Friday, April 6, 2012

Che Guevara Galway Statue

A controversy in brewing in the west of Ireland over plans by Galway City Council to erect a statue of Che Guevara in Galway city center. At first I ignored this issue. So the left want to put up a statue of their poster boy, so what, I thought, let the baby have his bottle. But on reflection I have joined with the thinking of those vehemently opposed to this statue. My understanding of Che Guevara is that he never held any notable position of power except for some ministerial roles which he held briefly in post revolutionary Cuba. Furthermore his exploits as a military leader and the impact he actually had on the Cuban revolution are greatly exaggerated. So part of me thought what's the harm in allowing the left to indulge in a bit of delusional hero worship. Nothing will ever convince these people of the truth that the one country where Guevara actually got his way has been run by a brutal dictatorship for fifty years.

In preparation for this post I researched some background on Mr Guevara. This guy was hard line. I mean big time red. During the Cuban missile crisis he reacted with fury over the Soviets decision to back down, something which he never forgave them for. He backed the Chinese in the Sino Soviet split because he was convinced Moscow was abandoning Communist principles most notably, the theory that money, interest, commodity production, and other Capitalists methods should be completely removed. He opposed peaceful coexistence with the west in favour of world socialism. This was in contrast with Soviet pragmatism. To put it bluntly, this guy wanted a third world war and had he lived he might have got it. I support the opposition of many Cuban Americans to glorifying Che. Republican Congresswoman Lleana Ros-Lehtinen has written a personal letter to the Taoiseach stating that
I am concerned regarding the proposal by the city council of Galway to build a monument in honour of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara and respectfully request that the Government of Ireland instead lend its support to and honour the enslaved Cuban people who seek to be free from the dictatorship that Che helped impose upon them

While I have never been a huge fan of many right wing Latin exiles that hang out in the US who often seem to prefer one form of autocratic rule over another I do have enormous sympathy with the hundreds of thousands of Cuban refugees, and their descendants who are entitled to be outraged at the continued glorification of a man who helped install the current Castro dynasty. Glorifying Che out of romanticism when he stands for a symbol of tyranny which brought untold suffering to the world is irresponsible, insensitive and narrow minded. As Irish Cuban Professor at Yale Carlos Eire says, "If Galway wants to honor Che with a monument, it should also build one for Cromwell, right next to it."


Gary said...

It is disappointing that they would even consider a statue to this guy. I think the most telling story about Che was that, immediately following the fall of Havana, he was placed in command of the military prison. His office was on the 2nd floor overlooking the courtyard. The executions started and continued non-stop, 24 hours a day. Che could not sit at his desk to work and observe the executions. So, he had the entire wall torn out so he had an unobstructed view -and he had a bed brought in so he would not have to leave the room....

Rob Harris said...

Ted, I can only imagine what those lefties would be doing if a statue was being erected for a right wing hero.

Pretty sickening stuff about Che over the Bay of Pigs:

"Guevara, who was practically the architect of the Soviet-Cuban relationship,[137] then played a key role in bringing to Cuba the Soviet nuclear-armed ballistic missiles that precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 and brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.[138] A few weeks after the crisis, during an interview with the British communist newspaper the Daily Worker, Guevara was still fuming over the perceived Soviet betrayal and told correspondent Sam Russell that, if the missiles had been under Cuban control, they would have fired them off.[139] While expounding on the incident later, Guevara reiterated that the cause of socialist liberation against global "imperialist aggression", would ultimately have been worth the possibility of "millions of atomic war victims.""

I'm sure he had many charming qualities but the fact that such an individual could deem many millions of lives, by provoking a nuclear war, an acceptable price points to a deep moral corruption.

Is it any wonder that left wing monsters like Pol Pot, who the likes of Noam Chomsky bent over backward to defend, came along?

builder man said...

