Things That Matter

Che Guevara’s Firing Squads Killed Over 30,000 Cubans. Here Are 26 Facts You Didn’t Know About Him.

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Among the political personalities that shaped 20th-century history, Ernesto “Che” Guevara is perhaps one of the most controversial. The Argentine revolutionary traveled the continent and idealistically fought against what he saw as unforgivable injustices. Following a Marxist worldview, he led guerrilla warfare efforts in countries as diverse as Cuba, Congo, and Bolivia.

He was considered by some to be a hero, the stuff myths are made of. Others, like almost every Castro regime-fleeing Cuban-American you’ve ever met, consider him to be a cruel tyrant who used violence to impose his ideas. While his image has become a symbol for political rebellion, you might want to share this article with that friend who thinks they’re in Latino solidarity by wearing that $48 Urban Outfitter’s t-shirt with his face on it.

Here are 21 facts about Ernesto’s life, from his early years in Argentina to his last days in Bolivia.

Ernest “Che” Guevara was a ruthless, systematic assassin for his political ideology.

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous.

Too often, Che supporters like to focus on his ideology and ignore the generations of Cuban-Americans who were gunned down by his extremist, violent means to a political end. Jon Lee Anderson’s biography, which cited Guevara’s own diaries, quotes a diary entry of how he resolved deserters to the cause:

“The situation was uncomfortable for the people and for Eutimio so I ended the problem giving him a shot with a .32 pistol in the right side of the brain, with exit orifice in the right temporal [lobe].”

When he visited the UN, two Cuban exiles tried to kill him.

Credit: Che: Part One. Wild Bunch.

Exiles in the U.S. thought Guevara was far from being a hero and two attempts were made. At the time, he continued to be a source of fear for anyone who didn’t support Castro’s regime.

Castro put Guevara in charge of the firing squads, which eventually assassinated 30,000 Cubans.

@CdVinEnglish / Twitter

There was no due process for the individuals who were placed against a wall, and waited for the order to leave Guevara’s lips that would cause their ultimate, brutal death by firing squad. In a letter to Luis Paredes López, Guevara casually writes, “The executions by firing squads are not only a necessity for the people of Cuba, but also an imposition of the people.”

His legacy includes a generation of Cubans whose own parents and loved ones died at his hands.

@ExposeTheMedia / Twitter

Don’t try talking about his revolutionary ideology to the thousands of Cubans whose families have been violently torn apart by his extremist methods. About 1.5 million Cubans fled their home country to the U.S. out of pure fear of ending up at that wretched bloody wall.

This face incites fear in a generation of Cuban-Americans whose lives were completely uprooted out of well-founded fear of this man.

It says something twisted about our limited historical lens that allowed this photograph to become a fashion symbol.

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous

Unless you have been living under a rock all your life, chances are that you have seen this image. It was actually shot by Cuban photographer Alberto Díaz Gutiérrez, better known as Alberto Korda or simply Korda. Its title: “Guerrillero Heroico” or “Heroic Guerrilla Fighter.” Certainly one of the most recognizable images in the history of photography.

Che-inspired consumerism is ironically known as “Che Chic”.

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous.

Oh, the irony! During his lifetime Guevara constantly fought against and criticized capitalist policies and the commodification of basically everything in life. However, his image has generated millions of dollars in sales of various products, most famously t-shirts.

Cuban exiles are vehemently in protest of this strange wave of fashion that romanticizes the mans ideology while ignoring the bloodshed of his actions.

Andy Warhol even created Che pop art.

Credit: che-guevara. Digital image. Wikiart.

Andy Warhol was obsessed with celebrity and this 1968 painting simply titled “Che Guevara” is a testament of the guerrilla fighter’s position as a polarizing pop culture icon. It’s no wonder that many Latinos have differing views of the revolutionary war icon.

Castro emblazoned his iconic photo on the $3 Cuban peso coin under “Patria o Muerte.”

