Things That Matter

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

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

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These 9 Arroz Con Frijoles Recipes From Latin America Will Change Your Nightly Dinner

Culture

These 9 Arroz Con Frijoles Recipes From Latin America Will Change Your Nightly Dinner

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One of the most iconic dishes from Latin America is arroz con frijoles. The mix of rice and beans is a smell and taste that sends every Latino back to their childhood. Mami and abuela always know how to make beans better than we ever can. However, practice makes perfect. Just try these recipes until you finally land on the flavor and texture you remember from childhood.

1. Casamiento Salvadoreño

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#casamientosalvadoreño

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Casamiento Salvadoreño is a beautiful marriage of rice, red beans, peppers, and onion. The four different components get added at different times slowly building up until you hit the perfect balance in the flavor and consistency. If you like a savory breakfast, pair it up with some eggs and maduros and enjoy a Salvadoran breakfast.

2. Arroz Congri

Arroz Congri is one of the most quintessential dishes of Cuban cuisine. The mix of the rice and black beans is something you can find in any Cuban home or restaurant. The dish relies on the rice, bell peppers, and beans cooking together with spices until the water is absorbed. The method of cooking is how you can plate it in the iconic thick disc shape that we all know and love.

3. Arroz Com Feijão Preto

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Sometimes, I cook at home in my kitchen. Here is a comforting and ridicously delicious Brazilian Black Bean recipe These black bean beauties are cooked with onions, garlic, and seasoned perfectly with coriander, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper, next garnish with a lime wedge and sprig of cilantro to brighten it all up. They make a great side dish to enchiladas and more. Ingredients: 2 cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed 1/2 Tbls cooking oil 2/3 cups diced, white onion 2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced (I use a microplane zester) 2/3 cups chicken stock or broth 1/4 tspn cumin 1/4 tspn coriander 1/4 tspn mexican oregano salt &pepper to taste 1 lime and sprig of cilantro for garnish Instructions: In a small bowl mix together the cumin, coriander, and mexican oregano and set aside. In a saucepan on the stove, heat the olive oil to med-high heat. Saute onions for about 3 minutes or until they just start to become translucent. Add garlic and saute abut 30 seconds more. Add beans and broth, and seasonings then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and simmer for about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. When they are done cooking, remove from heat and add in a few squeezes of fresh lime juice. Then use the back of a spoon or rubber spatula to lightly mash some of the beans. You don’t want to pulverize all of the beans. The beans will thicken more upon resting. You can add more broth/stock if, they get to thick. Recipe adapted by Our Best Bites I've been making this recipe since 2009. It is my absolute favorite black bean recipe. @utahanaskitchen @ourbestbites #blackbeans #brazilianblackbeans #sidedish #semihomemade #cooking #homecooking

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Arroz com Feijão Preto is Brazil’s answer to the regional love of rice and beans. What really sets these beans apart is the use of bacon to add some flavor and substance to the dish. Of course, there are still some veggies included but the true magic of this Brazilian dish comes from the smoky and salty bacon flavor.

4. Tacu-Tacu

Peru is known to be one of the best food destinations in the world. Tacu-Tacu is just another example of Peru’s superior food status in the world. The most unique, and fun, thing about this arroz con frijoles dish is the shape. To achieve the texture for this you have to remember to let the rice sit in the bean mixture for 15 minutes so that the rice absorbs enough liquid to be malleable.

5. Gallopinto

Gallopinto is another version of arroz con frijoles that requires properly layering and add the ingredients. The rice does cook for a brief moment with the onion until it is coated with the hot oil before adding the water. After the rice is done you add the beans and let the delicious dish cook to perfection.

6. Arroz Con Habichuelas

Olives go a long way it making this Dominican dish really stand out. Arroz con habichuelas is a classic Dominican dish that brings together chicken bouillon, olives, rice, and beans together to create something you won’t forget.

