Target won't use Che Guevara's image
Michael Vasquez the Miami Herald |
Posted December 26, 2006
MIAMI — In some circles, Che may live, but in Target stores, he's history.
Images of the communist revolutionary figure — his ears donned with an
iPod-esque set of earphones and splashed on the latest CD cases — have
been pulled from the shelves.
"The stores don't have pictures of Osama bin Laden or Adolf Hitler,"
said Miguel Saavedra, founder of the anti-Castro group Vigilia Mambisa.
"It's disrespectful to the Cuban community."
Miami's Cuban exile community collectively gasped at the use of Fidel
Castro's one-time right-hand man to sell music accessories, with
community leaders saying Guevara was one of history's brutal mass murderers.
Exiles weren't the only ones who angrily questioned Target's move to
cash in on Guevara's cult status in some circles, particularly
Investor's Business Daily lamented in an editorial earlier this month
that "all this reflects an indifference to history . . . he was a
psychopath with a central role in Cuba's 1961 mass executions. . . .
Guevara signed at least 600 death warrants and executed children against
firing squad walls; he was responsible for at least 2,000 deaths."
"We have made the decision to remove this item from our shelves," a
Target statement read. "It is never our intent to offend any of our
guests through the merchandise we carry and we sincerely apologize for
any discomfort this situation may have caused our guests."
Guevara, born in Argentina, began his young adulthood as a medical
student but soon abandoned that pursuit for the life of a hard-line
communist soldier. He played a key role in the communist takeover of
Cuba, earning the rank of comandante and Cuban citizenship for his
Guevara held a variety of high-ranking positions in the Cuban government
— during a stint as president of the National Bank of Cuba, currency on
the island was printed with the signature "Che" — and tried,
unsuccessfully, to foment communist rebellions in other nations. Guevara
was captured and executed in Bolivia in 1967 at age 39.
But his cult status among disaffected youth and others has endured —
with his reputation for brutality sometimes overlooked.