Credit: Download. Digital image. Yanniel.com

On the one hand, his fanfare makes sense given that an entire Cuban government has given him the best PR an assassin could hope for. Cubans see Che’s face on a daily basis on graffiti, posters and most commonly these coins. Above Che’s head: “Country or death”.

Sounds like a good way to continually threaten your people.

So what’s his appeal? What’s his story? Nos vemos.

@DailyDream360 / Twitter

Besides the obvious reasons why he’s so often commemorated (Castro regime censoring any negative image of his right hand man in order to perpetuate a glorified image of his dictatorship), many people admire his efforts to overthrow capitalism and erase poverty lines. So that’s something. Pero, to be muy claro, it’s not enough.

While Che is best known for his role in the Cuban Revolution, he was born in Argentina to Spanish-Irish parents.

Credit: x001. Digital image. Marxists Internet Archive.

Like many Argentinians, Guevara had a mostly European heritage. His ancestors came from the Basque country (a region famous for its separatist efforts), Cantabria and Ireland via his paternal family tree.

He grew up comfortably in middle-class Argentina.

Credit: Pinterest. Yuliana Prisnawati Siboe

Guevara, known as “Ernestito” at home, didn’t come from a poor background. Rather, his middle-class family was quite comfortable in Rosario, Argentina. His parents were left-leaning when it came to politics and they supported veterans from the Spanish Civil War. Young Guevara soon showed an affinity with social issues.

Che suffered from asthma.

Credit: Giphy. Gifsoup.

Guevara had a lifelong medical condition: asthma. This limited some of his activities like rugby, a sport he was passionate about in his early years in Argentina. Wonder what would have happened to Cuba as we know it if Dios just let him breathe his way into a career of rugby. Que pena.

He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires as a medical doctor.

Credit: download.png. Digital image. United Way of Northwest Mississippi

His first wife wrote a memoir, “My Life with Che,” and describes Guevara’s obsession with creating medical equity for the working and impoverished class of Argentina. Specifically, he viewed an elderly washerwoman that he was treating as “representative of the most forgotten and exploited class.”

He travelled the continent on a motorcycle…

Credit: The Motorcycle Diaries. Miramax.

As seen in the Gael-starred movie “The Motorcycle Diaries, Guevara traveled through Latin America as a young man, an experience that put him in touch with social injustice and sparked a revolutionary drive in him.

Which led him to spend a few weeks treating a leper colony in Peru.

Credit: alberto-granado-che (1). Digital image. Vanguardia.

Leprosy is a debilitating disease, no question. It’s caused by a bacteria that is thought to be spread by armadillos and reduces the ability to feel pain, which can lead to untreated wounds, causing amputations.

Guevara was especially interested in the community that the disease creates. In “The Motorcycle Diaries,” he writes, “The highest forms of human solidarity and loyalty arise among such lonely and desperate people.”

He loved reading existentialist philosophers.

Credit: Giphy. @mcplee

Guevara was an avid reader, and among his favorite authors the French philosophers Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre had a privileged place. These two novelists and philosophers presented life as a senseless affair, with no answers and no way out. Existence is futile, they say. 

He met Fidel Castro in Mexico City.

Credit: che-jail. Digital image. Latinamericanstudies.org

Guevara worked as a doctor in the Mexican capital, where he met the Cuban brothers Raul and Fidel Castro. They quick found common interests and their dislike for the way in which US corporations mistreated workers and installed puppet governments. 

Castro named him his right and was the Cuban Finance Minister after the revolution.

Credit: Che: Part One. Wild Bunch.

One of the main critiques to the Cuban Revolutionary government is the fact that the newly formed government had little or no experience in public administration. Guevara went from the battlefield to a desk… he didn’t last long and single handedly destroyed the economy.

In 1964 he spoke against South African apartheid at the United Nations.

Credit: Che: Part One. Wild Bunch.

