Throughout the Internet, countless websites are dedicated to vilifying Che with demagogical pieces written with hatred taking things out of their context to place Che under a negative light. In the best demagogical fashion, words and events twisted around to set the reader against him. It’s extremely easy to view Che negatively when the only things you hear about him are the ones circulating in right-wing pro-Unitedstatian websites in the Internet, notably ignorant and cynical regarding the reality of Latin America, so I have summarized here the key points to his vilification and deconstructed them with the facts.
If you’re a Metal Gear fan, you’re probably thinking of the media manipulation that depicted Solid Snake as a terrorist after the Tanker Incident in MGS2, or the way Big Boss is generally depicted in the series as a dictator bent on world domination. Kojima included these themes for a reason. In MGS2 in particular, the extent to which information can be manipulated without us ever noticing or questioning the source is one of the most important matters discussed, if not the most important one.
Photos of Snake — taken by the Cypher — were released to the public. In turn, we became the world’s most wanted environmental terrorists… It was definitely a move aimed at putting a stop to our anti-Metal Gear activities.
But why did they choose Snake?
Since the Shadow Moses incident, Snake became sort of a hero. I think the Patriots weren’t too happy about that.
You knew about the Patriots!?
Well yes… to a certain degree.
It seems like everyone knows about them except me.
They didn’t choose Snake to be a hero…
So they decided to do a smear campaign.
I think the Patriots wanted to make an example of him so everybody would think twice before opposing them.
Change “Patriots” for “US government” and put Che in place of Snake and you’ve got the exact same situation.
I am fortunate enough to aside from being Latin American, being European (I’m half Uruguayan and half Spanish) and I currently find myself living in Spain. Thus, I can get to know the current reality of Europe aside from the one in Latin America. In Spain, which aside from being a kingdom with a monarch imposed on us is a member of NATO, the things that you may be able to read in Fox News are regurgitated in the major newspapers which all happen to be conservative and right-wing. Chávez and his successor Maduro, democratically elected in a country which prides itself in having the most technologically advanced voting system (which is entirely computerized) are called dictators, same as with the presidents of Iran and Syria. Think whatever you might want to think of them, but they were still elected by the people. Lukashenko and Putin, presidents of Belarus and Russia, share the same treatment. Putin, mind you, is regarded by many as the most powerful enemy of the post-Cold War New World Order for a reason, and that’s why third world nations see him as an ally. It’s not strange that Lukashenko and Putin are described as ruthless dictators by the West in spite of having being reelected numerous times, constantly vilified and subjected to smear campaigns in the West merely because they do not vow down to the US and NATO. It is a known fact that the US is at its lowest, and that Russia and China continue to rise and defy the influence of the US and its allies with their growing influence, so it’s only natural that this happens.
In Spain, a NATO country, similar strategies are used, awfully similar to the ones used in the US. The leader of Podemos (“We Can”), a left-wing grassroots organization (the organized form of the Indignados, think Occupy Wall Street) aiming to end the widespread political corruption Spain is known internationally for, has been basically turned into a terrorist with all types of slander published daily in attempts to destroy his credibility (even though he was voted to be an eurodeputy and enjoys mass citizen support), strategies by the two major political parties who are afraid of losing to minor left-wing parties such as Izquierda Unida (“United Left”). The two major political parties, PSOE (center-left) and PP (center-right) which used to be always at each other’s throats, now have become so inseparable and united in their struggle against Izquierda Unida and citizen grassroots movements such as Podemos that people call them “PPSOE,” referencing how they are virtually the same in their deeds in spite of their supposed ideologies, such as the Democratic and Republican parties in the US, slaves to the same financial masters that brought the world to the economic crisis we are facing in North America and Europe.
The tactic used to discredit the people who struggle against the corrupt establishment can be summarized with a quick example; in trials in the United States, when the assistant district attorney discredits the accused using a word such as “because this murderer …” and the defense lawyer yells “objection!” and the judge says “sustained,” the last word members of the jury hear is “murderer,” thus influencing their overall judgment and approach to the trial. It doesn’t matter whether this objection was sustained or overruled; a lie told often enough always becomes truth.
We can find information manipulation everywhere in mainstream media because the media is not as unbiased as it claims to be. From the most powerful network mogul to the most basic of journalists, everyone is biased and has an agenda of his own. This is why we can find all types of information for example, regarding hot topics such as Cuba, Venezuela, Russia, Iran and Syria. Most typically, right-wing sources of the US and NATO Europe will depict these countries in the worst way possible. Left-wing sources, on the other hand, will stand up for them and point out at the manipulation and how they are destabilized by the US. The world is polarized into two blocs, and one has to simply pick a side. It’s terrible that’s come to this, but it’s what we see. It’s the second Cold War. If you want an example, read Fox News and then read Russia Today and come up with your own conclusions. You will notice perhaps too, that Fox News is filled with sensationalist propaganda with the purpose of shaping people’s thoughts, while there’s also plenty of stupid gossip content aimed at mediocre people (hinting at the average intellectual level of their readers), while Russia Today is filled with detailed reports of humanitarian and political crises, science discoveries and even has its own encyclopedia created to make people understand Russian culture better. Instead of an encyclopedia perhaps aimed at making people understand Unitedstatian culture better, Fox News only has “Fox Nation,” a brainwashing section where people are encouraged to express Unitedstatian pride and other mindless jingoistic flag-waving. While not trying to shape your thoughts with this, I personally believe the most trusted source will always be the one which seems more intelligent and dedicated to true journalism. And simply put, left-wing sources always seem to be more authentic and transparent (and overall less cynical).
So then, who handles this information and to what purposes? Are the US government, Fox News or CNN ever going to depict Che or the Latin American left in a good light? Are ultra-capitalistic neoliberal societies like the one of the US ever going to depict someone like Che as a hero fighting for a more humane society prioritizing people instead of money? Not very likely. And that is why Kojima, giving such a positive portrayal of Che he’s basically willing to compare him to the main hero of his franchise, has won another battle against what proliferates in the videogaming industry, against pro-imperialist ultra-shallow jingoistic garbage like Battlefield and Call of Duty. Think for a second why in Battlefield and Call of Duty we are always fighting on the side of the Unitedstatians or the British against Russians, Chinese and Latin Americans. These games seek to brainwash and order us around to sympathize with the US and its allies fighting their battles for them, not to make us think and question our alliances, our ideologies and the nature of the world that surrounds us, unlike Metal Gear.
To counter the lies and deceit surrounding Che’s image, I have decided to use evidence mainly from Jon Lee Anderson’s 1997 biography of Che. The reason for this is that Jon Lee Anderson is Unitedstatian, and thus provides for a non-Latin American and thus non-biased source. Anderson set to write a biography of his own when he saw that the only material out there were official Cuban biographies praising him and the biographies demonizing him written by ideological foes.
Aside from writing one of the most complete and popular biographies of Che, Jon Lee Anderson is the man responsible for finding out where Che’s body was buried in Bolivia, which was flown to Cuba and later kept in the Che Guevara Mausoleum in Santa Clara. Here we will analyze the most common comments made against Che and deconstruct them with evidence, mainly from Anderson’s 1997 biography of Che. Keep in mind, I personally do not keep Jon Lee Anderson in very high regard because despite of his great Che biography, his blatant propaganda against Chávez and Venezuela in an article he wrote for The New Yorker was full of mistakes and inconsistencies which intelligent readers were able to point out. To my understanding, many who had liked his Che biography were disappointed by his Chávez article, and by the fact that he is now working for a magazine which would obviously never praise Chávez. This being said, I believe we can rely on his Che biography for the points analyzed here.