Break free from the Che

by Beacon Staff • September 20, 2006

In January, 43-year-old Guillermo Farinas, a Cuban journalist and psychologist, began a hunger strike that would come to last seven months-necessitating intravenous nutrition and emaciating his body to Mary-Kate Olsen levels.,While students have been busy protesting Facebook's News Feed feature, the right to dissent is not so easily reserved by some of our less fortunate virtual neighbors.

In January, 43-year-old Guillermo Farinas, a Cuban journalist and psychologist, began a hunger strike that would come to last seven months-necessitating intravenous nutrition and emaciating his body to Mary-Kate Olsen levels.

Farinas, who has been called a hero in his native country, was not protesting the allocation of government funds or the right to print a controversial story (to do either would have garnered him a beating courtesy of military police); he was protesting for his right to uninhibited Internet access.

In Cuba, this tyrannical oppression of human rights is the government's modus operandi, but it is more indicative of the nonconformist life led by Cuban revolutionary and communist Ernesto "Che" Guevara, author of The Motorcycle Diaries, this year's book for the freshman class's annual Combined Reading and Viewing Experience.

Guevara's dusty account of his bohemian adventure across Latin America is intriguing only because one can read and know what he would become, what he would attempt to accomplish and his rarely publicized failure to achieve these goals.

Irony abounds: capitalism, against which Che crusaded so passionately, has perpetuated Guevara's fame since his death in 1967 at the hands of Bolivian and U.S. Special Forces.

His enigmatic glare, made famous by the photograph taken by Alberto Korda, has appeared on T-shirts, coffee mugs, hats and underwear.

There exists paraphernalia Web sites like thechestore.com, which cater to "all your revolutionary needs."

One can purchase full-body military outfits tenderly embroidered with the declaration, "Wherever Death May Surprise Us, Let It Be Welcome."

Here, one can observe the difference between rebel and revolutionary: it is the rebel who clandestinely wants to preserve the stagnant status quo.

To do otherwise would disable his ability to rebel and force the dashing "free-thinker" to rethink purchasing those camo-print Chuck Taylors.

Even Che's quick-witted bike buddy Alberto Granado has raised complaints in Spain's most widely circulated newspaper, El Pa