Sunday 15 July 2018

Putting a stamp on our Latin-American links

An Post's Guevara stamp marks a longer line of Irish revolutionaries active in South America, writes Tim Fanning

Stamped: The ‘tyrannical’ Bernardo O’Higgins
Stamped: The ‘tyrannical’ Bernardo O’Higgins

Tim Fanning

During a recent visit to Miami, I had the pleasure of visiting Little Havana, the barrio in which thousands of Cuban exiles from the Communist revolution settled in the 1960s. On Calle Ocho, Little Havana's main drag, stands a memorial to the martyrs of the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban soldiers who died taking part in the failed CIA-backed invasion of the island in 1961.

The Cuban community's hatred for the Communists is palpable and understandable. Many residents hold the Castro brothers and Che Guevara personally responsible for the deaths of family members. My mere mention of Raul Castro's name in a popular Little Havana restaurant was enough to earn me a rebuke from my dining companions.

So it is unsurprising that An Post's decision to use Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick's celebrated image of Che Guevara on its latest stamp angered Cuban-Americans last week. At home, the Argentinian revolutionary was ludicrously compared to Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot.

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