Irish Che Guevara artist welcomes controversial stamp

Jim Fitzpatrick says it was ‘honour’ to produce image and praises An Post decision

 The iconic image of Che Guevera which Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick produced a year  after  the revolutionary’s death in 1968

The iconic image of Che Guevera which Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick produced a year after the revolutionary’s death in 1968

 

The Irish artist who produced the image of Che Guevara which has now turned up on an An Post stamp said he is proud of the development.

Many Cuban-Americans have expressed outrage that the Government has sanctioned a stamp of a man they regard as a mass murderer.

Many Cuban exiles hold him responsible for the execution of hundreds of prisoners after Fidel Castro overturned the Batista government in January 1959.

Castro is known as the Butcher of La Cabaña, the prison where the opponents of Fidel Castro’s government were taken after the revolution.

Guevera died 50 years ago this week in an ambush in Bolivia. Jim Fitzpatrick produced the iconic image of Guevera a year after the revolutionary’s death in 1968 from a photograph taken by Alberto Kordo. It became one of the most famous images of the 1960s.

Mr Fitzpatrick said it was an honour to produce the original image and “extraordinary” that An Post had decided to use it on a stamp.

Exaggerated

He said his views on Guevera have never changed in the 50 years since his death despite the “black propaganda which is out there about him”.

He told RTÉ News that the numbers allegedly executed in La Cabaña prison were exaggerated and had to be seen in the context of the viciousness of a revolution and civil war.

Mr Fitzpatrick maintained Guevera condemned not just United States imperialism but also Soviet imperialism and lost his job as the governor of the Cuban central bank as a result.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: “He gave it all up to fight for poor and the dispossessed in the poorest part of Latin America where he had no support. The Communist Party refused to support him.”

Asked about the controversy over Guevara appearing on an An Post stamp, President Michael D Higgins said on a State visit to Australia: “I think it is a very, very good discussion if people would discuss Latin America. Every time we have a debate about Latin America it helps understand.”