Exposing the Real Che Guevara: And the Useful Idiots Who Idolize Him by Humberto Fontova

Article Type: 
Book Review
Published Date: 
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This is a nice, short book, only 200 pages but with a good index. This book, as stated in the subtitle, indeed exposes the real Che Guevara and the useful idiots, particularly Hollywood celebrities and media personalities, who idolize him.

Fontova's book contains a lot of information that you do not find in other Che hagiographies. It corrects several mistakes made in both Jorge Castaneda's and Jon Anderson's authoritative biographies of Che Guevara. Fontova was able to do this because he actually traveled to Miami and elsewhere to interview people who had known Che personally and/or had served under him in various campaigns. On the other hand, Mr. Anderson traveled to Cuba and relied on the accounts given to him by Cuban communist sources as well as Che's second wife, Aleida March.

Not only do we learn that Che Guevara wanted to use the Russian missiles planted in Cuba against New York City, but he also planned two other major terrorist attacks in the U.S. while attending the United Nations in New York. The first attack was foiled when the Black Liberation Army was infiltrated by an FBI informant and the culprits arrested. In that attack, Che planned to blow up the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, and the Washington Monument. The FBI foiled a second terrorist plot by Cuban agents, who had targeted Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Gimbel's, and Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal with 500 kilograms of TNT to be blown up with a dozen incendiary devices. Consider the fact that Fontova provides us with a perspective when he reminds us that in the March 2001 Madrid subway blast, which maimed and killed almost 2000 people, terrorists used only 100 kilograms of TNT. Had these attacks been successful, we would have had a 9/11-type incident nearly 40 years before 2001.

Fontova catalogs eye witness accounts of atrocities, murders, executions committed by Che in gory detail in his campaign of terror, not only in Cuba, but also in Africa and South America. The narrative in these chapters is not for the faint-hearted.

On the other hand, in a moment of almost comic relief, Fontova describes a hilarious encounter of a Cuban-American wearing a T-shirt: "Che Is Dead Get Over it!" and Carlos Santana, who happened to be sitting by an outdoor cafe. Santana, a Che fan, who also has worn a T-shirt of the guerrilla icon was not amused and the exchange is a memorable treat!

Fontova's account of the Battle of Santa Clara is somewhat different than my own account published in Cuba in Revolution: Escape from a Lost Paradise. And unfortunately, Fontova does not discuss the conflict between the 26th of July Movement, led by the Castro brothers and Che Guevara, and the 13th of March Directorio Revolutionary Movement in the early days of the Cuban Revolution. This is important because had the non-communist, 13th of March Movement prevailed in Cuba, the history of the island would have taken a dramatically different turn, and Che Guevara would not be the revolutionary icon he has become today.

Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.
Author, Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002).

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Che Guevara and Hemingway

Humberto Fontova has written a new book, The Longest Romance: The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. He gave an interview to The Daily Caller and an article was published on September 4, 2013, which has generated considerable attention because among many other things it has a very embarrassing tidbit about Ernest Hemingway that should stain his reputation just a bit, at least among independent thinkers and conservatives. The article attracted the attention of Samuel Chi, the esteemed editor of realclearhistory, and Mr. Chi was thoughtful enough to send me the link so I could peruse the article. Let me quote the sassy passage from The Daily Caller:

"While Fontova writes about influential Cuban agents in the United States and how the mainstream media continues to suck up to the Castro brothers in his new book, perhaps his most shockingly lurid anecdote is of writer Ernest Hemingway, who lived in Cuba at the time of the Cuban Revolution. Hemingway hailed Castro’s revolution as 'very pure and beautiful,' " Fontova said. 'He was also a guest of honor at many of Che Guevara’s firing squad massacres. Hemingway loved to watch Che’s firing squads murder hundreds of Cubans. Hemingway would watch the massacres from a picnic chair while sipping Daiquiris.' " And there you have it! Moreover, Fontova's source is a former journalist who worked for the late Paris Review editor, George Plimpton, who was himself invited by and feted with Hemingway in one such firing squad entertainment and was witness to the sanguinary soiree.

Fontova’s source, for this troubling detail of Hemingway’s life, says his traumatized boss, George Plimpton, once told him how Hemingway took him to one such firing squad social gathering.

It is indeed a disturbing article but the facts therein cited are all consistent with what I know to be true. Hemingway enjoyed his Mojitos and Daiquiris while rubbing elbows with revolutionaries in the island paradise that the Revolution has turned in many ways into a wasteland. And Hemingway loved Fidel and left-wing revolutions. The places he frequented in Cuba are communist shrines today.

It is a travesty of ideology that an intelligent person and great author like Hemingway fell for tyrants like Fidel and Raul Castro and their sidekick Che Guevara. Unfortunately, it is true; Hemingway did fall for Fidel, hook, line and sinker, just as the Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez did and continues to do, still carrying the water for the Castro brothers!

Hemingway also favored the communist side of the Spanish Civil War in which 500,000 perished. He went out of his way to misreport the war and even advised John Dos Passos to do the same. Hemingway's advice to his fellow correspondent was that if Dos Passos wanted his journalistic and novelistic work promoted by the print media and the publishing establishment, he had better toe the line! Dos Passos refused. So while both of them were initially men of the Left, Hemingway prospered, while Dos Passos stalled! In fact, it was the reality of the civil war in Spain and communist treachery that turned Dos Passos — and many others such as George Orwell — from socialism. During the Spanish Civil War, there was a systematic assassination of fellow Republicans, men of the Left, such as Dos Passos' friend, Jose Robles, and numerous others, including Andres Nin (accused of being Trotskyites by Stalin's NKVD goon squads in Spain) that turned Dos Passos away from socialism and communism.

Robles' execution (probably ordered by Stalin's NKVD General, Alexander Orlov) caused a total rift between Hemingway and Dos Passos, who had been longtime friends and fellow travelers. Hemingway condoned the assassination as "necessary in time of war," while Dos Passos,embittered by the death of his friend, broke away from communism and began his remarkable odyssey to the political right. Dos Passos moved to the Republican Party and supported Barry Goldwater in the 1964 U.S. Presidential election.

Returning to the betrayal and assassinations of "ideological deviationists" by communists during civil wars and revolutions, I have touched upon this theme in previous articles and comments. Communists used assassination and purges of fellow revolutionaries in their quest for ideological purity, following the line Vladimir I. Lenin had delineated as far back as 1917. One of my articles,"The Astounding Case of Soviet Defection Deception," about the defection of Alexander Orlov, was linked to realclearhistory.

I wrote in more detail in the three-part series, "The Political Spectrum." In Part III — The Extreme Right: Anarchism, I described how the communists always end up killing their brethren, fellow revolutionaries of the Left, socialists and anarchists, once they take control of a movement or attain power. (Details were further discussed in the comments below my article.)

Returning to The Daily Caller article and Hemingway, a poster with the pseudonym of Rufus Choate, not at all happy with Hemingway sipping Daiquiris while watching the firing squads and entertained by Che, commented sardonically:

"Hemingway like all Leftist was an endlessly self-promoting cowardly narcissistic braggart of modest talent who bullied everyone around him. It is little wonder that when his time of terminal decline was upon him he used a shotgun to avoid the pain and indignity of death. Such a person would have no interest in the suffering of others because being near the power of life and death and not be threatened by it because of your international status is the ultimate Leftist aphrodisiac that made him appear to be actually alive." He has a point!