Yes, Guevara travelled to New York and gave a famous speech even if he was a sworn enemy of the US government. The hour long speech is captured by filmmaker Steven Soderbergh in his two volume epic “Che.”

He wanted to free Africa from imperialism.

Credit: CheInCongo1965. Digital image. Wikipedia.

After he grew apart from the Castro regime, Che set his sights on Africa. He trained guerrilla fighters in Congo, a former Belgian colony. He thought that a Pan-African dream was possible and the continent could be united.

But he also loved his Rolex GMT Master watch.

Credit: Che-Rolex. Digital image. Rolex Magazine.

Quite a contradiction. The revolutionary leader wore an expensive piece that was often photographed.

The CIA said he was “fairly intellectual for a Latino.”

Credit: download. Digital image. Brizreit University.

Yes, you read that right. A true WTF. Those racist words described Guevara in a government report which sums-up the framing of Latinos in the mid 20th century. As if.

It’s pretty widely believed that the CIA orchestrated his assassination.

@JMichaelWaller / Twitter

On the left is CIA agent Felix Rodriguez, with Che Guevara and his Bolivian captors. The United States openly denounced his anti-capitalist views and saw him as a threat to democracy. Many believe he was killed by the CIA for his disruptive tendencies, rather than his murderous role in the Cuban Revolution.

Every martyr for a cause is soil for iconography.

His hands were cut off after he was killed.


Credit: che-soldiers. Digital image. Latinamericanstudies.org

Right after he was executed in Bolivia his hands were amputated and sent to Buenos Aires. The reason: his fingerprints needed to be properly identified and that somehow seemed to be the most logical way of doing it. 

But what does “Che” actually mean?

Credit: Giphy. Anonymous.

His moniker is not very glamorous. “Che” translates simply as “dude”, “bro”, “ese”, “carnal” in Argentina. Because he spent most of his life abroad, “Che” was a simple way of remembering his origins.

There are no two sides to Che. There’s only the full picture.

@Ramagemilang / Twitter

My mami always said, “actions speak louder than words.” While his words and political beliefs were moving, and well-intentioned, there is no ‘means justify the end’ when it comes to murdering thousands of people without fair trial.

Feel free to educate your friends so they stop pissing off Cuban abuelos.

READ: 11 People Who Changed The Course Of History In Latin America Through Violence And Military Coups

Lost KKK Tapes Have Been Uncovered By A Journalist And They Are As Bad As You Might Imagine

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Lost KKK Tapes Have Been Uncovered By A Journalist And They Are As Bad As You Might Imagine

Invaluable Auction / Thad Zajdowicz / Flickr

Back in 2012, the daughters of Eugene B. Sloane, a photographer and journalist, came across a piece of uncovered Martin Luther King Jr. history, a never-heard-before recording. After their father’s passing, the women had begun to sort through his belongings, and they’re tucked away in a box sat his original Sony reel-to-reel tape recorder and two reel-to-reel audio tapes. The two tapes, although recorded in 1967, have content that is still relevant today. 

Eugene B. Sloane was a respected reporter for the South Carolina newspaper, The State, who was most well-known for his coverage during the civil rights era.

One of the tapes found is a rare recording of a Klan meeting, that took place the night before a Dr.  Martin Luther King event. 

Credit: Invaluable Auction

That evening, in the summer of 1967, there was a public announcement that a Klan meeting would be taking place; Sloane then taped the recorder to his waist and hid it under a Klan robe, then placed a hood over his head and began to tape the entire meeting. In the recording you can hear the Klan leader, spewing false rumors and hate, making wild accusations that black men are coming to their city to rape white women, this is eerily similar to Donald Trump’s presidential announcement when he stated all Mexicans rapist and criminals. The man on the tape goes on to inflate the crowd sizes saying there will thousands coming the following day, which is exactly the same type of mob mentality that Trump creates when he spreads the same hate-filled lies about “invasions” happening on the “southern border.”