Che was not an angelic figure but he
was inspired to fight against the abject poverty he witnessed first hand in S.America, (The Motorcycle
Diaries), where the US was an imperialist exploiter who engineered
coups and installed vicious dictators
to achieve their ends. The CIA was quickly at work to destroy the Cuban
revolution and the reaction to this hardened them to any opposition. He
is still eulogised today because he had the courage to fight in the frontline for his beliefs. Were those beliefs valid? The elimination of poverty -yes. The suppression of individual freedom -no.So he is a complex figure at least as worthy of a statue as most
US Presidents, for although he MAY
have blood on his hands, it is far less than them and for far better causes.Stories of his lust for executions need verification and I would be interested in that from GARY. His biographer, Jon Lee Anderson says:'I have yet to find a single credible source pointing to a case where Che executed an innocent person. Those persons executed by Guevara or on his orders were condemned for the usual crimes punishable by death at times of war or in its aftermath,desertion, treason or crimes such as rape, torture or murder.' I looked up Lleana Ros-Lehtinen who voted against providing health care for children and attempts to stop child marriages. Right wing doesn't really cover her. Neanderthal might
be closer but is possibly an insult to our ancestors. She was an enthusiast for the Iraq War which killed AT LEAST 100,000 civilians,
so her attacks on Che must make her
one of the biggest hypocrites in history. Che's legacy in Cuba is mixed. It has one of the best health services in the world and they send 25,000 doctors around the
world on humanitarian missions saving thousands of lives. It is one of the safest tourist destinations in the world as the crime rate is low. BUT, and it is a
big but, if thousands are prepared to risk their lives in order to get out,then such a large failure in their society raises questions about how that society functions.

Gary said...


I am always amused by your blatant extremism. Time and time again you have suckered people into debating points with you and wasting their time. This last posting of yours is a very good example. In it you defend the idea that Che was somehow a dedicated revolutionary trying to bring justice to the impoverished of the world. Bullshit. Che was a psychopathic killer who found revolution a means of perpetuating his ability to bring death and chaos to more and more people.

You point to the bad acts of the CIA in the 50's and 60's as a way to justify his actions. I don't know if anyone has told you yet but you can not justify one bad act with another.

You quoted Jon Lee Anderson saying:'I have yet to find a single credible source pointing to a case where Che executed an innocent person." Yet I spent a few short minutes on Google and found half a dozen first hand accounts of his murderous behavior, including survivors of the time I mentioned when he commanded the military prison. You really need to expand your research beyond your radical left-wing sources. In one source, easily found, Brian Trought of the Epoch Times Ireland Staff, wrote: "During the first year after Castro's rise to power, Che was his main executioner and was responsible for the slaughter of many bound and gagged Cubans. In facts, during this time the slaughter was so intense that, to scale, it exceeds Himmler's prewar slaughter of Germans. The actually number of deaths is unknown, however one defector claims that within just three months of coming to power, Che had signed 500 death warrants. A Cuban journalist, Luis Ortega, who knew Che, wrote in his book Yo Soy El Che! that he sent 1,897 men in total to the firing squad. And this was within a year."

You also brought up Lleana Ros-Lehtinen. Why? Did anyone mention or quote her? Who cares who she is or what she thinks or says? What were you thinking? I can only assume you were trying to further cloud the issue by somehow bringing up something irrelevant and perhaps changing the subject.

Please, if you can not have an open and honest debate, just keep your opinions to yourself -or share them with people who want to hear them.

builder man said...

To Gary. I read a few of the other articles by Brian Trought and the one on Che is very different. The others were merely reportage but Che's comes across as lurid propaganda copied from elsewhere. Of course I could be wrong. If, as is claimed, Che behaved in that way it would make him a monster. He was undoubtably brutalised by war. In Wiki it states that he executed between 55 and 105, mostly ex Batista henchmen who murdered 20,000 Cubans. At that time 93% of
Cubans approved.I don't because: 1.
I don't approve of the death penalty and 2. There appeared to be a minimal process of law. According to his biographer, who researched for 5 yrs., incl. amongst anti-Castro Cubans, he could find no case of execution of an 'innocent'
person. Even if he, allowing for the conditions of the revolution, he is found to be something of a monster, he is probably less of a monster than many we put up statues of, which is the point of the argument.Lleana Ros-Lehtinen was mentioned by Ted Leddy in the setting of this post as an advocate
for his argument.

The System Works said...

builder man: "the US was an imperialist exploiter who engineered coups and installed vicious dictators..."

I know, lets have vicious left-wing dictatorships supported by the Soviet Union or Mao instead! What could go wrong?

