If people that have died have some type of portal into the everyday world and can see what is going on, then Che Guevara is spinning in his grave faster than the Tilt-a-Whirl at the Iowa State Fair.
Aleida Guevara, Che’s eldest daughter by his second marriage, spoke last night at the Armenian Cultural Center in Buenos Aires. Since I’m a life long fan of Che’s, Ale made arrangements for us to go and to hear Aleida and meet her afterwards.
I was so disgusted with her that I didn’t even stick around until the end of the program and I never even took the camera out of the bag.
Let me explain.
The event was scheduled to start at 7:30pm. I knew that wasn’t going to happen, this is Argentina.
At eight o’clock Aleid finally appeared — she hadn’t even been in the building until then. The audience gave her a standing ovation and I couldn’t figure out for what…maybe it was because she had finally shown up.
Was this Jesus Christ entering the room? Had Elivs decided to make an appearance? Or was it another example of how easily led and misguided many Argentines can be.
Sure, this was Che’s daughter but other than an accident of birth she hadn’t done anything to deserve a standing ovation — she had just shown up. Maybe THAT explains the standing ovation, she finally got there.
Then a 45 minute slide show started. FORTY-FIVE MINUTES. With some of the worst photographs and images that I’ve ever seen. Unfocused, blurry and images at weird angles destroyed any effort at story telling.
The story this lopsided slide show gave? Alieida working with children. Aleida smiling with adults. Aleida standing infront of the Obelisk. It was all Alieda. All the time.
In between Aleida’s “What I did on my summer vacation” slideshow, were images of the “mercy medical missions” which Alieda “bravely” — yeah, that word was used by the master of ceremonies to describe her trips — undertook.
It was now a quarter to nine and the worst hadn’t even started.
Aleida spent the next hour and a half talking about, well, Aleida. With the fervor of Ron Popeil the pocket fisherman guy, she kept talking about what a great work SHE was doing. It was such a show of hucksterism that I thought she was going to break her monologue with,
“But wait…if you buy now, you’ll also receive…” If you’re in America and reading this, you know the rest of the story.
And if you’re not in America and don’t understand the analogy, I envy you.
Peppered throughout her talk were dashes of comments about her famous father. She seasoned her monologue with antedoes about him like trying to put seasoning on last year’s Thanksgiving Turkey…it just won’t make the unbearable — well, bearable.
If I were trying to describe Aleida on a continuum it would look something like this.
Cindy Sheehan, the mother who camped outside Bush’s Texas White House is on one end of the line. Riding the name of her slain son — Casey was killed in Iraq — Sheehan has traveled the world hawking the cause of anyone to whom she could prostitute herself. Filled with her own sense of self-importance, Sheehan has become a caricature of herself and is the darling only to the deluded guys who make up VFP099 in Asheville, NC.
On the other end of the spectrum is Caroline Kennedy. Kennedys father too was killed and some would say he was a martyr like Che.
Kennedy has supported, founded and funded many organizations around the globe that work with poverty, disease and third world conditions, yet Kennedy has never exploited her father’s name to further herself or her causes. A class act.
Aleida checks in on the Cindy Sheehan end of the line. She was so much like Sheehan that I halfway expected Aleida to stop, pull off a rubber mask and reveal that she was actually the red-headed self-promoter from California.
At ten o’clock, Ale and I felt we had enough. Looking at each other we motioned towards the door and left.
In the background as we walked back into the chilly Argentine spring, we could still hear Aleida droning on and it sounded strangely look the adult “voices” in Charlie Brown’s Christmas.
I hope Che gets to stop spinning soon.’
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Jerry Nelson is an American freelance photojournalist. When not traveling, he can be found on the streets of Buenos Aires as Lead Photographer for BuenosTours, the largest private tour company in South America. Connect with Jerry on MosaicHub, Facebook or LinkedIn today. Have a story that needs to reach national media? Email him today.
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