higher literacy rate than does the USA, and a health care system which is repeteadly acknowledged as the finest in the world by the World Health Organization.Now, to address the freedom issue. All I can offer are the experiences of my own family two Christmases ago: we are all Spanish speaking, and spent the holiday season in Cuba, three generations, our mother/mother-in-law, we, and three of our children.Contrary to the extant anti-Cuban propoganda, we travelled the length and breadth of the island on public transportation, and at no time were we followed or harrassed by the secret police. We visited individual Cuban families in their homes, and participated in loud, perhaps raucous political debates in public restaurants and bars until the early hours of the morning. Every Sunday, and on Christmas and New Year's days we celebrated mass in one or another of the country's painstakingly restored churches and cathedrals. I beseech my conservative bretheren to reorient their priorities; there is only one threat to our free, democratic, inclusive and tolerant societies, and that threat is islam.

    • Dan Ballenger

      If it was so incredibly wonderful in Cuba, you should have remained there. People like you are what is wrong with this world. When criminal action fits so beautifully in your frame of political view that it becomes acceptable. By your logic, it was perfectly fine for Hitler to kill millions of Jews, because the world had put Germany into a horrible place after WWI. Or Pol Pot had a complete right to eliminate countlessCambodians because he had to straighten out a nation that was being threatened by all the surrounding countries. Heck, I bet you believe Mao was fine to kill women because his insane wife thought any woman more beautiful than herself was a threat. You are a horrible horrible horrible human being and should do the world a favor by putting a piece of lead into your cranium.

  • antioli

    Well said and perceptive. The poor murderer needed a good dose of Oxytocin

  • antioli

    Reminds me of the Stalin -Bela Kuhn interaction. Bela a Communist dictator of Hungary used to drive a car with a gallows welded to it. He searched Hungary for
    rich folks etc. When found he hung them. What did you expect? He got too aggressive for Stalin who popped a cap in his —.

  • antioli

    Gives you a hint of what the marchers were really like inside. Oh yes the media folks also

  • antioli

    If it were made well it would make money. Think John Huston.

  • http://www.koalaswimsuits.com/ Green Mountain

    This is heart touching article.

  • TaterSalad

    The liberals pray to this moron above. They are lost in the ozone. Liberals such as Michael Moore bad mouth the Free Market system yet they are millionairs from the same system they down-grade. That is what we call a……….HYPOCRIT my friends!

    • Malcolm

      The ony real hypoctries are those that defend stealing from widdows and orphans and believe in a repubic with no heart no soul no compassion but every one for themselves- che was a lost soul and so are many americans
      Ubi Caritas et Amor Ubi caritas Deus ibi est

  • bhaack

    “Ernesto Guevarra, like all human beings, had character deficiences which wilt under the close examination of historians; he was arbitrary, autocratic and
    frequently inappropriately vindictive.”

    And he was responsible for the murder of hundreds of people. That is not a mere “character deficiency.”

    If Cuba is so wonderful then why are so many so willing to risk death to escape Castro's paradise?

    “I beseech my conservative bretheren to reorient their priorities; there is only one threat to our free, democratic, inclusive and tolerant societies, and that threat is Islam.”

    Agree, however, Marxists like Chavez have embraced Islamists like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

  • Alex Leibovici

    Inevitably, you have to rewrite the past in order to justify the unjustifiable present. You have to lie about how backward Cuba was before Castro, and to present Batista as incomparably worse than Castro.
    At the same time, you feel compelled to provide what you consider an excuse for the Castro's regime: “fairness demands that one acknowledge the nature of the forces arrayed against him and his compañeros”.
    Do you imply that “The Forces” prevented Castro to reinstall freedom, free speech and free press, freedom of association and rule of law? Just examine the sequence of events. Within weeks and months after January 1959, Casto started to undermine the coalition government, to restrain the democratic and liberal parties and then suppress them, refused general elections, started nationalizations, contacted the Soviet secret police to provide him “advisers”. Castro stated to be opposed as a *reaction* to this kind of acts. And if you believe that Castro intended to implement a free, democratic, inclusive and tolerant society, but, because of “The Forces” had instead to create a dictatorship, you are fooling yourself.
    Note also that “arbitrary, autocratic and frequently inappropriately vindictive” persons like Guevara (your description) can come to power and satisfy their appetites in dictatorships only, never under a free society respecting the rule of law. Dictatorships are the environment where the scum florishes.

  • casa999

    fontova, eres un caballo.
    thanks for reminding us of the truth with such powerfull words.

  • cjkcjk

    It's distressing to hear liars like you toss your fecal matter around here!

  • cjkcjk

    Yeah, the literacy over there in Cuba is real impressive, now how about some books?

  • cjkcjk

    The corruption of Batista is absolutely incomparable with the MURDEROUS oppression of Castro. For you or anyone to claim that they traveled freely in Cuba only means that either you're a liar or have some kind of relation with the murderous thugs.

  • dave2209

    Of course it would make money brimp!!

  • Alex Leibovici

    Exactly, and the few books are from the State Publishing House only, and the literacy statistics is from the Ministry of State Education…

  • VN_Vet

    Somewhere in the FPM archives Mr Fontoya has previously written about Cuba under Batista, and quite a different picture than presented by this leftist clown.

