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Dublin: 4 °C Wednesday 13 November, 2019
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Congresswoman urges Kenny to block Galway Guevara statue

Enda Kenny is presented with a letter from the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs committee.

Enda Kenny presents Barack Obama with a bowl of shamrock in the White House yesterday, as vice-president Joe Biden watches.
Enda Kenny presents Barack Obama with a bowl of shamrock in the White House yesterday, as vice-president Joe Biden watches.
Image: Leslie E. Kossoff/LK Photos

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has been presented with a letter from the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives, urging him to intervene and stop a statue of Che Guevara being built in Galway.

Kenny was given the letter by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a longstanding congresswoman from Florida, in Washington DC yesterday evening.

The letter sees Ros-Lehtinan – the most senior Republican woman in the House, having been in congress since 1989 – outline her concerns regarding the plans from Galway City Council to build a statue of Guevara.

The plans emerged late last month when it was reported that the embassies of Cuba and Argentina, where Guevara was born, were set to offer financial help to build the statue in Galway, where some of Guevara’s ancestors had come from.

“Che Guevara was a mass murdered and human right abuser, whose campaign led to the murder of countless people throughout Cuba, under the Castro regime, and Latin America,” he said.

The romanticising image that this proposed monument portrays would serve to diminish the brutality that was committed by Che and the painful suffering endured by many Cuban-American families and his other victims far and wide.

The congresswoman continues that current difficulties in countries like Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela showed that democratic values continued to remain under assualt, and that building a statue to Guevara would be an affront in this regard.

“Erecting a monument to Che Guevara in Galway, or anywhere in Ireland, would serve as a horrific reminder of the brutality that was suffered under Che’s direction,” Ros-Lehtinen wrote.

“I respectfully request that your government honour the victims of Che and the Castro dictatorship by rejecting this proposal.”

The letter is written on paper carrying the letterhead of the bipartisan Foreign Affairs Committee, but does not indicate that it has the backing of that committee.

The congresswoman had previously outlined her opposition to the statue, but was criticised by local councillors in Galway who said the plans had been “blown out of all proportion”.

Read: Guevara monument would ‘shame the people of Galway and Ireland’ >

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Gavan Reilly

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