The company that manufactures Mercedes-Benz luxury cars unleashed outrage among Cuban-Americans in Miami and other cities on Thursday for using the image of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara to promote their vehicles.
It reproduced a famous Alberto Korda photo of Guevara, the Argentine communist who spearheaded the revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power in Cuba. The photo became a symbol of communist revolutionary movements during the 1960s and ’70s.
While Daimler AG, the German company which controls Mercedes-Benz, quickly apologized for the use of the image in a presentation in Las Vegas this week, the damage was done.
‘Daimler was not condoning the life or actions of this historical figure or the political philosophy he espoused. We sincerely apologise to those who took offense.’
U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen released a statement condemning the use of the image, saying in part, “Obviously the creators of this ad have the wrong image of Che Guevara. El Che was a corrupt, bloodthirsty coward who killed countless innocent Cubans at the beginning of the Castro regime.”
Cuban-American activist Ernesto Ariel Suarez launched a Facebook page that reads: “Tell Mercedes-Benz that it is NOT OK to use the image of a mass murderer.
“The Heritage Foundation, a conservative political group, wrote a post entitled ‘Mercedes-Benz Uses Communist Madmen Che Guevara to Sell Luxury Cars.