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Ron Radosh

Benicio del Toro: Che Guevara’s Useful Idiot

January 27th, 2009 - 7:04 pm

We all know that Benicio del Toro is a great actor, and that in Steven Soderbergh’s new film “Che,” del Toro sounds and looks exactly like Che Guevara. Most of us- at least readers of this website-also know the truth about the real Che Guevara. The man was the prototype of a ruthless and vicious Stalinist killer; a man who exulted in repressing political dissenters,  and who personally set up and ran the mass firing squad executions that took place immediately after Castro’s victory in 1959.

The facts are easy to obtain. First, read any of the articles by Cuban exile Humberto Fontova, such as this one in which Fontova notes that when the movie made its Miami premier, “protestors outside the Carlyle Theater brandished pictures of relatives murdered by Che Guevara, [while] del Toro paid tribute to their murderer.” Fontova rightfully calls del Toro “Che’s Useful Idiot.”

It is hardly surprising that del Toro’s reception in Cuba was quite different. Appearing  at the Havana Film Festival, he was treated as an honored guest, and  the regime is featuring the film as a truthful depiction of Che that they want all the people to see.   This is a regime, Fontova writes, that “has jailed more political prisoners as a percentage of population than Stalin’s and executed more people (out of a population of 6.4 million) in its first three years in power than Hitler’s executed (out of a population of  70 million) in its first six.” For those who want more information they can purchase his pamphlet Monster from www.frontpagemag.com or buy his book, Exposing The Real Che Guevara. Readers can also buy Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s The Che Guevara Myth for another unvarnished and truthful picture of the real Che.

The individual who should read these, of course, is Benicio del Toro. Last week, Del Toro walked out of an interview on the film with Sonny Bunch, a reporter for The Washington Times. Bunch made the inexcusable mistake of challenging del Toro about the depiction of Che’s life in the movie. As he so gingerly puts it, del Toro “seems ill at ease on the hot seat.” Celebrities are not used to being challenged. How dare a reporter intimate that the film “Che” is not particularly truthful when Del Toro believes that Che’s message was one of love.

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