The Che Guevara Myth
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The Che Guevara Myth
And the Future of Liberty
Alvaro Vargas Llosa (Author)

Paperback • 88 pages • 6 x 9 inches • Index

ISBN-13: 978-1-59813-005-8

Publication Date: Jan. 15, 2006

Publisher: Independent Institute

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Paperback (ISBN 978-1-59813-005-8)
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In the decades since his death, the legend of Che Guevara has grown worldwide. In this new book, Alvaro Vargas Llosa separates myth from reality and shows that Che’s ideals re-hashed centralized power—long the major source of suffering and misery for the poor. With eyewitness accounts, Vargas Llosa sets the record straight regarding Che’s murderous legacy, brutally crushing any and all dissent, and concentrating wealth in the hands of an elite.

The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty further elaborates on attempts by both the left and right to suppress liberty, and examines the Latin American spirit from early indigenous trade to today’s enterprising communities overcoming government impediments. In the process, the book points to the real revolution among the poor—the liberation of individuals from the constraints of state power in all spheres.


Table of Contents

    1. The Killing Machine: Che Guevara, from Communist Firebrand to Capitalist Brand
    2. Latin American Liberalism—A Mirage?
    3. The Individualist Legacy of Latin America


"Alvaro Vargas Llosa is clearly one of the foremost ‘public intellectuals’ of Latin America, and his book, The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty, is characteristically forthright and timely. The striking contrast between the catastrophic failure of Guevara's murderous collectivism and the success of the alternative course, founded on freedom and individual initiative, is tellingly reflected in this very important volume."
Claudio Veliz, Professor of History Emeritus, Boston University

The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty is a timely and masterful critical piece on the Left’s heroic figure and on the Latin America he tried to change but only made worse in the process. Che Guevara has become a myth to many around the world who really do not understand or know who this man was all about. Alvaro Vargas Llosa exposes the real Che with the facts of who he really was. He takes off the beret, the cigar, the façade of the handsome revolutionary figure and exposes the violent, unjust, and arbitrary side of the real Che. More importantly, Vargas Llosa puts his demystification of Che in the context of what has gone wrong with Latin America in the past decades.”
V. Manuel Rocha, former U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia and Argentina

“I welcome Alvaro Vargas Llosa's demolition of the sub-adolescent Guevara myth that has grown up around a narrow-minded terrorist and oppressor ready to start nuclear war! The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty is a book for such readers as want the truth.”
Robert Conquest, Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; author, Harvest of Sorrow and The Great Terror

“The presence of Che Guevara’s image in Western popular culture is a disturbing symptom of the corrupting power of totalitarian ideas and a frightening reminder that communism and its crimes against humanity, contrary to National Socialism in Germany, have not been unequivocally condemned by a ‘Nuremberg’-type trial. The real ideas and activities of the ‘hero’ of The Che Guevara Myth: And the Future of Liberty are an example of the dangerous confluence of the totalitarianism of the past century: National Socialism in Germany and Bolshevik Socialism in the Soviet Union. These two ideologies are the precursors of extremism and international terrorism that threaten the world today. This makes Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s insightful work on the myths of Che Guevara and socialism all the more necessary and timely.”
Elena Bonner, Chairwoman, Andrei Sakharov Foundation

“Brilliant. . . . I am indebted to Alvaro Vargas Llosa, who explains who Che was.”
Jeffrey Gedman, Director, Aspen Institute, Berlin

“Rails against the cult of Che . . . documents the evidence that Guevara was bloodthirsty and ignorant in both guerrilla tactics and government.”

“Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s The Che Guevara Myth: And the Future of Liberty is less of a study of the life of the Communist killer than a look at how his totalitarian legacy poisons Latin America today. Totalitarianism in Latin America is the real theme of The Che Guevara Myth. The myth is less about Che the individual than the idea that violent terror can bring reform rather than further cycles of brutal oppression. . . . Che Guevara became such a campus hero to privileged leftists not because he was a peasant rebel, but because he was one of them, the son of a wealthy family, a bookish asthmatic brat who became the essence of radical chic. The Che of the red t-shirt has always been a myth. The real Che was the great-grandson of one of the richest men on the continent, his father owned a plantation (another ongoing theme among Cuban Communists) and he benefited from family connections on both sides. . . . Freedom however was the opposite of what Che stood for, instead engaging in brutal repression, censorship and oppression, killing on a whim and seeking to stamp out entire artistic fields. . . . The tragic truth, as Alvaro Vargas Llosa’s The Che Guevara Myth: And the Future of Liberty shows us, is that all this only perpetuates the misery and malaise. Revolution is not the exit sign to a better world and wealth redistribution cannot help the poor. Revolution doesn’t open up the system. It closes it down. Its redistribution of wealth actually ends up concentrating it in even fewer hands. Freedom is still the only solution. By embracing its individualistic tradition, he argues, Latin America can still have what the murderous revolutionaries greedy for power and blood could never give it. A better life.”
Frontpage Magazine


Alvaro Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America’s foremost political journalist. A native of Peru, he graduated from the London School of Economics and has worked as a journalist in Latin America, Europe, and the U.S. for over fifteen years. He is now a Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute.

He is the author of Liberty for Latin America and co-author of Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot.


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News Date
“The Tyranny of Che” The Che Guevara Myth by Sr. Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa is reviewed in Front Page Magazine Tue., May. 12, 2015


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