I would have just commented at the Grauniad's site but as is traditional they are furiously censoring criticism of Milne but instead I'll do a partial fisking here.
On 9 October 1967, Che Guevara faced a shaking sergeant Mario Teran, ordered to murder him by the Bolivian president and CIA, and declared: "Shoot, coward, you're only going to kill a man." The climax of Stephen Soderbergh's two-part epic, Che, in real life this final act of heroic defiance marked the defeat of multiple attempts to spread the Cuban revolution to the rest of Latin America.Actually his last words were "Don't shoot. I am Che Guevara. I am worth more to you alive than dead"
But 40 years later, the long-retired executioner, now a reviled old manReviled by whom? Certainly not the Bolivian peasants who were only too glad to help get rid of the T-Shirt salesman.
Teran was treated as part of a programme which has seen 1.4 million free eye operations carried out by Cuban doctors in 33 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. It is an emblem both of the humanity of Fidel Castro and Guevara's legacy, but also of the transformation of Latin America which has made such extraordinary co-operation possible.You know if I wanted to highlight the "humanity of Fidel Castro" I'd keep quiet about his involvement in Africa.
The seeds of this Latin American rebirth were sown half a century ago in Cuba. But it is also more directly rooted in the region's disastrous experience of neoliberalism, first implemented by the bloody Pinochet regime in the 1970sThe Pinochet regime was bloody, although considerably less so than Castro's regime. Secondly if 'neoliberalism' is so disastrous how come Chile is so much wealthier than the rest of Latin America now? Back in the 1950s Cuba was richer than Chile so if you want to compare their current status we can see which philosophy works best.
Cuba, famous for first world health and education standards - with better infant mortality rates than the US - in an economically blockaded developing country.Cuba's literacy rates and infant mortality figures were always very good long before the arrival of Castro. In fact before Castro Cuba's infant mortality figures were the 12th best in the world compared to around 30th best today. Does Shameless want to guess as to who established Cuba's education system?
Less well known is the country's success in diversifying its economy since the collapse of the Soviet UnionThat's a nice euphemism for promoting child sex tourism.
I must admit I'm a little bit surprised that Seamus Milne is such a avid fan of 'Che'. What on earth can he see to admire in an over privileged and somewhat dim radical who used the poor as an excuse for promoting his extremist ideas....