Ernesto "Che" Guevara is perhaps the most polarizing figure in modern political history. It's no surprise that there are a lot of ideas and claims flying around about him by those who want to idealize or criticize him without properly understanding him, both as a human being and as a powerful revolutionary force.
There are certainly problems with those who wish to idealize Guevara without properly understanding all that he did, but you have asked about three specific claims often made by those who oppose Guevara and his ideology, so I'll try to stick to those for the body of the post, and perhaps make some larger statements about how "el Che" is viewed and why he seems unique in his image. Was Che Guevara a murderer? Did he hate gay people? If he did hate gay people, did he act on that to repress them? Was he racist? If so, did he act on racism? I would say that each of these major claims (Guevara was not just a killer but a murderer, Guevara killed/oppressed gay people, Guevara was a racist) are lacking in historical evidence, but that there is a clear source for each claim that can help us understand something larger (and hopefully better) about Guevara and the revolutions in which he fought.
Was Che a racist?
The answer to this question relies upon a follow-up: When?
From the diary that Ernesto wrote before he was Che, before he was a communist, when he was only 24, and when he had just made significant contact with blacks for the first time (Argentina being overwhelmingly white), we can draw the following passages.
"The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing, have seen their territory invaded by a new kind of slave: the Portuguese."
"The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations."
These are the oft-quoted passages used to establish Guevara's prejudice, and they are undoubtedly racist, and completely typical for an Argentinian professional of his time. It is safe to say, historically speaking, that the 24-year-old Guevara was in fact a racist. However, with further experience and his conversion to Marxism, Guevara became a committed anti-racist and anti-imperialist.
In his 1964 address to the United Nations, Guevara said the following.
"The final hour of colonialism has struck, and millions of inhabitants of Africa, Asia and Latin America rise to meet a new life and demand their unrestricted right to self-determination."
"We speak out to put the world on guard against what is happening in South Africa. The brutal policy of apartheid is applied before the eyes of the nations of the world. The peoples of Africa are compelled to endure the fact that on the African continent the superiority of one race over another remains official policy, and that in the name of this racial superiority murder is committed with impunity. Can the United Nations do nothing to stop this?"
"Those who kill their own children and discriminate daily against them because of the color of their skin; those who let the murderers of blacks remain free, protecting them, and furthermore punishing the black population because they demand their legitimate rights as free men — how can those who do this consider themselves guardians of freedom? The government of the United States is not the champion of freedom, but rather the perpetrator of exploitation and oppression against the peoples of the world and against a large part of its own population."
Cementing his unique role in history as a revolutionary leader who won his revolution, yet left the land he could rule to fight until the death making revolutions all over the world, Guevara eventually moved on to fight as a "revolutionary adviser" to rebels in the Congo. This demonstrates his belief that the peoples of Latin America, Africa, and Asia had to join together in order to break the back of Western imperialism. While in the Congo, however, Guevara became disillusioned with the rebels he had joined, and wrote frustratedly of their lack of discipline and attempted to impose a strict order, based upon his successful experience, and for these comments and actions, some have claimed that Guevara had demonstrated that he felt himself superior to black Africans. However, I find this to be an inadequate analysis; it would be more accurate to say that Guevara was frustrated with any revolutionary group that did not observe strict discipline, and would have spoken harshly to any such group.
Given the lack of evidence for any statements of racism after he became a communist revolutionary, the hardline anti-racist stance of his ideology, his role in the Cuban Revolution that guaranteed the full rights of Afro-Cubans, and his public statements in support of the struggles of blacks in the United States and South Africa, it is safe to say that by the time he became internationally renown, Che Guevara was no racist.
Did Che hate gay people?
This is a difficult one. I can't recall if Guevara ever wrote anything specifically on homosexuality, and I'm not aware of him taking any actions to repress or harm gays. However, it is certain that Guevara contributed to the culture of machismothat made the repression of homosexuals possible in Cuba.
Cuban society had been strongly homophobic for so long as there had been public awareness of a homosexual community, and the Revolution, though promising progress in almost every sector of society for almost every repressed group, did nothing to combat discrimination against LGBT Cubans for the first two decades of its rule, and the government under Fidel Castro even worsened things in some regards, by decrying homosexuality as bourgeois and decadent and enforcing new anti-homosexual laws. The prospects of LGBT Cubans were worsened after it was discovered that several groups of gay men had entered the pay of the CIA in counterrevolutionary activities, a crime that was unfortunately generalized to all gay Cubans by many.
The Cuban government required all men to serve a term in the military, but those who would not serve (Jehovah's Witnesses, conscientious objectors) and those who were not allowed to serve (gay men) instead did their terms of service in agricultural camps, as a part of "Military Units to Aid Production" (UMAP). The idea was for non-combatants to still strengthen the revolution, domestically. Things quickly got out of hand and these became downright abusive, a mark of the repression LGBT Cubans faced even after the Revolution. Those serving in these domestic military camps were beaten, worked long hours, and, for all their service, were viewed with the mar of the "decadent". To describe these as "concentration camps" would be going too far, as their primary function was as a replacement for mandatory military service, but they sometimes got dangerously close to that categorization.
