Che Guevara: The Patron Saint of Half-Wits in Pessimistic Argentina

Yesterday was San Ernesto’s big day. Ernesto “Che” Guevara Lynch was shot by Bolivian soldiers 40 years ago yesterday, in La Higuera. Now, in the town where Che Guevara was gunned down, Ernesto has become a saint.

“We have masses for him…we pray to him…he performs miracles for us,” says Susana Osinaga. “He was like Christ.”

We’re not making this up. La Nacion reports that a woman named Ligia Moron says she saw Che’s body laid out on the ninth of October, after he was shot. That image was forever “drawn in my soul,” she says, adding:

“He gave his life for an ideal, fighting for us, here, just as Christ has given his life for us.”

Ha…ha…ha…San Ernesto!

The poor soldiers who captured Che Guevara have suffered. People look at them as though they had crucified Christ. One was shot in the back…one was lynched. Another fell out of a moving car and died.

Mike Tyson has Che Guevara embroidered on his body…so does soccer star Maradona. Here in Buenos Aires, a street demonstration marked the occasion. Yes, San Ernesto has become the patron saint of half-wits all over the world.

What’s wrong with the Argentines? Lord Byron thought he could trace the problem in the whole Hispanic world back to Cervantes. His character, Don Quixote, the Man of the Mancha, gave Spaniards such a heightened sensitivity to ridicule, said Byron, that ever thereafter they refused to take any initiative, for fear of making fools of themselves.

Now, in all of Latin America there is a general attitude of “defeatism, pessimism and self criticism,” says Gabriela, our Spanish teacher. “If you hear someone saying bad things about a Frenchman, he must be English. If you say bad things about a German, you must be French. But if you say bad things about an Argentine, you must be an Argentine.”

“We never do anything right in this country…that’s what people say,” she went on. “And whenever someone proposes to do anything new, everyone tells him it will never work.

“Of course, it wasn’t always that way. Back in the days of Peron, Argentines were very proud…very positive…very sure of themselves – even arrogant. In fact, most people in Latin America still think the Argentines are arrogant. And maybe we are. But we are fiercely self-critical.

“I think what happened was that Peron was a disaster…and he was followed by other disasters. There were the generals…the war in the Malvinas (Falklands)…inflation…the crisis of 2002…debt defaults. In the ’30s, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. In fact, I think it was number 8. Now, it is a mess.”

Bill Bonner
Markets and Money

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.
Bill Bonner

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4 Comments on "Che Guevara: The Patron Saint of Half-Wits in Pessimistic Argentina"

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Market Socialist Dude
Market Socialist Dude

The implication in Bonner’s article is that Argentina has been been impoverished by those lazy ‘half-wit’ socialists.

Argentina fell in a heap because it relied too heavily on its resources and primary industries without giving enough energy to a vibrant and innovative economy.

Che may have a confused notion that central planning was a feasible economic policy but people admire him because he had guts. He had his ideals and he was prepared to fight for them. Much more inspiring than an inspid draft-dodging chickenhawk.


“Much more inspiring than an inspid draft-dodging chickenhawk.”

No doubt, though the chickenhawk was still inspiring enough to get into power. That is Bonner’s point too – without this kind of “inspiration” having such sway, mob stupidity is a lot less likely too.


Mr. Bonner is a little loose with the facts: Che’ was shot/murdered while in custody at the request of the US. The soldier who pulled the trigger is still alive.


I think ‘admire’ Che because of a cleverly composed graphic that adorns so many Tshirts. Imagery is important. Another important image of about the same vintage is the Campbells soup can that Warhol made famous. People worship that image also.

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