The long arm of Cuban politics reached across the ocean this week to Galway, Ireland, where the city council is considering a monument to Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara.
Please reconsider, said Miami's Cuban-American lawmakers in Congress, including Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, the chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
"The romanticizing image that this monument would portray would serve to diminish the brutality that was committed by Che and the painful suffering endured by many Cuban-American families and his other victims far and wide," she said. "Che Guevara was a ruthless killer who should not be idealized. Instead of honoring a killer, the City Council of Galway should honor the victims of Che and the Castro dictatorship by rejecting this proposal."
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami, called Guevara a "merciless executioner who reveled in the murder of men, women and children in cold blood."
"Galway is a city where people have the right to vote, the right to worship freely, the right to speak freely, and access a free press -- all of which "Che" Guevara and his murderous associate, dictator Fidel Castro, ruthlessly suppressed," Diaz-Balart said. "Having a memorial to this cruel assassin is a shameful affront to the thousands of Cubans he murdered and utterly ignores the truth of who "Che" Guevara actually was."
The Irish Times reported this week that the proposal has the full support of Galway's city council, and is currently before a public arts subcommittee. The Cuban and Argentinian embassies will pay for the project, the Times reported.
"It's not going to cost a red cent to the taxpayers of Galway city or the nation," Galway City Councillor Billy Cameron told another Irish newspaper.
Guevara's grandmother, Ana Lynch y Ortiz, was descended from one of the Lynch family of Galway who emigrated to Argentina in the mid-18th century, the Times reported. Guevara reported mentioned his grandmother's Irish roots during a stopover in Shannon in 1965.