Claim stamp marking Guevara death ‘totally objectionable’

Fine Gael Senator asks An Post if Pol Pot and Ceausescu also acceptable for special stamps

The €1 stamp features a famous image of Guevara, a leading figure in the Cuban revolution, by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick.

The €1 stamp features a famous image of Guevara, a leading figure in the Cuban revolution, by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick.

 

A Fine Gael Senator has said a decision by An Post to commission a new stamp commemorating revolutionary Che Guevara is “totally objectionable”.

Neale Richmond has written to Minister for Communications Denis Naughten asking for an explanation behind the “terrible” decision to commission a stamp to mark the 50th anniversary of Guevara’s death, on October 9th, 1967.

He asked if Pol Pot, the communist Khmer Rouge leader in Cambodia, and Romania’s Nicolae Ceausescu, would also be acceptable for special stamps.

The €1 stamp features a famous image of Guevara, a leading figure in the Cuban revolution, by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick. Born in Argentina, Guevara helped Fidel Castro overthrow the US-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista.

His father was Ernesto Guevara Lynch, a civil engineer of Irish descent.

A quote from Ernesto, “in my son’s veins flowed the blood of Irish rebels”, features on a cover envelope to accompany the stamp.

‘Inappropriate move’

Mr Richmond said that while he was aware that the image was by an Irishman and that it was intended to mark the 50th anniversary of Guevara’s death, “I feel that putting him on an Irish stamp is an inappropriate move.”

In his letter to Mr Naughten, he queried “what procedures were followed to decide to commission this stamp”.

“Although Che Guevara seems now to be classed as a romantic revolutionary figure and that some of his political ideals might be shared by some in this country, it is my belief that he is most definitely not a suitable candidate for such an honour,” the letter from the Senator, who is based in the Dublin Rathdown constituency, said.

“Minister, as you will be aware, Che Guevara was a violent revolutionary whose legacy has been greatly glossed over. While I do not dispute that the Batista regime that ruled Cuba prior to the violent revolution was deplorable, what came after and the actions of Guevara where equally as heinous.

“Guevara’s role as head of the notorious La Cabaña prison in Havana merits particular attention given his role as a barbaric interrogator, jailer and executioner of hundreds of supposed ‘class enemies’.”

Mr Richmond said Mr Naughten had told him he will revert to him with further information, and that the Minister said the stamp was signed off on in 2015.