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  • GMU Che FlyerBy Gabriella Morrongiello

    At the recommendation of a current professor, George Mason University hosted feminist, poet and social justice activist Margaret Randall on campus Monday for a presentation and signing of her latest book, "Che on My Mind" and some students weren't too eager to grab a copy.

    As Randall discussed "the inspiration and lessons" social justice activists and freedom fighters can learn from Che, about 10 students gathered outside the event's location to honor those murdered by him in a candlelight vigil.

    "Once this event came up we looked at it as the last straw and it was really embarrassing that it was happening at our university," said Anthony Travieso, a senior majoring in economics, government and international politics who helped organize the vigil.

    Travieso and his friend Daniel Pedreira , who's a graduate student at GMU, are both Cuban-Americans and were deeply upset with the University's ongoing promotion of programs and guest speakers that encourage travel and trade with Cuba.

    "Both Daniel and I are Cuban Americans and my grandparents and his parents left the island during the communist revolution and our families were affected by what Che Guevara did. The University has been having a lot of programs and guest speakers that promote travel and trade with the island [Cuba] and we disagree with that," Travieso said. "We had this guest speaker who was trying to vindicate him [Guevara] and she knew him and his family personally and so I think even she knew the truth."

    The truth being that Che was a Marxist guerilla fighter who murdered dissenters of his revolution without hesitation or a fair trial. Furthermore, he viciously opposed freedom of speech, religion, protest and assembly and is often referred to by the Cuban Exile community as "the Butcher of La Cubaña."

    Nonetheless, GMU's Latin American, Women and Gender, and Cultural Studies departments joined by the University Life, Office of the Provost and Global Affairs Department agreed to sponsor Randall's lecture series about the "inspiration and lessons that Che's struggles might offer early twenty-first-century social justice activists and freedom fighters" and described her as "deeply admiring of Che's integrity and charisma and frank about what she sees as his strategic errors," according the University's Global Affairs website.

    Travieso estimated a crowd of 70 professors and students attended Randall's lecture while he, Pedreira and their friends braved the cold honoring Che's victims rather than Che. The two young men also carried YAF posters portraying the iconic portrait of Che that's been printed on t-shirts and hung in college dorm rooms- on these posters however, Che's face is illustrated using those of his victims.

    When asked if the University had considered the potential for controversy prior to hosting Randall, a spokesperson for the Women and Gender Studies department - who donated money to help sponsor the event - declined to comment.

    "No we did not," added Jason King, a program assistant for GMU's Global Interdisciplinary Program.

    Gabriella Morrongiello is a recent graduate of Young America's Foundation's National Journalism Center. 

    • Readers' Comments

    • 1. University Campus ought to be where free and open intercourse can take place. The verbal kind. 2. That particularly includes the opportunity to hear "the other side" else your school is an indoctrination center. 3. Candlelight vigils make the participants feel good about how much they care. Leftists do them frequently so they can feel superior.
      Posted by shatto on 10/25/2013
    • Good for you, Young America's Foundation (YAF)! Keep speaking and sharing truth, and you'll never go wrong. The Left has driven the false narrative of honoring this Marxist thug, Che for too long and it is way past time that truth be spoken to this issue that oddly is allowed on too many of America's college campuses that should be centers for freedom of expression and freedom of speech, but have frequently tolerated anything but conservative ideas and truths, with little or no toleration for conservative or Christian worldview ideas or expression, and most frequently, in contrast, conservative ideas and truths have been hushed up and downright forbidden!
      Posted by Judy Doorn on 10/25/2013
    • I run a house flipping business and had a young hispanic laborer, who's father has been one of my carpenters for 4 years, show up on my jobsite with a Che T-Shirt on. I asked him if he liked having a job that paid him $22/hour when he was only 19 years old with no h.s. diploma? He said " Yes. mam" Then why are you wearing a shirt that glorifies a communist murderering piece of S#$* of hispanic people in cuba who would never have allowed you to choose to work for me in a private business or to go to the Catholic church I see you at on Sundays? His answer was stunning in it's ignorance " It's my right to wear whatever I want" Bye-Bye Ricky....hope you find another job, son.
      Posted by one among many patriots on 10/26/2013
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