Around three years after these camps were established, several concerned guards informed Fidel Castro of the abuses taking place within these camps. Curious, Fidel went under cover as a gay man into one of them at night, and revealed himself as a guard was about to beat him the next morning. Following Castro's visit, and the undercover visits of 100 heterosexual Communist Youth following Fidel's example, the UMAP camps were shut down. However, new camps, under a similar purpose, were established. Though they did not reach the levels of abuse of the UMAP camps, they were often still unequally harsh in treatment compared to what faced those serving in normal positions in the military.
While the idea of the domestic support division of the military wasn't to repress gay men, that was certainly the effect. At the time, Castro said that, while the camps were out of hand, they were better than what gay men would suffer in the military. However, he has since taken personal responsibility for the horrid treatment of LGBT Cubans at the hands of the cult of machismo. The camps are long since gone. In 1979, Cuba's slow march forward in the arena of LGBT rights began. Today, gay Cubans do serve in the military, there are more equal rights, sex change operations are covered by universal medical care, and transgender Cubans have been elected to the government.
This question wasn't about Cuba, it was about Che, but there isn't really much to say about Guevara here. The aforementioned camps didn't open until Che was gone to fight revolutions in the Congo and Bolivia, having stepped down from all government positions. Would he have spoken out against them? Would he have followed Fidel into the camps? Would he have stood by Castro in continuing the repressions? As a historian, I have little grounds to speculate there. Guevara certainly didn't go out of his way to speak in favor of homosexuals and trans people, when he was speaking out in favor of other oppressed groups. So was Che a homophobe? I don't know, but he certainly did contribute to a culture of machismo.
@rzuberbozy: Z jedynie sluszna prawda marksistowska ;) Dobrze ze na cenzurze sie konczy a nie na egzekucji ludzi jak to robil Che Guevara :) chociaz pewnie jakbys mial okazje to czemu nie w koncu to twoj idol :)
@rzuberbozy: aresztuj te piesni jak SBcja aresztowala obraz Matki Boskiej Czestochowskiej i zamknela w wiezieniu hahaha :) paranoja i nerwica natręctw na punkcie religii - nastepny punkt odhaczony :) typowy komunista jest typowy :)
@rzuberbozy: Nie popisales sie :) myslalem ze cos bedzie o katolicyzmie, Jezusie, katolach albo o tym ze Polacy sobie 1000 lat temu wybrali Maryje na patronke i krolowa Polski :)
BTW to seksualnie i moralnie zdeprawowane srodowiska chca adopcj dzieci - tak tylko przypominam jak chcesz walczyc o ich dobro - bo alternatywna rzeczywistosc mocno ;)
@rzuberbozy: Kiedyś tu wyjaśniałem te głupie kłamstwa na temat Che, jedno po drugim. Nawet zamknąłem prawakom dupy, bo atakowali mnie personalnie, zamiast używać jakiś normalnych kontrargumentow dotyczących tematu xD
Szkoda tylko że moderacja dwa razy usunęła mi ten wpis, bo jeden z modkow widać takim samym ignorantem jest jak większość z 4konserwy - a wszystko zgodne z regulaminem, prawda widać kłuję w doopsko
Zabawne, że wśród lewicy znajdują się osoby, które wielbią takiego che czy castro i tym podobnych, którzy w najlepszym wypadku gardzili homoseksualistami a w najgorszym zsyłali do obozów pracy/mordowali. I wy się nabijacie z prawaków co pójdą z pryncypałków z lesie ułożyć sfastykę w urodziny hitlera, a sami robicie to samo xD
Guevara gardzilł pieniędzmi, ale mieszkał w rezydencjalnej dzielnicy Hawany, piastował funkcje ministra gospodarki chociaż nie miał bladego pojęcia o ekonomii (doprowadził do ruiny Bank Centralny), wielbiciel Lenina (w hołdzie dla niego nadal synowi imię Vladimir), więzienie Cabana w którym urzędowal było scena licznych egzekucji (głównie byłych towarzyszy broni ktorzy zostali demokratami), zaślepiony fundamentalista (cytat z jego listow: "Nie potrafię przyjaźnić się z kimś, kto nie podziela moich poglądów"). Nic dziwnego, że tzw. lewica go uwielbia.
Miałem na studiach taką prawicową durną babę, co np. namawiała każdego, żeby płacił abonament, a po moim zapytaniu przyznała, że sama go nie płaci, ale to nie jej wina tylko rodziców bo z nimi mieszka (a rodzice jeszcze większe PiSiory od niej). Jej bohaterem był Che, przywódca prawicowej rewolucji. Wyśmiała mnie, jak jej powiedziałem, że on to raczej nie prawica xD
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