The Irish post office, An Post, will release a stamp commemorating Che Guevara 50 years after the Cuban communist was killed while trying, with no success, to export Castro’s revolution to Bolivia. The Irish government, through its Cabinet, approved this decision. The stamp will cost 1 Euro.
The Irish government seems enamored of Guevara, whose grandmother was the daughter of Irish immigrants who left for Argentina during the notorious famine. Earlier this year, it displayed a picture of him in the Miami airport as part of an exhibition about the contribution of people with links to Ireland in South America.
The picture drew harsh criticism from members of Miami’s Cuban-American population. It was quickly removed, and the Irish government apologized.
The government’s sentiment towards Guevara hasn’t changed, however. Thus, the commemorative stamp.
The fact that two of Guevara’s eight great-grandparents came from Galway seems like a thin basis for honoring him. The government’s admiration must be rooted not just in Guevara’s ancestry, but also in his revolutionary persona.
Such admiration is, of course, misplaced. The Irish Mirror reminds us:
Following the Cuban Revolution, Guevara was put in charge of La Cabaña prison where it is estimated that hundreds of POWs (Prisoners of War) were executed under his rule.
And that’s understating things. Jay Nordlinger laid out a more complete case against Guevara:
He was an Argentinian revolutionary who served as Castro’s primary thug. He was especially infamous for presiding over summary executions at La Cabana, the fortress that was his abattoir. He liked to administer the coup de grace, the bullet to the back of the neck. And he loved to parade people past El Paredon, the reddened wall against which so many innocents were killed.
Furthermore, he established the labor-camp system in which countless citizens–dissidents, democrats, artists, homosexuals–would suffer and die. This is the Cuban gulag. A Cuban-American writer, Humberto Fontova, described Guevara as “a combination of Beria and Himmler.” Anthony Daniels once quipped, “The difference between [Guevara] and Pol Pot was that [the former] never studied in Paris.”
Also, Pol Pot had no Irish ancestors.