The parent company of Mercedes-Benz has apologized for using an image of Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara to promote its vehicles. The image appeared briefly during a presentation Tuesday by Dieter Zetsche, head of Daimler AG’s Mercedes unit, at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
A famous Alberto Korda photo of the Argentine communist was displayed on stage with a Mercedes-Benz logo in place of the star in his beret. The words “Viva La Revolucion” appeared behind him.
The image shocked and angered many Cuban-Americans. The guerrilla leader was second in command during Fidel Castro’s takeover of Cuba. He was executed in Bolivia in 1967.
Felix Rodriguez took to the company’s website to post a complaint. He said he has owned three Mercedes-Benz cars, but he was now ditching plans to buy a fourth.
“I’ll never buy a Mercedes-Benz again and I am telling my friends to do the same,” he said, according to The Miami Herald
Ninoska Perez Castellon, a prominent radio commentator in Miami, told the Herald she had received many angry calls from Cuban exiles about the presentation.
“It’s outrageous because ultimately, Che was a foreigner who came to Cuba to kill,” she said.
In a statement to MSNBC.com
, Daimler apologized for using Guevera’s photo but pointed out that it was just one of many images 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,” the company said.
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