This first appeared on June 20, 2009.
Che Guevara, the Counterinsurgent
By Humberto Fontova
Last Saturday marked the day 81 years ago when Ernesto Guevara de la Serna y Lynch entered the world. As luck would have it, a PBS special titled "The 60's Experience" featuring former Animals' singer, Eric Burdon, sporting a humongous (as befits the quite rotund Burdon nowadays) Che Guevara T-shirt is recently making the rounds. Eric's tent-like covering shames both Carlos Santana's and Johnny Depp's Che shirts. It features an elegant collar, and a huge image of the gallant Che's face on both front and back. Naturally, Eric was belting out the Animals' classics, which featured his incomparable, "We Gotta Get Out of This Place."
EXACTLY, Eric!" I blurted at the TV. "That was the exact and desperate refrain from 6.3 million Cubans (Cuba's population in 1959) when your t-shirt icon imposed his liberation!" (Pre-Castro Cuba, by the way, took in more immigrants as a percentage of population than the U.S., mostly from Europe. People used to be almost as desperate to "get into that place" as they later became to quote Burdon's song.)