Those Che Guevara posters recently spotted in Obama's Houston campaign offices were not hung by a young volunteer who dug the cool looking dude's awesome guitar licks for the Smashing Pumpkins, nor by an older one who thought she remembered the groovy guy with the beret "hangin" with Wavy Gravy at Woodstock.
The campaign volunteer who hung the Che poster is named Maria Isabel (second photo above) and according to the Lone Star Times, she hung similar banners from her balcony at home. Apparently she's no "low-level" volunteer either. She serves as a campaign 'precinct captain" and the co-chair of the Houston Obama Leadership Team.
Most interestingly, she is a middle-aged woman who was born in Cuba and lived there as a child during a period when Che Guevara was Cuba's chief executioner and second in command. At the time Cuba had the highest political incarceration and execution rate on earth, far surpassing that of their Soviet mentors and suitors. Pictures have surfaced (see Babalu blog.com) of Maria Isabel at several Obama campaign functions; arm in arm with Barack, in a bear hug with Michelle Obama, and apparently, very heavily involved in the Obama campaign.
Naturally, regarding the Che banner incident, the Obama campaign had nothing to fear from the mainstream media, even though conservative sites and talk radio spread the story.
Finally, there emerged a formal disavowal, of sorts. "We were disappointed to see this picture," read the terse campaign statement, "because it is both offensive to many Cuban-Americans -- and Americans of all backgrounds -- and because it does not reflect Senator Obama's views." Not a hint that the campaign honchos or candidates themselves found Guevara "offensive."
Michelle Obama's recent speech at UCLA might provide a clue on the lame tone of the Obama campaign's response. In fact, her rhetoric rings with an express socialism that calls for a more perfect individual and champions Obama as a social redeemer:
We live in isolation, and because of that isolation, we fear one another... [Barack Obama] is going to demand that you shed your cynicism, that you put down your division, that you come out of your isolation.
... Barack Obama will require you to work....that you move out of your comfort zones, that you push yourselves to be better, and that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual - uninvolved, uninformed.
... We have to fix our souls - our souls are broken in this nation..We can change the world!!..We can!..We can!..We can!"
In "Socialism and Man in Cuba," which is widely regarded as his Magnum Opus, Che Guevara emphasized strikingly similar notes, calling for a complete individual who throws off his lack of knowledge to reach "total consciousness as a social being:"
The most important revolutionary aspiration is to see human beings liberated from their alienation. Lack of education makes (some) take the solitary road toward satisfying their own personal ambitions...
The mass will carry out with matchless enthusiasm and discipline the tasks set by the government, whether in the field of the economy, culture, defense, sports, etc..With ideological education the individual will reach total consciousness as a social being.
We must create a new consciousness, a New Man. We recognize the individual's quality of incompleteness, of being an unfinished product. The vestiges of the past are brought into the present in one's consciousness, and a continual labor is necessary to eradicate them.....Society as a whole must be converted into a gigantic school.
By many media accounts, the Obama campaign plans inroads into the traditionally and overwhelmingly Republican voting habits of Cuban-Americans. Apparently these Cuban-Americans must -- in the words of Michelle Obama -- "move out" of their Republican "comfort zones."
It seems, however, that Obama wants Cuban-Americans to move very far out of their comfort zones, indeed. Besides proposing to meet Raul Castro without pre-conditions as President, Obama also proposes to lift the limited U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. "Lifting the travel ban to Cuba would be a gift to the Castros," explained Cuban defector Alcibiades Hidalgo, who until 2002 served as Raul Castro's Chief of Staff.
Fidel Castro has already endorsed his dream ticket for 2008: Obama/Clinton. Nicaraguan Sandinista "leader" Daniel Ortega has also endorsed Obama. "(The U.S.) is laying the foundations for a revolutionary change," he predicted. So far, Obama indicates that he does plan a revolutionary change in regard to Cuba. And Michelle Obama's eerie depiction of her husband as a type of socialist strongman requiring the American people to work doesn't suggest that the Cuban people can expect that it will be change for the better.