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Is the Cult of Che Guevara on its Way Out?

Che Guevara is one of the few communist leaders who still has a broad following in the West. Go to any college campus or hip neighborhood and you’ll see plenty of Che T-shirts, Che posters, and even the occasional Che cell phone message. This is extremely unfortunate, since Che was in fact a brutal mass murderer and terrorist, as I explained in this post. Reason editor Nick Gillespie points this out as well, but also cites evidence suggesting that Che worship may be declining:

How resilient is the ghost of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the Argentine-born Marxist revolutionary who ably assisted the Castro brothers’ sadly successful mission to turn Cuba into an island hellhole? His legend survives even a lackluster, long-winded biopic released in 2008 and now just out on DVD.

More important, Che’s legend survives the facts of his own life. Born in 1928 and gunned down in 1967 by drunken Bolivian soldiers, Che rarely missed an opportunity to make life miserable for those who opposed him. During the fight against the Batista regime, Che ordered the summary executions of dozens of real and suspected enemies, becoming the very thing he said revolutionaries must be: a “cold-blooded killing machine.” As a leader in post-Revolution Cuba, Che became known as the “butcher of La Cabaña” prison, where he oversaw hundreds of murders of political prisoners and “counter-revolutionaries.”

When he became the effective czar of the Cuban economy and attempted to create a “new man and woman,” or workers fueled by revolutionary ideals rather than conventional workplace incentives, his plans failed catastrophically and helped make Cuba the economic basket case it remains to this day. Along the way, Che did more than his share to help ban rock and jazz music as “imperialist” forms of expression….

Increasingly, one hopes, Che’s

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