“I still don’t like Che Guevara T-shirts. [Expletive] Che Guevara!.. To be in the company of people going, ‘No way, man,’ I cannot hear it…There’s a funny moment when you realize that as an activist: The off-ramp out of extreme poverty is, ugh, commerce, it’s entrepreneurial capitalism.” (U2’s singer Bono in a recent interview with an instantly disgruntled New York Times Magazine reporter.)
Just maybe, Bono has read beyond Rolling Stone and The New York Times, where he would have never learned that:
In a famous speech in 1961 Che Guevara denounced the very “spirit of rebellion” as “reprehensible.” “Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates,” commanded Guevara. “Instead they must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service.”
Perhaps Bona can have a word with fellow rocker Graham Nash, famous for the lyrics in his hit Chicago:
“If you believe in justice, if you believe in freedom, Let a man live his own life
“Rules and regulations who needs them!”
This same Graham Nash has long been a vocal champion of the regime Che Guevara co-founded, which regulates more of its subjects activities than has almost any regime in the modern history of the human race, from what they eat to what they read, from where they travel to where they work, etc. etc.
Rules and Regulations, INDEED, Mr. Nash!
The regime celebrated by Graham Nash has bound and gagged more political prisoners than any regime in the modern history of the Western hemisphere.
In 1979, Graham Nash proudly played with his musical cohorts (Stills and Crosby) at Havana Jam, a concert strictly for the Stalinist fiefdom’s nomenklatura and their offspring. Since then, Nash has often visited Stalinist Cuba.
Youth, wrote Guevara, “should learn to think and act as a mass.” Those who “chose their own path” (as in growing long hair and listening to Yankee-Imperialist Rock & Roll) were denounced as “delinquents.” In his famous speech Che Guevara even vowed “to make individualism disappear from Cuba! It is criminal to think of individuals!”
On top of jailing political prisoners at a higher rate than Stalin’s and murdering more people in its first three years than Hitler’s in its first six, here’s an (abbreviated) list of the things prohibited under penalty of jail and/or forced labor by the regime co-founded by the man cheeky free-spirit rockers often celebrate:
1. To say “Down with Fidel!” or “Che Sucks!” Cuba’s constitution mandates 18 months in prison for anyone overheard cracking a joke against Castro or Che. If the neighborhood CDR (Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, imported to Cuba by the East German STASI, who grandfathered it from Hitler’s Gestapo) overhears any such deviation from “ideological purity” the regime “will want a word with you.”
2. Travel abroad without permission from the government. (which is granted mostly to regime toadies and hacks.
3. Switch jobs without regime permission.
4. Switch homes without regime permission.
5. Publish anything without regime permission.
6. Own a personal computer, a fax machine or a satellite antenna.
7. Access the Internet. Cuba’s Internet is under constant regime “surveillance.” By the secret police. only a tiny percentage of the Castro regime’s subjects have access to the web, a lower percentage than in Papua New Guinea. This is a nation that pre-Castro/Che had more telephones and TV’s per-capita than most European countries.
8. Send your children to a private or religious school. All schools belong to the Communist party.
9. Tune in to any free radio or television station. In Cuba, all media is property of the Stalinist regime.
12. Read books, magazines, or newspapers not approved by the regime. All books, magazines, and newspapers in Cuba are published by the Stalinist regime.
13. Receive publications from abroad or from visitors. This is punishable by jail pursuant to Law 88.
14. Openly communicate with foreign journalists.
15. Visit or stay in hotels, restaurants, beaches or resorts for tourists (regime permission is granted to a tiny number of regime hacks and toadies).
16. Accept gifts or donations from foreign visitors.
17. Seek employment with foreign companies allowed to do business in Cuba (regime permission is required for employment with these accomplices with Stalinism).
18. Own your own home or business.
19. Earn more than the wages established by the regime for all employees: $7-12 monthly for most jobs, $15-20 monthly for professionals, such as doctors and government officials.
20. Sell any personal belongings, services, homemade foods or crafts without regime permission.
21. Fish along the coastline or board a boat without regime permission.
22. Belong to any independent trade union. The regime controls all unions and no individual or collective bargaining is permitted; neither are strikes or protests.
23. Organize any artistic performance without regime permission. (Don’t look for this announced at the Sundance Film Festival but before Robert Redford released the Motorcycle Diaries he was mandated to travel to Cuba and give a special screening for approval to one of the film’s co/producers: Fidel Castro. So in effect, this Castroite provision can actually extend beyond Cuba’s borders.)
24. Select a doctor or hospital. The regime assigns them all.
25. Seek medical help outside of Cuba.
26. Hire an attorney. All are assigned by the regime.
28. Refuse to participate in an event or mass demonstration organized by the Communist Party. (Turn down such an “offer” and watch your food rations shrink and employment status crumble.)
29. Refuse to participate in “voluntary” work for adults and children. (see above)
30. Refuse to vote in a single party election featuring only Stalinist candidates nominated by the Stalinist regime.
31. Transport any food products for either personal or family consumption between provinces.
32. Slaughter a cow. This “felony” is sanctioned by five years imprisonment.
33. Purchase or sell real estate or land.
34. Select a career. In the selection process for universities (all of which belong to the Stalinist regime), regime apparatchiks select it for you, closely reviewing your record of “ideological purity,” as reported to them by regime snitches.
35. Invite a foreigner to spend the night at your home.
36. Buy milk in a regime outlet for any child older than seven years. Only Cuban children up to seven years of age have the right to pay a quota for milk. After that, parents can only obtain milk in the black market—if caught and their “ideological purity” (as reported by regime snitches) is in question, jail time is usually in the offing for the hapless Castro subject.
Today the world’s largest Che Guevara image adorns Cuba’s headquarters and torture chambers for its KGB and STASI-trained secret police. Nothing could be more fitting.
But Graham Nash has many, many hot competitors in the Cuba stupidity contest. Owing to bandwidth constraints, we’ll only mention the one most closely breathing down Nash’s neck, Carlos Santana.
So let’s recall the 2005 Academy Awards where the famed guitarist (on hand to perform the sound score for the Robert Redford-produced Motorcycle Diaries) couldn’t contain himself. He stopped for the photographers on the carpet grand entrance, smiled deliriously and swung his jacket open.
TA-DA! There it was: Carlos’ elegantly embroidered Che Guevara t-shirt. Carlos’ face as the flashbulbs popped said it all. “I’m so COOL!” he beamed. “I’m so HIP! I’m so CHEEKY! So SHARP! So TUNED IN!”
Tune in to this, Carlos: In the mid 1960s, Fidel and your charming t-shirt icon set up forced-labor camps in Cuba for, among many others, “anti-social elements” and “delinquents.” Besides Bohemian (Haight-Ashbury, Greenwich Village types) and homosexuals, these camps were crammed with “roqueros,” who qualified in Che and Fidel’s eyes as useless “delinquents.”
A “roquero” was a hapless youth who tried to listen to Yankee-Imperialist rock music in Cuba.
Comprende, Carlos? Do you see where I’m going with this, Carlos?
Yes, Mr. Santana, here you were grinning widely — and OH-SO-hiply!– while proudly displaying the symbol of a regime that made it a criminal offense to listen to music by Carlos Santana!