USA orders Irish city to abandon Che Guevara statue project

Galway City Council in Ireland wants to place a statue of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara in his ancestral city.

Would you call the Argentinian Che Guevara an Irish revolutionary? A revolutionary, evidently, and distantly Irish too. Patrick Lynch of Galway emigrated to Buenos Aires via Bilbao in about 1742, I read on the genealogical website http://en.rodovid.org. He married Rosa de Galayn de la Cámara, and their son Justo was the great-great-grandfather of Che’s father Ernesto Guevara y Lynch. So the Galway connection, real as it is, dates from a long time ago.

Amazingly, given that Che was assassinated in 1967, 45 years ago, the USA is raising objections. Dara Kelly, writing on www.irishcentral.com,* tells of the chair of the Homeland Security Committee of the House of Representatives, Peter King, ‘advising’ Galway’s councillors to  abandon the plan. What business is it of the USA’s Homeland Security Committee if a small city on the far side of the Atlantic erects a statue to a long-dead icon? None at all, I would have thought, but Peter King (Republican, Long Island) wrote to Councillor Padraig Conneely saying:

“The ties between Ireland and the United States are strong and lasting. But the building of a statue to Guevara could well impact on American investment in Ireland [and on] continued support of the International Fund for Ireland. As your friend and a friend of Galway, I strongly urge you to take whatever action you can to prevent this project from going forward.” (my emphasis)

That’s not all. Dara Kelly reports that Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, has called on no less than Ireland’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, to stop the statue.

Statues in Galway, or Glasgow or Ghent for that matter, are no business whatsoever of the USA, which looks more like the Big Bad Bully than the Protector of Freedom. Who do I find objectionable in history? One candidate would be Stalin, but would Wales ‘advise’ Stalin’s home nation of Georgia against remembering its own history? No, I feel sure that Wales would not do that, but even if tempted, Wales is too small to be a global bully. The message for me is that super-states quickly grow so big and bellicose that they threaten freedoms everywhere.

* ‘US politician tells Galway officials to halt Che Guevara statue plan’, by Dara Kelly, August 5 2012.

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