Sadly, the most parallel wording in the recording is when the Klan leader calls for King’s death, “for God help that —- He ought to be shot.” His call to action is then followed by audience applause and honking in solidarity. 

Eight months later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would end up being assassinated by a white supremacist, with a rifle. 

Credit: Courtesy of Yolitzma Aguirre

On August 3, 2019, fifty-one years after white supremacy took the life of Dr. King Jr., in a mirrored action, the largest massacre of Latinos (in modern history) took place in El Paso, TX, when a supremacist drove 8 hours from Plano, TX – with a rifle – and murdered twenty-two innocent people. In the shooter’s own words, his objective was to “kill as many Mexicans as possible.”

During the most recent Democratic debate, the candidates were asked their thoughts on Trump’s responsibility in the El Paso massacre. Senator Kamala Harris’ response spoke volumes of truth. 

In both assassination of MLK and the massacre in El Paso, white men pulled the trigger and white supremacy was the ammunition.

Credit: @KamalaHarris / Twitter

In 1967 (much like today) racial tensions were at an all-time high. The Detroit riots had taken place a week before King’s Charleston visit. Yet despite all the racist hate hurled his way, Dr. King continued with the Poor People’s Campaign, he believed in the greater good and the work that must be done in order to truly attain equality. 

The second recording in Sloane’s belongings spoke exactly to that purpose. In this newly discovered recording, King discusses the very same issues that we are still battling today. On the topic of racism, he states, “…wherever we live in America, you have to face the fact honestly that racial discrimination is present. So don’t get complacent; certainly, we’ve made some strides, we’ve made some progress here and there but it hasn’t been enough; it hasn’t been fast enough; and although we’ve come a long long way, we still have a long, long way to go.

The 45-minute speech had profound key points on a range of issues, including the fundamental racism in this country, that must be changed, otherwise, freedom is not “free” for us all. He explains the pitfalls in the system, how America likes to say everyone is equal yet not everyone was allowed equal opportunity to attend school, therefore not everyone has equal opportunity to equal jobs, which means not everyone has equal opportunity to earn income, and not everyone has equal opportunity to afford food or a home…and the cycle continues.

If you look at the United States today, it is sad to say, not much has changed since King gave this Charleston speech.

Credit: @Nikki_Lew / Twitter

What the recording leaves us with, is the very essence of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, that in the end, love beat out hate and fuel our movement. “so I’m not gonna give you a motto or preach a philosophy burn, baby burn. I’m gonna say build, baby build organize, baby, organize. I’ve decided to stick with love…Somebody’s gotta have some sense in this world. And a lot of white folks have demonstrated eloquently that they don’t have no sense and why should we be that way? The reason I’m not gonna preach a doctrine of black supremacy is because I’m sick and tired of white supremacy.

These two tapes that have now surfaced, have been cared for by Sloane’s daughters and will now be released to the public at auction. The sisters reached out to Guernsey auction house – who has handled many civil rights memorabilia, including Rosa Parks’ archives – and made the arrangements to personally hand deliver the tapes themselves, in order to assure the tapes arrived undamaged. 

The tapes, photos, and other items will be placed for auction on September 19th, 2019. 

Over fifty years after his death, Dr. King Jr. continues to be a beacon of hope, a light shining in the darkest hours. 

It has been a little over a month since the massacre took place in El Paso, TX, and in the month, we have seen different communities come together, to support each other in this dark hour, and as the next presidential election approaches we can listen to Dr. King’s words from that 1967 in recording, “build, baby build, organize, baby organize.” 

Already we have seen many groups begin to roll out their 2020 plans for engagement and voter registration. Democratic leaders like, Stacey Abrams – whose midterm race for governor of Georgia became national attention due to voter discrimination – has launched Fair Fight 2020, a voter protection program which will run across 20 states.

