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Some Cubans are outraged with Ireland's 'offensive' Che Guevara stamp

The 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolutionary’s death has been honoured with a commemorative stamp today.

Image: An Post

THE GOVERNMENT AND An Post are coming under fire for a commemorative stamp of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.

The stamp, which features the famous artwork of Guevara by Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, is released today on the 50th anniversary of Guevara’s death.

Guevara assisted Fidel Castro in overturning the Cuban government in the late 1950s, and then held key political offices during Castro’s regime.

Although supporters see Guevara as an example of nationalism, revolution and self-sacrifice, his critics have labelled him a brutal and cruel killer.

Speaking on Morning Ireland today, Cuban-American journalist Ninoska Perez said that many Cubans who contacted her radio show on Miami 710 AM were incensed by the “offensive” stamp design.

“It doesn’t matter that it’s an image created by an artist, it’s the image of a murderer,” she said.

And to me it’s really shameful that Ireland would put the image of someone who was a foreigner, went to Cuba to kill… was a failure in everything he did. So I don’t know what’s there to honour about Che Guevara.

Lately there has been an increased awareness of how nations remember figures from the past, most famously in Charlottesville, where statues of Confederate leaders were removed, which in turn led to protests and counter-protests.

Three weeks ago, an image of Che Guevara was removed from a Miami Airport poster that celebrated famous figures with Irish ancestry. According to Perez, the poster was removed because “it was offensive to the families of so many victims of Che Guevara”.

Every time that I see someone with a t-shirt or that I see a country put his face on a stamp, I think what did he do to deserve this? What have been his achievements?

She said that the idea of Che Guevara as an iconic figure of freedom and nationalism was “just a propaganda myth that has been created by communism”.

I would love to see that stamp abolished… What does Ireland think it is doing by putting Che Guevara on a stamp?

According to the Irish Times, Fine Gael Senator Neale Richmond has written to Minister for Communications Denis Naughten asking for an explanation as to why the stamp was commissioned.

The Department of Communications told RTÉ that the “subject matter for stamp designs are presented to government in advance. This particular subject matter was submitted and approved in December 2015 as per normal procedures.

Read: An Post marks Che Guevara’s 50th anniversary with new commemorative stamp

Read: An Post stamp marks 50th anniversary of free secondary education

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