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REVOLTING; US government demands Kenny halts plans for Guevara statue.

Byline: TOM PRENDEVILLE

THE US has written to the Taoiseach demanding he scrap plans to put up a statue of Che Guevara.

The high-powered Committee on Foreign Affairs has waded in on the row over Galway City Council's plans to build a tribute to the revolutionary.

The letter to Enda Kenny asks him to intervene directly to block the proposal, claiming it would be a "horrific reminder of the brutality that was suffered under Che's direction".

The US House of Representatives chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wrote: "Dear Taoiseach Kenny, I am writing to express my concern di th o o l b th Cit Co regarding the proposal by the City Council of Galway to build a monument in honour of Ernesto "Che" Guevara and respectfully request that the government of Ireland render its support to and honour the enslaved Cuban people who seek to be free from the dictatorship that Che helped to impose upon them.

"Che was a mass murderer and human rights abuser, whose campaigns led to the murder of countless people throughout Cuba, under the Castro regime, and Latin America.

"The romanticising image this proposed monument portrays would serve to diminish the brutality committed by Che and the painful suffering endured by many Cuban-American families and his other victims.

"I respectfully request your government honour the victims of Che and the Castro dictatorship by rejecting the proposal."

The intervention by the US comes days after the Taoiseach returned from an important St Patrick's Day visit Stateside. And as he battled to promote the stance that "Ireland is open for business", this controversy will come as an unwelcome distraction.

Last month, Galway City Council sparked anger when it announced plans to erect the statue of the Marxist guerrilla who helped Fidel Castro to power in Cuba in 1959.

Their motive is Che's granny, who was a Lynch, came from the city.

Businessman Declan Ganley warned the project "will damage the reputation of Galway internationally".

But it was recently revealed the Argentine and Cuban embassies plan to start a global fundraising campaign to pay for the EUR90,000 monument.

Guerrilla who fought for Cuba

CHE Guevara was an Argentinean-born, Cuban revolutionary who became a left-wing hero.

In 1954, he went to Mexico and the following year he played a key role in Fidel Castro's guerrilla war.

After leaving Cuba in 1965, Guevara was captured and killed by the Bolivian army in October 1967.

CAPTION(S):

LETTER* Call for the statue of Che, right, to be scrapped
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 24, 2012
Words:417
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