READ: These Surprising Facts Will Explain Why Latinos Ought To Celebrate Juneteenth

A Man Thought His Wife Was Trying To Kill Him So He Faked His Death To Catch Her In The Act

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A Man Thought His Wife Was Trying To Kill Him So He Faked His Death To Catch Her In The Act

If you’re a lover of shows like “Law & Order” or the I.D. Channel, then this story is for you. It is true crime at its finest — and its scariest. Before we spill the beans, let me ask you this: do you trust your partner? Is the person that you share your bed with someone who you believe would never hurt you? As much as I love my husband, you best believe if I get any kind of paperwork that shows life insurance documents, I am certainly calling the cops. I have seen just about every true crime show and the first clue that your partner or lover is planning to end you is when they tell you to sign life insurance papers. It also can get messy when there’s a divorce involved, and if one or the other has more money. It always comes back to money. 

Puerto Rican boxing trainer Ramon Sosa found out his wife Maria de Lourdes Dorantes (Lulu) hired a hitman to murder him.

The 50-year-old former boxing pro turned gym entrepreneur said his marriage to Lulu lasted six years. She was his second wife, and Sosa had children from a previous marriage. He said that when she filed for divorce in 2015 she wanted to take all of his earnings, and as a business owner in Houston, Texas, there was a lot of money there. That’s when Lulu began accusing her soon-to-be ex-husband of being an abuser, of being lazy, of committing fraud. People around Sosa knew he wasn’t that kind of man. That’s when Lulu reached her boiling point and began talking about hiring a hitman to get rid of him. Lulu confided in a former criminal named Mundo and she told him everything. 

“I’m just tired. I’m frustrated,” Mundo recalls her saying, ESPN reported. “I wish he will leave. I wish the cops would pick him up. I just wish somebody will make him disappear.” Then Mundo asked her, “What do you mean ‘disappear’?” ESPN reported that Mundo “made a pistol sign with his fingers, and Lulu replied, ‘Yeah.'” Mundo ended up telling Sosa what his wife wanted to do but he didn’t believe him. 

After much consideration, Sosa wanted to catch her in the act and he had the help of the FBI and police. If she wanted him dead, he was willing to pretend as if her plan worked. Sosa had to first pretend as if he didn’t know his wife was planning to kill him.

Credit: @rsosa67 / Twitter

“After the reality, it set in I became angry, sad and confused; a whole mix of emotions, each fighting the other to be the dominant feeling,” Sosa said in an interview with The Sun. “And then it hit me that I still had to live under the same roof with the person planning to have me murdered.” He added, “Yes, I slept with the enemy and with one eye open, all while trying to act as ‘normal’ as possible so Lulu would continue with her plan. Keep in mind, that was the only way we could catch her in the act.”

With the help of the authorities, Sosa literally acted as if he had been killed. They staged the scene, a grave dug in the dirt and there lay Sosa without a shirt and with fake blood on his face. His family and children also believed him to be dead as well. They couldn’t be in on the plan or else it could have failed. Sosa said that image of himself lying in the dirt still haunts him to this day. 

“It was chilling,” he told The Sun. “Utterly and indescribably chilling. That picture, to this day, reflects one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. The thought of me lying in a shallow grave in my underwear with a bullet hole through my temple is mind-boggling.”

In 2016, police had Lulu arrested where she will remain behind bars for 20 years. Sosa has written a self-published book about his insane ordeal and he is also a public speaker about survival.  

Credit: @rsosa67 / Twitter

CBS News that Lulu finally plead guilty 15 months after being arrested. Sosa said there’s not a day that goes by that he is not reminded about what his former wife intended to do to him. “She … told Mundo that … when they kill me, to make sure to take my watch … That is why I wear it all the time now,” he said to CBS News. He adds that just like him, Lulu was a fighter too, “I stayed till the last minute of the last round, she had me on the ropes. And she had no idea that the whole time, I had a plan too.”

READ: This Woman Was Kidnapped By Her Husband But When He Made Her Go Inside To Pick Up A Pizza She Passed An SOS Note That Saved Her Life