Time Magazine’s Che Romance

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Time Magazine just listed Che Guevara among the world’s top 25 political icons.  Che ranks number 9 between Adolph Hitler (8) and Ronald Reagan (10).  Mao Tse Tung ranks 3rd, Genghis Khan 5th, and Mohandas Gandhi 1st.

So, okay — Time is obviously not making a moral judgment call here. “We look at world leaders whose legacies have stood the test of time,” they explained. Fine. Sounds perfectly reasonable and objective.

Time Magazine’s last ranking of Che Guevara in 1999 as among “The 100 Most Important People of the Century,” at first glance also appeared objective. That was, until you read further and found that Time placed Che in the “Heroes and Icons” section, alongside Anne Frank, Andrei Sakharov, Rosa Parks and Mother Theresa. On Fox News, Alan Colmes scoffed at my citing this — then gaped semi-apologetically at my proof.

“Nothing could be more vicariously gratifying than Che Guevara’s disdain for material comfort and everyday desires,” read Time’s encomium to Che Guevara in 1999, which was composed by Duke Professor Ariel Dorfman. Unfortunately, Dorfman’s  “research” overlooked some important details.

“Che’s house was among the most luxurious in Cuba,” wrote Cuban journalist Antonio Llano Montes about the mansion-estate Che Guevara “acquired” promptly upon entering Havana in January 1959. After a hard day at the office signing firing-squad warrants and blasting teenagers’ skulls apart with the coup-de-grace from his .45, Che Guevara retired to his new domicile just outside Havana on the pristine beachfront. Until a few weeks prior, it had belonged to Cuba’s most successful building contractor. Today, the area is reserved exclusively for tourists and Communist party members.

“The mansion had a boat dock, a huge swimming pool, seven bathrooms, a sauna, a massage salon and several television sets,” continued Llano Montes. “One TV had been specially designed in the U.S., and had a screen ten feet wide and was operated by remote control. This was thought to be the only TV of its kind in Latin America. The mansion’s garden had a veritable jungle of imported plants, a pool with a waterfall, ponds filled with exotic tropical fish and several bird houses filled with parrots and other exotic birds. The habitation was something out of A Thousand and One Nights.”

The “austere idealist,” Che Guevara, hadn’t done too badly for himself in this real estate “acquisition” (read: “hand over all your property, Mr. Cuban contractor, or face a firing squad”).

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  • Julio

    The romantic image of Che Guevara is one of the gretest frauds of our times, comparable with the name given to Groenland ("green land"). I just hope that true finds its way to the public, so in one or two generations only extremist radicals were the kind of people using Che's T-shirts. And also hope to live enough to see the big statue of Che in SantaClara (Cuba) being teard down like the statues of Lenin in the ex-USSR republics, and the statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

  • Ghostwriter

    You're not going to believe this,but recently I'd heard that Che Guevara got himself a manga biography. For those who aren't familiar with this,manga are Japanese comics and recently had become pretty popular in this country. Sadly,the guy who drew this never went to Miami,because there is a large Cuban community there and he would have been told what Che Guevara was really like. He certainly didn't talk to you,Mr. Fontova.
    As for "Time" magazine,hopefully,it'll get it's story straight,someday.

  • BLJ

    Che was a (slang for a cat) plain and simple. When his sorry butt was cornered in Bolivia he started crying like a baby. They still blew him away.

    Any person who wears one of those idiotic t-shirts bearing his image is a moron and should be slapped and hard.

  • call me roy

    I am my college professor's favorite pupil. He calls himself a "philosophical progressive" (whatever that means) and he tells wonderful stories about Mao Zedong and how deeply spirtual it is to become a Progressive. He told us not to pay any attention to those horrible rumors that the Conservatives preach to us about Brother Mao's murder of 60 million. I know it's a lie, that's what a girl on Facebook said. After all, President Obama had a Mao ornamate hanging fron the White House Christmas tree, right on cool. After learning all of these new political ideas, I went out and got the latest Che Guevara t-shirt. It is so rad. My professor went to Harvard like Obama did so I know he loves Che too. My professor said Hollywood helped to revive another leftist martyr but my uncle (who was in the Army) said Hollywood has dutifully churned out yet another cinematic agitprop paean and that I should read to try to discern why many supposedly democratic, civil libertarian liberals still swoon over this Stalinist mass-murderer. What ever that means, later dude.

  • Amused

    Isn't it rather strange , that in college ,where it is assumed students have achieved a respectable reading comprehension skill , they remain oblivious to common knowledge in the public domain ?

  • mokshaone

    But if they learned the truth then it would destroy all of their castles in the sky. Better to remain ignorant and keep all of the invested fantasies.

  • http://theydontfoolme.com Cao

    The People’s Cube has some hilarious accounts of western civilization idolizing the murderous Che. With communist propaganda having reached epic proportions in the US, it is no wonder kids think he’s ‘cool’. But it is disgusting that most people don’t know the truth about what he did and what he said – and how he so hated the capitalism that sells the t-shirts with his image on them .