Che. [016]

“Che” Guevara on an Irish stamp! Sounds like the family came from somewhere south of Cobh – quite a bit further south. Yet Che has a claim to be of Irish descent in spite of his family name. Dr Ernesto “Che” Guevara, MD was born in Rosario, Argentina. His great-great-great-great-grandfather, Patrick Lynch of Galway, was part of the Irish Diaspora leaving about 1740, the period of the Protestant Ascendancy. Che’s father is quoted in saying “… In my son’s veins flowed the blood of Irish rebels….”. What sets “Che” apart was his work in Cuba, starting in the mountains as the right-hand man to Fidel Castro, and afterwards eradicating democracy. He was active in spreading communism to Africa and South America. He was well known for his brutality. To quote the Wall Street Journal editorial “… The struggle for Irish independence was about equality under law, property rights, and political self-determination. Guevara represents none of these. …”. Many have questioned his appearance on an Irish stamp. While his work is well-known and vilified in many circles, he is as much a Irish descendant as some Americans with Irish surnames who may have a mix of Greek, Polish, Italian and/or Korean bloods. “Che” is quite well known. An Post used an image of him often seen on counter-culture tee shirts. Surprisingly, the first printing of the stamp (122,000) sold out in the first few days. A second printing was ordered, and that also sold out. This made it the most popular commemorative stamp in Irish history.

Controversial, but Irish!

See The Revealer, Winter 2017-18, p.13 ff for more details.