He’s already an overwhelming presence at college campuses and Occupy Wall Street rallies, but the United Nations is now giving the late communist revolutionary Che Guevara more opportunities to inspire violent proletarian uprisings.
The Washington Times reports that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) included “The Life and Works of Ernesto Che Guevara” in this year’s Memory of the World Register, a collection of globally significant literary documents with “outstanding universal value.”
Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen released a statement calling the designation “reprehensible” and “a microcosm of the existing problems within UNESCO today.”
“This decision is more than an insult to the families of those Cubans who were lined up and summarily executed by Che and his merciless cronies but it also serves as a direct contradiction to the UNESCO ideals of encouraging peace and universal respect for human rights,” she said.
Ros-Lehtinen is of Cuban descent and was born in Havana. Her family fled the Castro regime, of which Guevara was an important member, when she was eight years old.
Che Guevara was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary obsessed with the idea of uniting Latin America against the economic and political exploitation of the United States. In 1956, he travelled to Cuba with Fidel Castro, intent on starting a communist revolution against the Batista regime.
Guevara rose quickly through the ranks and became Castro’s second-in-command. When the war ended in 1958, he was responsible for “purging” anti-Communist dissidents from Cuban society. Hundreds of Cubans were lined up against prison walls and executed by firing squad, many by Che Guevara’s hand.
Guevara was himself executed by firing squad following his capture by the Bolivian military in 1967.
But his extensive collection of 431 manuscripts and 567 written documents lives on, and thanks to UNESCO are now enshrined in our collective human memory.
Among them is a quotation from “The Motorcycle Diaries,” a recounting of Guevara’s trip through South and Central America in the early 1950s.
“My nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood,” he wrote. “Crazy with fury I will stain my rifle red while slaughtering any vencido [surrendered one] that falls in my hands! With the death of my enemies I prepare my being for the sacred fight and join the triumphant proletariat with a bestial howl!”
It’s unclear whether UNESCO considered this passage in its final decision.
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