24 September 2007

Anyone gets to be a supernatural entity these days

Some gloating jackal-like parasites are fond of saying that the resonance of Ché Guevara has become nothing since his face is now a meaningless icon of "cool", useful only to sell T-shirts to idiots. Think again.

By night in the main square of the dusty town of Vallegrande, the only sound is the buzz of prayer coming from the church. Inside, devoted Catholics sit and stand around the image of Our Lord of Malta - the only black Christ in Latin America, brought to this Bolivian town during the Spanish conquest.

But this is not the only foreign element of devotion. Father Agustin, the Polish priest, reads out prayers written down by local people: "For my mother who is sick, I pray to the Lord and ... ", hesitantly, "to Saint Ernesto, to the soul of Che Guevara."

"Saint Ernesto," the parishioners murmur in response.

It was here in Vallegrande, 40 years ago, that the corpse of Ernesto "Che" Guevara lay on display, eyes open, in the hospital laundry. And it is here that his unofficial sainthood is becoming firmly established.

"For them, he is just like any other saint," Agustin says ruefully.

On a bench in the square, Freddy Vallejos, 27, says: "We have a faith, a confidence in Che. When I go to bed and when I wake up, I first pray to God and then I pray to Che - and then, everything is all right."

Chaos Marxism still thinks it was bloody stupid for Che to go to the peasants rather than the tin miners in Bolivia, but that's irrelevant to the issue at hand. The historical Jesus of Nazareth is only tangentially related to Christ the Lord - I'm not sure how much Ernesto Guevara has to do with Saint Che. I'm not going to argue with someone who answers prayers and performs miracles. Especially since his mate Fidel is in good with the Santería spirits, by all accounts.