  • VN_Vet

    If my memory serves me, there was some kind of movie or documentary a few years ago, no, not by Hollyweird. Seemed like it was around the time that Humberto Fontova wrote about Cuba and Batista, although Humberto has written at least one other article too, so it could have been in regard to that one. Check the FPM archives.

  • jackbelias

    Che was a sociopathic punk, he wasnt some ordinary guy with ordinary flaws. He took joy in stealing from the rural poor and executing unarmed victims. The article was very accurate, but you just cant escape your love of pop culture and its make believe hollywood icons.

    Real warriors fight men with rifles, not bound children. Che was as close to a real warrior as Chris Crocker.

    Im sitting in Iraq right now being protested by leftist pop culture retards who champion islamo fascism while sporting che T shits. America really is headed down the toilet when such absurdity becomes the norm. At least I fight men with rifles, thats alot more than could be said for your hero Che.

  • rafles

    Che was captured alive because a bullet damaged his rifle that became useless and the USA (CIA) went to Bolivia to SAVE HIS NECK but Bolivia's President was faster than the American Ambassador.

  • Howard1952

    Great article. I have read other ones as well indicating that Che was a coward and sadist. However, on our enlightened college campuses, he is regaled as a “liberator”. This by the same malcontents that think serving oatmeal two days in a row on campus is “fascism”. What a generation of losers we have created.

  • gainwmn

    Where can I get more information on Stefan Basie?

  • republicanswantyoutodiequickly

    Republicans are a dying breed, moron.

  • TaterSalad

    Watch the 2010 elections and then get back with me whack-job! The liberals are special interest ankle grabbers and would sell their souls to get a free handout .
    The problem with socialism and what Democratic liberals want is that someone else's money that is being spent, usluall runs out!

  • TaterSalad

    This Che whack-job is just like Uncle Fidel and his merry commrades around the world.


  • imgood

    ha ha–couldn't have happened to a more deserving commie!

  • imgood

    Interesting narrative, but compared to Castro's body count, Batista was a piker. The reality is that Batista permitted Castro and his band of merry killers–who had gone to a military base and attempted to start a revolution by murdering some pensioners–out of prison after serving less than three years. Castro's prisons are filled with people who have served thrice that long for “counter-revolutionary speech” (e.g. voicing sentiments such as “Fidel sucks” or the like–come up to Union City, NJ and speak to some of the Cubanos who managed to escape).
    As to the literacy rate, that has not been independently verified; it is based upon information provided to U.N. agencies by Cuban authorities. Their guess is probably no better than yours or mine.
    Ditto for the Cuban health care system (from whom do you think the WHO derives its information?!). When the turncoat CIA agent Philip Agee, who fled to Cuba to avoid prosecution in the U.S., died in Cuba last year, it was of an illness that American physicians would likely have quickly recognized and cured (Hey, perhaps there is something meritorious about Cuba after all!). Our health care is generally superior to that in Cuba. Have you read the stories of high party officials who have traveled to Spain for certain medical procedures? I doubt that most of them would trust their lives in Cuba's U.N. Sanctioned hospitals.
    As for Che, all reports suggest that he was a murderer and psychopathic sadist.
    I agree with your point about Islam, but why do the radical leftists use Islam as a cudgel with which to attack the U.S.? And why do the leftists around the world support militant Islam?

  • pennswoods

    God Bless you Mr. Fontova and the work you do to exspose these Marxist human rats like Che who destroyed Cuba for the lying cowards they are. My mother was Czech. Her people saw the same thing happen to their country after 1948 when a Soviet inspired takeover of that prospeous and well educated country caused it to fall into the grip of Stalinist Communism for 40 long and very dark years. let us pray Cuba's crucifixtion is over soon.

  • George


    There is no way Cuba's citizenship is more appropriately. During a sports exchange venue over there years ago, I met a Cuban bartender who had a degree in engineering, and was previously employed by the government to check the salinity levels in the local graveyards. And correcty figured out he could make a better living tending to tourists tipping US dollars. The system in Cuba will remain broke until Raul and Fidel Castro are long gone.

  • http://piece-of-trip.net/ 合法ハーブ

    He thinks that he was a real hero. It is praying for global peace.

  • Che

    and what of the US CIA funding military coups in Latin America, where the true Revolution was birthed? Che fought for the rights of those oppressed people…and will always be a HERO

    • ScottinVA

      You’re not much into that “paying attention” thing, are you? You can make the CIA arguments all you want, but Guevara was an evil thug murderer, who is now burning in hell.

  • Dan Ballenger

    I had a Spanish teacher in college who called me Che. She was from cuba and said I looked like him, and I was a little rebel. She also explained over time that he was a horrible man. She said “He was handsome but he is in hell.” Being a history major, I took the time to do some primary research work on Che. Let me just say he didn’t get close to what he deserved. He would storm through villages ad state”Join or die.” That became his motto. Of course he met his match in Bolivia. I remember some reporter found the man who shot Che. When asked if he had second thoughts before shooting the guy said No, there were none. Che had killed his friends and innocent people and he deserved it. Che represented forced politics. There was not leadership in him other than by fear and brutality.