7. Arroz Con Queso

Okay, so this isn’t an arroz con frijoles recipe. However, who doesn’t like trying new things. Arroz con queso is a famous Bolivian dish and it is always worth trying something new. Cheese is one of the greatest and most important food groups, tbh so rice with cheese is just…. *chef’s kiss.*

8. Arroz Con Gandules

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Order today #Thursday #ArrozConGandules

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Another rice dish that doesn’t use beans but is still just as delicious. Arroz con gandules is a Puerto Rican dish with pigeon peas that every rice loves needs to try at least once. Just one bite will transport you directly to the Caribbean island and will make you scream “WEPA!”

9. Arroz Con Frijoles Refritos

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These Vegetarian Enchiladas @lasmargaritasbc were AMAZING. You can definitely get one of the protein enchiladas (they have a variety) but I really wanted to try this one. It's Two corn tortillas rolled with cheese, green onions, olives, green peppers, tomatoes. Covered with a mild red enchilada sauce, melted cheese and topped with sour cream. Served with refried beans and mexican rice ($14.95). You honestly, don't even miss the meat! You also get complimentary chips and salsa. I love mexican rice and beans and this definitely hit the spot. Would 10/10 recommend. – – – – – #foodgram#instaeat#eatinvancouver#foodie#foodadventures#instafood#instalike#instafollow#followforfollow#foodgram#foodie#foodphotography#foodcoma#eeeeeats#instafoodie#girllikestoeat#604foodie#enchiladas#vegetarian#mexicanfood#mexicanriceandbeans#vegetarianrecipes#healthyfood

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It’s all about the beans here. They have to be cooked more than once and in more than one way. After all, they are called refried beans so they aren’t just cooked once and done. These are a classic around the world and you have definitely had them whenever you went to a Mexican restaurant.

READ: This Iconic Mexican Food Won The Twitter Battle To Be Named Latin America’s Best Street Food

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11-Year-Old Boy Steals School Bus, Leads Cops on a 45-Minute High-Speed Chase in Baton Rouge

Things That Matter

11-Year-Old Boy Steals School Bus, Leads Cops on a 45-Minute High-Speed Chase in Baton Rouge

Photo by David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

On Sunday morning, drivers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana were treated to a sight they definitely don’t see very often: an 11-year-old boy driving a school bus. But it wasn’t just any “ride”; it was an unaccompanied, illegal joy ride.

That’s right, over the weekend, a young Louisiana boy managed to steal a school bus from the local Head Start and take it out for a spin.

He then led police officers on a 45-minute, high-speed chase around Baton Rouge.

@lainetaylor

Only in Louisiana you have a 9 year old kid steal a school bus😂 #batonrouge #Louisiana #diffrentbreed #fypシ #foryou #schoolbus

♬ original sound – Laine Taylor

A TikTok user named @lainetaylor captured the chase on video. As the school bus zoomed down the street, it appeared that around a dozen cop cars were in hot-pursuit of the rogue boy.

Witness Joy Gradney described her first-hand experience to the local WAFB news station, saying, “As he got closer and closer and closer, I saw it’s a little boy in there and he was laughing. He was like giggling on the way across Florida [Ave] as he goes right past me. I’m like, ‘I can’t believe it’s a little boy!'”

According to authorities, the bus was a “push to start” model, so it was easy for the boy to start the vehicle without any keys. As for how he could reach the pedals, that’s a question we’d like an answer to.

Police also claimed that they little boy was flipping them off and taunting them as he drove the stolen school bus.

The chase eventually ended when the bus crashed into a tree. Thankfully, no one was hurt (although three other cars were apparently hit during the chase). The boy was arrested and put in handcuffs.

Libby Smith, the woman whose tree he crashed into, sounded as shocked as anyone when she found out who the bus’s driver was.

“I’m thinking, ‘What in the world is going on?’ And my first thought is that it was a lot of kids on the bus,” she explained to WAFB. “Thank goodness he was okay he was safe, but it was not your typical Sunday afternoon occurrence for sure!”

According to reports, the police charged the boy with “theft of a vehicle, aggravated flight, damage to property and aggravated assault.” We have a feeling he won’t be stealing any more busses any time soon.

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