Letter to Duke University President, Dr. Vincent Price from FACE regarding
Che Guevara Portrayed As “Heroic Guerrilla” at Duke University Museum Exhibition
June 5, 2019
Dr. Vincent Price
President of Duke University
Office of the President, Duke University
207 Allen Building • Boz 90001
Durham, North Carolina 277080001
Dear President Price:
On behalf of FACE (Facts About Cuban Exiles, facecuba.org), an organization founded 37 years ago to
defend the reputation of Cuban exiles and tell the true story of our community, I write to you regarding the
exhibition at Duke University’s Nasher Museum, which gives positive recognition to Che Guevara. Portraits
such as the one of Guevara, entitled “Day of the Heroic Guerilla,” help preserve the false image of Guevara
as a “liberator” and pure idealist. There is another side to the “Day of the Heroic Guerilla,” and we at FACE
are eager to tell it.
This exhibition was brought to our attention by Victor Diaz, an alumnus and Valedictorian of the Class of
1982. The Nasher Museum, its website, and Duke Magazine’s Winter 2018 edition are glamorizing the image
of violent people who hated this nation. In particular, FACE considers this inaccurate and idealized
presentation of Che Guevara to be an attack on the good name and true history of Cuban exiles and on each
of us as victims of a regime that has been in power for more than 60 years and to whose cruelty and injustices
Guevara actively contributed.
While FACE recognizes that Duke University, a highly respected institution, has every right to exhibit
whatever it chooses, your museum does not have the right to rewrite history and distort the truth. The images
of Che Guevara and two images of Fidel Castro currently on display at the Nasher distort history and the
words accompanying the exhibition catalogue link Che Guevara with “liberating America,” referring to his
death in “tragic circumstances”.
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans and Cuban Americans were victims of Che Guevara’s brutal policies,
tortures and killings without due process. Che Guevara’s own words condemn him: “A revolutionary must
become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.” For documentation on the executions he ordered
without respect for due process, please click on
interiorpages_en_final.pdf. The Cuba Archives include list of victims on pp. 2529 and a bibliography of sources.
As I am sure that you will agree, a revolution cannot grant carte blanche for violations of human and civil
rights. If General George Washington or General Robert E. Lee had ordered summary executions without due
process, then they would face the judgment of history. Yet, that is exactly what Fidel Castro and Che Guevara
ordered once their revolution had triumphed in Cuba.
By the way, among the first victims of Guevara and Castro were University of Havana students who faced
the firing squad in summary trials and the abolition of the cherished autonomy of the university. In addition,
Marxism was instituted as the single, obligatory and guiding philosophy for the university and for all
educational institutions which then became state run, with no private, parochial or religious schools allowed
to this day, sixty years later.
We are confident that you will agree that Duke University and its museum staff, as well as visitors to the
exhibit, will benefit from gaining a greater understanding of the atrocities committed by Che Guevara and
Fidel Castro. Therefore, we hope that you will share this letter and your views with Dr. Sarah Schroth, the
director of the Nasher Museum. We are sure that you are both willing to listen and learn about our history
and the impact that such inaccurate portraits of brutal leaders would have on Cuban exiles and other victims
of a 60+year old dictatorship.
FACE would like to supply documented materials to the university, the museum and the magazine to offer
visitors a balanced presentation of the historic events that continue to impact the Americas and the world. For
example, we would like you and your colleagues, to receive and include in your library and bookstore
Cubans: an Epic Journey, the Struggle of Exiles for Truth and Freedom. The book’s index will guide you to
Che Guevara and other revolutionaries who dismantled a dictatorship promised democracy, and, instead,
installed “the dictatorship of the proletariat,” a proletariat that has been escaping Cuba for sixty years,
becoming our community the Cuban exiles of today.
FACE can suggest speakers who can provide the true story, based on academic documentation, about the
Cuban revolution and its leaders. We also hope that FACE will have the opportunity to submit an article
about the true nature of Che Guevara and documents that back up our assertions. In addition, we ask that
Duke Magazine publish our letter and other letters from people of Cuban descent, featuring their personal
stories and how the Che Guevara and Castro regime impacted their lives.
Please feel free to contact us for additional information: .
Aida T. Levitan, Ph.D.
Chair of FACE