The Irish post office, An Post, is to release a stamp immortalizing Che Guevara 50 years after his death at the hands of the Bolivian Army.
Long ago Irish artist Jim Fitzpartrick created the iconic image of Guevara with his trademark cap, shaggy hair and piercing gaze transposed onto a red background. Now for the first time it has been placed on a stamp.
The word ‘ÉIRE’, the Irish word for ‘Ireland’ declares the stamp’s origins for all who care to Google it and it costs one euro to buy.
The Argentine-born Che was brought up in a middle class home; he studied medicine but it was socialism that became his true passion.
As his comrade Fidel Castro later proclaimed, he was, “an artist of revolutionary warfare.”
He travelled to Cuba and fought alongside Castro and numerous others to overthrow the local dictator, Fulgencio Batista, in 1959.
He became a minister in the new government, writing a manual on guerrilla warfare on the side but his life was cut short on a fatal trip to Bolivia in 1967.
Although he had shaved his icon beard and dyed his hair grey he was recognised and summarily executed.
It’s not the first time the Irish state has sought to commemorate the revolutionary whose family left Ireland for Argentina in the mid-1700’s.
Earlier this year the Irish government issued an apology for displaying a picture of the revolutionary in Miami as part of an exhibition about the contribution of people with links to Ireland in South America.
Miami is home to a huge Cuban American population, and as Che was a loyal comrade of the hated Castro brother, the poster caused uproar locally.
“It was removed as soon as we discovered the error this morning,” Carol Jordan, communications director said at the time.
“We fully understand the sensitivity and deeply regret the error.”
“He was not at the airport for even 12 hours,” Greg Chin, Miami Airport’s director of communications, told a local newspaper.
Considering community sensibilities it might not be a great idea to send any letters to Miami with the stamp on…