International News

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Blasts UN for Preserving Che Guevara's Memory

Never much of a fan of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is more peeved than usual at the NGO. Today she blasted UNESCO for preserving the works of Che Guevara in its "Memory of the World Register."

The Memory of the World Register is at best a noble but flawed attempt to preserve documentary heritage from across the globe, but the collection of more than 200 entries is a bit scattershot. The United States' three entries in the register include The Wizard of Oz, a collection of documentaries about an African tribe, and a collection of documents related to Eleanor Roosevelt. So we're not talking about big things like, say, the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence (though England submitted its Magna Carta). Other entries include The Diary of Anne Frank, the work of José Martí Pérez, the Rigveda, and the Royal Archives of Madagascar.

Cuba and Bolivia got together this year to successfully submit The Life and Works of Ernesto Che Guevara.

Ros-Lehtinen, livid, sent out a statement:

"UNESCO continued its longstanding tradition of making a mockery of its own institution when it opted to venerate and memorialize the life of a blood thirsty, murderous sadist, Che Guevara, by including his works as an entry in its 'Memory of the World Register.' This decision is more than an insult to the families of those Cubans who were lined up and summarily executed by Che and his merciless cronies but it also serves as a direct contradiction to the UNESCO ideals of encouraging peace and universal respect for human rights.

"This latest reprehensible action is a microcosm of the existing problems within UNESCO today. There isn't any semblance of common sense left in that body. From its decision to accept a non-existent state of Palestine into its membership, to glorifying Che's ruthless crimes against humanity, UNESCO deserves no funding from US taxpayers. The Obama Administration is wrong to continue to seek to restore funding to UNESCO. The Administration must immediately end its push to send $225 million in American taxpayer money to UNESCO that would enable that organization to keep undermining our friend and ally, the democratic Jewish State of Israel, and would insult the memories of those who suffered under Che and continue to suffer under the Castro brothers."

The United States had withdrawn from UNESCO for more than two decades until it rejoined in 2003. However, America withdrew funding after UNESCO (whose memberships is not synonymous with the United Nations) accepted Palestine as a member.

Cuba, of course, is squeezing the recognition for all it's worth and held a ceremony in Havana with Che's widow and children.

Interestingly, Ros-Lehtinen had nothing to say about this year's inclusion of Karl Marx's Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto.

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Kyle Munzenrieder