90 Miles From Tyranny : Barnes & Nobles glorifies Che Guevara in the heart of Miami

Monday, September 9, 2019

Barnes & Nobles glorifies Che Guevara in the heart of Miami







By Cuba ArchiveLast Thursday, I went into the Barnes & Nobles bookstore at Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, to grab a coffee between meetings and lay eyes on some books, which have enamored me since childhood. To my astonishment, as I walked in from the back entrance, the first thing that caught my eye was a stack of books of Che Guevara in prominent display under a sign for “Reference books.”

I went straight to the book Che, a revolutionary icon (by Luis Enrique Martínez, New York: Charwell Books, 2018). Page after page tells a selective and glorified story of Guevara under subtitles such as “The legend is born,” “The messenger of love,” “A revolutionary adventurer,” “The price of glory,” “Che lives forever,” with many glossy photos from many phases of his life. I found no subtitles such as “The killing machine,” “the butcher of La Cabaña,” “terrorist,” “aristocratic racist,” or other less laudatory labels also used to describe him. A few brief sentences of the 187-page volume referred to his command at La Cabaña prison but fail to even mention any of the human beings executed there by his order (“just around two hundred”) and missing were photos of the execution wall. There’s not a peep on the camp he created at Guanahacabibes, a remote peninsula in Cuba, to send his underlings at the Ministry of Industry for hard labor as “rehabilitation” punishment for all kinds of so-called transgressions. Missing too were references to his leadership in eliminating free press, destroying the economy, and installing a totalitarian dictatorship in Cuba, of his support for nuking the US during the missile crisis, or of his defiant declaration to the UN General Assembly that “we will continue to execute as long as necessary.” The page at the end of the volume for “Suggested Reading” had a bibliography with just more adoring works and selective Che writings. This is what Barnes and Nobles offers under “Reference books.”

I asked the nice staffers if they had any books on Osama Bin Laden, Hitler, Stalin, Mao or other famous world figures known for their revolutionary views or as leaders of non-democratic regimes. They were helpful but could not find any. All they knew about Guevara was that he adorns lots of t-shirts. So, I asked to see the manager and when Andy arrived, I explained to him, very politely, that Miami was the home of a large Cuban American community that had suffered directly from Guevara’s actions and was, in general, particularly sensitive to the misguided Che cult. I told him I was not in favor of censorship but that I knew children and siblings of men executed by Guevara who lived in Miami. Plus, I said, I would have been just as upset had I found a glowing book on Osama Bin Laden displayed prominently at a B&N bookstore in my New Jersey hometown, that lost ten people on September 11th. Andy was clueless, he told me he was born in Cuba but had left as a...



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