Unfortunately, builder man is one of those socialists who still can't see the link between their beliefs and the results seen in places like Cambodia. This is all too common. Remember how John Lennon's 'Imagine' was played, without irony, at the end of the film 'The Killing Fields'? Its one of the reasons why socialists and communists get away with spreading their bile in a way that Nazis (their indisputable moral equivalents) cannot. They talk the language of 'equality' and 'human rights', but the consequences are nightmares and slavery for those who get fooled. With Che, its no different.

Sigh... it seems I'll never be able to get that Pinochet staue I've lobbied councils to build in Cork.

Rob Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob Harris said...

Systemworks: as far as I understand it “Imagine” is not a song strictly about socialism although it can be partially inferred by some of the sentiments. It seems more like it advances a very broad humanist, atheistic non-materialistic stance. It is ironic however that Lennon recorded it in the positively palatial surroundings of Tittenhurst Park, where they even filmed a promo-clip for the single! Lennon was definitely a socialist but he was vocally against calls to violence that are common on the left. This led to a lot of criticism of him being a bourgeoise socialist when he released the song “Revolution” in 1968, where he also made fun of Maoists not going to get any sex…

It is funny how Builderman hypes Che as a humanitarian moved by the suffering of others. Yet he was willing to sacrifice the lives of countless millions in his attempt to destroy the US. Well I dunno, kinds paradoxical to sentence millions to a firey death me thinks… Is it time to use Paul’s word again? Che was simply a hate-driven c...

Builderman wrote: “She was an enthusiast for the Iraq War which killed AT LEAST 100,000 civilians, so her attacks on Che must make her one of the biggest hypocrites in history.” – not in the slightest. It makes Builder a hypocrite for mentioning it since he is an apologist for Islamism, and as the NGO the “Iraq Body Count” acknowledged, the vast majority of civilians killed were at the hands of the so-called “insurgents”, not the army.

Builderman wrote: “Neanderthal might be closer but is possibly an insult to our ancestors.” – funny that Builderman’s ancestors are the Neanderthal, when the rest of the world is unrelated to that species of Homo…

builder man said...

To Rob Harris. I know that your technique is to make up things I never said and then lambast me for them -Islamism etc. You really should grow up. Growing up is about accepting your responsibility for your fellow man (or woman), and the planet which sustains us all.There is
little doubt that Che was appalled by
the abject poverty caused by US domination in S. America and determined to fight against it which became the inspiration for T shirts and statues.(The Motorcycle Diaries). When he achieved power, we
shouldn't be surprised that he may have abused it. All power corrupts etc.To what extent he abused it is a matter of dispute.I'm happy to abide by the truth, no matter how bad that legacy is. Most leaders, communist, fascist or democratic do not have very good records, especially from those countries with considerable power.In Iraq, its not who killed the civilians that bears the greatest guilt, but those who created the conditions that allowed the killings to prosper.You might claim that IRA atrocities were as a result of British interventions and I would probably agree. Che was a great supporter of the IRA as you know.

Rob Harris said...

LOL Builderman, I seem to have hit a nerve. Part of growing up requires an acceptance of the consequences of one’s own values. That is something you have repeatedly failed to do even when confronted with it. I have repeatedly quoted you as minimising the horror of the Basij child martyrs in Iran, describing Islamists as “resistance” etc. All the regulars on here know what I have said is the truth, and have gone to lengths to back it up because to be quite honest you frequently lie through your teeth. No, when he achieved power, we should be surprised that he abused it. He was one of these holier than thou leftist cunts who pretends to care about humankind. Power corrupts the weak of will.

Builderman stated: “In Iraq, its not who killed the civilians that bears the greatest guilt, but those who created the conditions that allowed the killings to prosper.” – this is yet more leftist apologism. The US was wrong to go into Iraq but that does not excuse the horror that was caused as a result. 1/3 of the largest terrorist attacks (counted in excess of killing 100) of the last hundred years occurred in Iraq. It is well known Iran conducted a proxy war through Iraq and the Lancet a few months back showed they almost always targeted civilians rather than the military. Obviously the IRA did develop as a result of the British presence in Ireland, that however does not mean their tactics was morally justified.

Paul said...

Rob, give it up you're wasting your time I refer you to the earlier statement I made which you have referenced on this page.

builder man said...

