A week after the company that manufactures Mercedes-Benz luxury cars apologized for a marketing campaign that used the image of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara, company officials met with Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart and other members of Congress on Capitol Hill.
The marketing campaign unleashed outrage among Cuban-Americans in Miami and other cities last week for using Guevera's image to promote their vehicles.
The company drew fire for a presentation during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. During the presentation, 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.
Diaz-Balart sent a letter to Zetsche saying that the company's apology "clearly indicates that Mercedes-Benz yet fails to realize the magnitude of the pain -– beyond mere 'offense' -- that the mistake has caused."
"Any effect that your marketing scheme may have in elevating the grossly undeserving 'Che' Guevara as an icon of popular culture is an affront to his victims, whose lives he so ruthlessly extinguished, their families, and the millions of Cubans who still suffer under the effects of his despicable acts. Trotting out the image of that odious executioner for something as trite as an advertising plan does a tremendous disservice to the truth of who 'Che' Guevara was and the evil that he represents."Company officiwithal so met with Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Albio Sires, and David Rivera.
Daimler apologized, saying the company "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."