Barack Obama is the first President to visit the communist dictatorship of Cuba in 88 years.

He does so under extreme controversy, given that the Castro brothers still rule the island nation with an authoritarian grip.

After Obama's arrival, he participated in a wreath-laying ceremony in Revolution Square, the site of large Communist Party rallies. The Square is also flanked by enormous “heroes” of the bloody Cuban Revolution.

One of those massive, building-sized iron murals is of Che Guevara.

obama in cuba
Getty Images

The distinct history of U.S. Presidents taking photos beside dictators from other countries makes this photo is no less troubling.

Here is an historical account of why the White House should not have allowed this photograph to be taken.

1. Che Guevara was a mass murderer.

Industry Minister of Cuba Ernesto Che Guevara poses in january 1965. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read -/AFP/GettyImages)
AFP/Getty Images

There are well-documented descriptions of Che's horrific murder sprees, the victims of which include young children. However, it may be easier to describe his lust toward violence and murder using his own words:

Hatred is the central element of our struggle! Hatred that is intransigent...hatred so violent that it propels a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him violent and cold- blooded killing machine...We reject any peaceful approach. Violence is inevitable. To establish Socialism rivers of blood must flow! The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves. Thus we’ll destroy him! These hyenas are fit only for extermination.

Che coldly described one of his killings in his own diary:

In January 1957, as his diary from the Sierra Maestra indicates, Guevara shot Eutimio Guerra because he suspected him of passing on information: “I ended the problem with a .32 caliber pistol, in the right side of his brain.... His belongings were now mine.”

SOURCE: Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Senior Fellow at The Center on Global Prosperity

2. Che Guevara ran concentration camps that targeted gays and racial minorities.

HAVANA, CUBA - JANUARY 1: Picture taken in the early 60's of the Cuban Revolution leader, Fidel Castro (L), and First Secretary of the Communist Party Che Guevara during a meeting in Havana. (Photo credit should read STF/AFP/Getty Images)
STF/AFP/Getty Images

In the early years of the Cuban Revolution, Castro put Che in charge of “labor camps,” which morphed into full-fledged concentration camps.

From 1959 to 1960, the new government carried out summary executions of at least 1,118 people by firing squad. Che Guevara himself presided over the notorious La Cabaña prison, where hundreds of the executions took place. The Cuban revolution under the direction of Guevara also saw the rise of forced labor camps which gave way a few years later to full-scale concentration camps. These were filled with dissidents, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Afro-Cuban priests, and anyone else who had committed “crimes” against the new moral revolution.

SOURCE: Thor Halvorssen, President of the Human Rights Foundation, writing in the Huffington Post

Later concentration camps in Cuba were modeled after Che's original plan. Here is one historian's description of Che's model:

[Che's] camp was the precursor to the eventual systematic confinement... of dissidents, homosexuals, AIDS victims, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Afro-Cuban priests, and other such scum, under the banner of Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción, or Military Units to Help Production. Herded into buses and trucks, the “unfit” would be transported at gunpoint into concentration camps organized on the Guanahacabibes mold. Some would never return; others would be raped, beaten, or mutilated; and most would be traumatized for life.

SOURCE: Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Senior Fellow at The Center on Global Prosperity

3. Che Guevara wanted to nuke the United States during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This 1962 photo shows Argentine-born legendary revolutionary figure Ernesto "Che" Guevara (R) greeting Nikita Khrushchev (L), leader of the then-Soviet Union in Havana, Cuba. Guevara reportedly said in his writings that he did not share the economic views of Khrushchev. The remains of Guevara, which were recently found among seven bodies in a communal grave in southeastern Bolivia where he had been captured and executed 09 October 1967, will be received by Cuba with full military honors and buried in a special mausoleum in the town of Santa Clara, 301 kms (186 miles) east of Havana. (B/W only) AFP PHOTO/CONSEJO ESTADO (Photo credit should read AGENCIA ESTADO/AFP/Getty Images)

During the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Guevara favored engaging in nuclear war to “build a better world.” After the crisis was averted he lamented Soviet inaction, stating that if the missiles had been under Cuban control, he would have fired them. “If the rockets had remained, we would have used them all and directed them against the very heart of the United States, including New York, in our defense against aggression.”

In his own words, Che was enamored with making the West “atomic victims” of socialism.

“We must keep our hatred alive and fan it to paroxysm! The victory of Socialism is well worth millions of atomic victims!”

SOURCE: Thor Halvorssen, President of the Human Rights Foundation, writing in the Huffington Post

4. According to historians, Che Guevara wanted to commit acts of mass terror that would have killed countless Americans.

(FILES) This August 1959 file photo shows Cuban revolutionary legends Comandante Camilo Cienfuegos (L) and Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara in Havana. Cubans celebrated this October the 38th anniversary of Camilo's death and the 30th anniversary of Guevara's death. Camilo died in a plane crash 28 October 1959 during a military mission and Guevara was executed in Bolivia 08 October 1967. AFP PHOTO/FILES/B&W ONLY (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Castro’s agents had targeted Macy’s, Gimbels, Bloomingdales, and Manhattan’s Grand Central Station with a dozen incendiary devices and 500 kilos of TNT. The holocaust was set for detonation the following week, on the day after Thanksgiving.

A little perspective: For their March 2004 Madrid subway blasts, all 10 of them, that killed and maimed almost 2,000 people, al-Qaeda used a grand total of 100 kilos of TNT. Castro and Che’s agents planned to set off five times that explosive power in the three biggest department stores on earth, all packed to suffocation and pulsing with holiday cheer on the year’s biggest shopping day. Macy’s get’s 50,000 shoppers that one day. Thousands of New Yorkers, including women and children—actually, given the date and targets, probably mostly women and children—were to be incinerated and entombed.

SOURCE: Humberto Fontova, Cuban historian and author.

5. Che Guevara hated America & Freedom.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY: A demonstrator holding a red flag near a poster of Ernesto Che Guevara protest against war and terrorism to mark the one year anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, at Taksim square in Istambul. Some 1000 demonstrators gathered to protest against the U.S occupation in Iraq and the Nato meeting which will be held in Istanbul next June 2004. AFP PHOTO/Mustafa Ozer (Photo credit should read MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images)

Che, describing Cuba's true enemy in a speech:

“Our enemy, and the enemy of all America, is the monopolistic government of the United States of America.”

- Che Guevara, 1960


Che, delivering directives to soldiers in Havana:

“Youth must refrain from ungrateful questioning of governmental mandates...instead they must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service...Instead they must dedicate themselves to study, work and military service.”

- Che Guevara, 1962

SOURCE: American Thinker

One scholar and historian describing Che's greater worldview:

At every stage of his adult life, his megalomania manifested itself in the predatory urge to take over other people’s lives and property, and to abolish their free will.

SOURCE: Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Senior Fellow at The Center on Global Prosperity

STR/AFP/Getty Images

In these times of uncertainty and barbaric terror, it's important to be cognizant of the images we align ourselves with as a country.

Editor's Note: This article and headline were updated after publishing.

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