To The System Works. As it happens I was involved in a big campaign in the 1980's to stop the UK Gov. helping to train Pol Pot's armed services (in SAS techniques) against 'insurgents'.
To conflate socialists with communists betrays a simple mind. Democratic socialism is an international movement for freedom, social justice and solidarity. Its goal is to achieve a peaceful world where these basic values can be enhanced and where each individual can live a meaningful life with the full development of his or her personality and talents, and with the guarantee of human and civil rights in a democratic framework of society. Countries with these values are amongst the most economically successful; Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and to some
extent here in UK. Israel was built on socialist lines which unfortunately did not include the Palestinians but is now suffering from social strife caused by increasing inequalities.Unbridled capitalism has caused global financial meltdown with millions in misery. The breakdown of civilisation was only prevented by the SOCIALIST actions of Governments that propped up the banks.In the capitalist paradise of
the US, the top 20% own 85% of the
wealth which has resulted in one of the highest murder and incarcaration rates in the world. But I still believe in the promise of America. As Leonard Cohen says:
America - the cradle of the best and the worst. Capitalism's efforts at dumbing down the population as a
management tool are weakening with
the emergence of the internet, and
a Californian Spring is on the horizon.A restricted capitalism, as
in Germany where local banks lend to local industries, can benefit society, but as a freewheeling international virus it needs to be eliminated.

The System Works said...

builder man: To label the USA as a 'capitalist paradise' betrays a very simple mind indeed. As a person involved in several organisations promoting free markets, I can assure you that Switzerland, Hong Kong and several other places tend to be far more admired, with qualifications. However, the writings of the Founding Fathers of the United States, in particular men like Thomas Jefferson, are highly admired, and America has had some wonderful classical liberal leaders, particulalry Grover Cleveland.

Socialism, including what is called 'democratic socialism' is simply a movement for increased state coercive power in the realm of economic affairs and often many other areas. Socialism, Keynesianism as well as Chicago School economics to some extent are actually responsible for the recent crisis and current malaise. Central planners at the central banks kept interest rates artificially low in the US and Europe (much like the Soviets always did with staples like bread). It is the government that created housing bubbles and is still creating others (third-level education in the US and elsewhere) Government consumed and still consumes enormous amounts of the wealth of most countries, which does untold damage in the real economy. In regimes like Greece, half the population worked in the state sector. Many others are made dependent on it. To guarantee re-election, governments just raised their wages and handouts to the point of impossibilty.

The goals of socialism may sound nice, but it is antithetical to freedom and human rights (in the real sense of the term, not the bizarre ways its been stretched today). Whoever takes the reigns of power in a socialist state, whether it be Che, Trotsky, Stalin or even yourself, the results will be extremely similar.

builder man said...

To Rob Harris. I did not say the perpetrators of atrocities were guilt free, I said the MAJOR responsibility is with those who neglected theirs.
In N. Ireland the British did not deal with the gerrymandering and discrimination against Catholics which brought about the revival of the IRA.

Rob Harris said...

Builderman, I know you said the major responsbility lay with those that caused the conditions allowing killing to prosper. However, that is an absurdist argument that lays principle guilt not at those that pulled the trigger or detonated the bombs or even their backers and planners for that matter. These attacks hit the civil populace to an overwhelming extent, again not the responsibility of the Administration. Quite a number of those on the Left such as Boyd-Barrett celebrated the “insurgency”.

Although these policies were reinforced by Stormont, the British did have indirect responsibility for the gerrymandering and discrimination against Catholics because that institution was still subject to the Crown. The discrimination was so blatant it was a matter of publicly expressed pride in the North.

builder man said...

To The System Works. According to the US Levin-Coburn report:'the crisis was not a natural disaster, but the result of high risk; complex financial products; undisclosed conflict of interests; and the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to reign in the excesses of Wall St.' i.e. UNBRIDLED CAPITALISM.
Democratic Socialism favours a mixed
economy that rewards innovation, enterprise and hard work but sees
government's role as regulating the excesses of capitalism, e.g. exploitation of workers and irresponsible financial products and trading. i.e. CIVILISATION. Of course sometimes an unproductive and inefficient bureaucracy needs to be curtailed but it is better than the alternative. Capitalism as we know it is unlikely to outlast the century.The reason: It is based on GROWTH and although clever technologies help to get more out of less, it is still a planet of finite resources and capabilities. And it is the poorest who suffer most: This leads to failed societies and increases in extremism like Al-Quada. It also leads to more repressive laws in the developed world. I want private enterprise
and individual freedom to flourish. Their greatest enemy is unbridled capitalism.

