Thursday, January 12, 2012

Use of Che Guevara photo in Mercedes-Benz presentation causes stir

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.
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.
Many Cuban exiles in South Florida who have fled the island since Fidel Castro took power with the help of Guevara in 1959 not only rejected the ad campaign but also expressed disgust that such a prestigious company would use the image of the revolutionary blamed for executions and implementation of communism on the island.
Among those denouncing the glorification of Guevara was a Cuban-American from Miami who helped track down Guevara in Bolivia before his execution in 1967.
Felix Rodriguez, one of three Cuban exiles recruited by the CIA to help Bolivian soldiers search for Guevara, said he had entered the Mercedes-Benz website to express his anger at the use of the guerrilla’s image.
In a comment he posted, Rodriguez said: “I know who Che Guevara was and he was a criminal, a murderer and a person who hated the United States of America.”
He said he has owned three Mercedes-Benz cars and planned to replace his current Mercedes. But because of the campaign, he will buy from another company.
“I’ll never buy a Mercedes-Benz again and I am telling my friends to do the same,” he said.
Rodriguez, who is now president of the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association, said other veterans of the failed invasion had also commented on Mercedes-Benz website and promised never again to buy a vehicle from the car maker.
“I do not understand how a company like Mercedes-Benz, which sells luxury cars, can use a figure of a man who preached class struggle ... who preached violence and bloodshed and wanted to do away with capitalism and establish socialism.”
Ninoska Perez Castellon, a member of the board of directors of the Cuban Freedom Council and a prominent radio commentator in Miami, echoed Rodriguez’s sentiments.
“It’s outrageous because ultimately, Che was a foreigner who came to Cuba to kill,” she said.
Perez said she had received many calls from Cubans who planned to send letters of protest to the company and publicly express their objections.
It all started on Tuesday when — during a presentation at the annual exhibition of electronic equipment known as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — a Daimler executive, Dieter Zetsche, appeared in front of a giant screen with a famous photo of Guevara sporting the iconic Mercedes-Benz logo in the center of his black beret.
The picture was an altered copy of a famous image of Guevara taken by Alberto Korda in which Guevara’s beret displays a star as a commander of the Cuban revolution.
“Some colleagues still think that car-sharing borders on communism,” Zetsche said, meaning to promote the company’s CarTogether application, which is designed to help ride-sharers find each other.
“But if that’s the case, viva la revolucion!” he said.
Late Thursday night, Daimler issued a statement apologizing for the use of the Guevara image and indicated that its use in Las Vegas does not mean that the company plans to adopt it in subsequent advertising campaigns.
In his keynote speech, Zetsche addressed the revolution in automobiles enabled by new technologies, in particular those associated with connectivity. To illustrate this point, the company briefly used a photo of Guevara (It was one of many images and videos in the presentation.).
“Daimler was not condoning the life or actions of this historical figure or the political philosophy he espoused. We sincerely apologize to those who took offense,” Daimler said in its apology

Miami Herald


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes you just gotta indulge your inner leftist tyrannical cult icon.

11:26 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

You think they held back the Hitler version, or is that coming out next issue

11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh get over it, the real issue is not that Che was a murderer - he was a soldier fighting for Latin America - its the audacity of using his image to sell rich people calls when he stood to help the poor.

10:20 PM  
Blogger madtom said...

Mercedes for everyone!!!

10:36 PM  

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