Monday, October 08, 2007

The Apotheosis of Che

Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara.

Fidel Castro has always preferred dead heroes to living rivals, and Che was no exception. To frame it in American terms, imagine the following:

• Bill Clinton and Al Gore are comrades in arms, or W and Dick Cheney. You decide. In any event...
• Bill and Al have a colossal falling out over the direction of world revolution.
• Al leaves the country with other members of his staff and cabinet. He goes to a desperately poor English-speaking country to foment revolution as an outsider—against ALL the rules that had defined a guerilla struggle. Let's say that country is Belize.
• the local inhabitants view the Army as a menace, and the presence of the outsider to be an additional threat. When the Army comes and asks "where are the foreigners?" and the villagers point. Now two threats are removed.
• Al is at the end of his rope after 11 months, and has lost 100lbs. He can barely stand for his captors, and within 12 hours he's shot through the head.

You get the drift. Now Che is dead. Fidel can orate for hours on this, and another hero is added to the pantheon. Thirty years later Che is a profitable franchise. For somebody. You can bet if it had been Mickey Mouse, the licensing rights would have been sewed up tight.

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