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Will the Real Che Guevara Please Stand Up?

On one occasion Guevara went to the Soviet Union on a diplomatic mission for Cuba and insisted on laying flowers at the Stalin's tomb despite objections from his Soviet hosts who were in the midst of trying to expel the demons of Stalin’s reign. But Guevara was undeterred; he was an adoring fan. Earlier in his life he even took to signing his correspondence “Stalin II.”

Recently, del Toro walked out on an interview with the Washington Times when he became uncomfortable with a line of questioning about the real Ernesto Guevara. It’s difficult to have faith in an artist that won’t defend his choice to participate in a whitewash of history. Someone has to play Hitler in the movies about World War II, but it would be surprising if a bankable star like del Toro did so in a film that was favorable towards the Fuhrer. And when asked recently about the protests that the premiere of the film in Miami spawned, del Toro said, "First of all, the protesters hadn't seen the movie. They were protesting Che, or Fidel Castro, or Cuba, or the revolution. But they hadn't seen the movie, you know. That was strange for me. I understand [the protests], but at least see the movie." Gee, Benicio, why would they pay good money to see a movie that whitewashes the history of a man whose evil they witnessed first-hand?

Nonetheless, it's quite appropriate that del Toro is acting like coward. He must be a method actor because Guevara was similarly afflicted with a yellow stripe. When he surrendered to Bolivian army Rangers, Guevara came out with arms raised proclaiming, “Don’t shoot. I’m Che Guevara -- I’m worth more to you alive than dead.” He was willing to kill for his “ideals” but not willing to die for them.

Guevara’s execution at the hands of the Bolivian military was appropriate given the hundreds of executions he himself was responsible for, in many cases personally administering the coup de grace. Guevara was a big man when he had a gun and his victims were handcuffed, but he went out with a whimper when confronted with the same fate.