Irish Che Guevara stamp prompts protest

Irish Che Guevara stamp prompts protest

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Che Guevara’s father said the ‘blood of Ireland’s rebels’ flowed through his son’s veins

An Irish stamp marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara has aroused the ire of Cuban-Americans.

The stamp features the iconic image of the Argentine-born revolutionary by Dublin artist Jim Fitzpatrick.

Many consider Guevara a mass murderer who should not be honoured, US-Cuban journalist Ninoska Perez told RTE.

The stamp was approved by the government “as per normal procedures”, said the Irish Department of Communications.

Che Guevara played a key role in the Cuban revolution that overthrew the dictator Batista in 1959.

He was the son of a civil engineer with Irish roots, Ernesto Guevara Lynch.

The stamp’s first day cover carries a quote from his father: “In my son’s veins flowed the blood of the Irish rebels.”

The sedate world of philately has seen of a surprising number of stamp controversies since Sir Rowland Hill introduced the Penny Black in 1840.

Here are a selection of other ire-inducing issues:

Sunk Swastika (United Kingdom)

In 1965, the Royal Mail issued a set of commemorative stamps to mark the 25th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Questions were raised in parliament about one of the designs, which featured a Nazi swastika on the tail plane of a German bomber.

Postmaster-General Tony Benn refused to back down and the design was issued unchanged.

An attempt by the Labour minister to have the Queen’s head removed from the design and replaced by the words United Kingdom was politely rejected by Her Majesty.

Potter prostitution? (United States)

In 2013, the US Postal Service issued a set of stamps featuring the Hogwarts-educated English wizard, Harry Potter.

A section of the philatelic community was enraged by the highly commercial, non-American subject matter.

Former Postmaster General Benjamin Bailar resigned from his position on the Citizen’s Advisory Stamp Committee, stating that the Potter stamps amounted to “prostituting” the US stamp programme.

Dalai Lama denial (Austria)

In 2005, the Austrian Postal Service prepared a stamp to mark the 70th birthday of the Dalai Lama.

The stamp was never issued, and the country’s postal authorities later denied they had come under pressure from the Chinese government to abandon the issue.

However, some test prints were made of the original design, and one was sold at auction in 2016 for 700 euro (£620).

Numerous other countries have issued Dalai Lama stamps, from Malawi to Guyana and, in 2015, Germany issued a stamp featuring the Dalai and openly supporting the Campaign for Tibet.

Haka hullabaloo (New Zealand)

In 2009, New Zealand Post prepared set of illustrated stamps intended to celebrate indigenous Maori culture with illustrations of the Haka, the dance beloved of rugby union fans the world over.

However, the designs were criticised as being cartoonish and badly drawn.

The stamps were never issued and, in 2011, the postal authorities issued a new set of photographic Haka stamps.

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