The System Works said...

builder man: Capitalism leads to Al Quaeda and climate change? Oh dear, now you are sounding like a South Park parody of a leftist.

The Levin-Coburn Report: Government finds that Government isn't responsible for the crisis, and is needed to solve the crisis. What a surprise! Did the Report actually address underlying issues of Federal Reserve policy and other monetary and fiscal policies that birthed the crisis?

By the way, on your remarks about Israel, it was certainly not free-market policies that have led to the recent protests. I have written about the socialist policies that have driven up property prices and living costs in a way that would certainly not occur under more liberal laws:

Ted Leddy said...

My most sincere apologies for my abscence over the last week. I really shouldn't do a post if I'm not around to moderate it but it was just one of those weeks. Anyway, thanks guys for the interesting discussion. A few points of my own.

I can understand the attraction of Che on some level. He put his money where his mouth was and fought on the front line, probably the only communist leader to ever do so. His commitment to cause was pretty impressive. And I also recognise that on some of the countries he fought, his opponants were monstrous. But his cause was bogus. The illusion of alleviating poverty is the platform on which Mao, Stalin, Pot and Kim Il Sung all seized power. If Che had succeeded in overthrowing the Bolivian government the result would not have been the liberation of the people. What would have happened is the Soviets would have moved in militarily creating an extremly dangerous situation and the Bolivia people would have been left with a Marxist dictatorship probably just as cruel as military rule.

At the heart of this issue, both in this post and in terms of the Galway statue is the failure of the left to recognise the horrors of communism. Earlier today left wing activists in Galway disrupted the Labour Party conference. Many of them were waving Hammer & Sickle flags. I look forward to the day when waving such a flag is no more acceptable than displaying a swastica.

builder man said...

To Ted Leddy.You are right to condemn the left intelligentsia in that they often failed to recognise the horrors
of communism, and remained committed to the benefits. Yes, there were some, ask my wife! The ideas of community, the idealism which prompted it and even the bonding of a shared misery are worthy of consideration. It failed as a system because of human failings. Corrupt leaderships and the innate desire of most of us for personal advancement (natural enough, but can be to a degree that
ignores the needs of the community.
The right, just as blindly, ignores the horrors of capitalism. That's easier to do because it is so diversified, but just as horrific to its victims. On Panorama tonight
was mining multinational Glencore,
busy destroying lives and the environment all over the world. Founded by Marc Rich, an Israeli and now run by another Israeli, Ivan Glasenburg. Is there a pattern here? Employing 10 year olds in the most dangerous conditions. Billionaires exploiting children. There is no lower form of capitalist life. The lives of millions capitalism has destroyed is at least equivalent to communism, so let's hear the same condemnation otherwise it's hypocrisy.

The System Works said...

builder man: Child labor is an emotive issue, but its another area where the left are in way over their heads. Don't let the statists fool you into believing the nice legislators and so on ended child labour over here. The progress of private enterprise and the accumulation of capital is what has ended child labour in all places where it has ended, as it did in Britain. Only when it becomes economically unnecessary for children to work will child labour end. When Britain introduced regulations on child labour, child labour did not stop. The children just went to smaller, out of the way enterprises that were not inspected as much. Or they roamed the country as prostitutes. Prostitution exploded in Britain after every major child labour regulation. Again, the government will not solve this problem as long as it is economically necessary in households in poor countries for children to work. The factories, harsh as they may be, provide a better wages than anything else open to children. It is often the only refuge from starvation. It may sound cold, but we in the UK had to go through this stage ourselves in the early stages of industrialisation. Countries going through the wonderous early development of industry experience this phenomenon. But the children are of course better off – prior to industrial development things would have been much worse for the average family toiling (children included) on small farms or in cottage industries. But these children have always been less noticeable to the Charles Dickens-type people in the world.

builder man said...

To The System Works. Exactly. This is how capitalism works. The greedy exploit the vulnerable.Why didn't those Israeli billionaires fund a school? And in the developed world capitalism has completely removed any deprivation and the need for prostitution? In many areas of the world ' investment' is merely exploitation to the benefit of a few.

The System Works said...

builder man: Lets be more like the Nordic nations!

Anonymous said...

Che is a hero to the left wing ideology. Just because most of the world is right wing does not mean this man should not be honored.