Daimler AG has issued an apology on Thursday for using an image of communist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara in a promotional presentation for Mercedes-Benz cars.
The image of Guevara appeared briefly during a presentation by Dieter Zetsche, head of Daimler's Mercedes unit, at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The now popularized photo by Alberto Korda of the austere looking Argentine Marxist, who led the revolution that brought fellow communist Fidel Castro to power in Cuba, appeared with the large caption “Viva La Revolucion.”
In place of the symbolic star that sits on Guevara's beret in the original photo, Mercedes placed its logo.
"Che Guevara, not to put too fine a point on it, was a psychopath whose sadistic lust for blood was not easily quenched. He killed for pleasure," read a blog post from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative political organization in Washington.
Daimler released a statement to MSNBC on Thursday, apologizing for the use of the polarizing figure in the presentation.
“In his keynote speech at CES, Dr. Zetsche addressed the revolution in automobility enabled by new technologies, in particular those associated with connectivity. To illustrate this point, the company briefly used a photo of revolutionary Che Guevara (it was one of many images and videos 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.”
Ernesto Suarez, who started a petition online calling for Mercedes-Benz to apologize for using the photo of a man the petition called "a racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and tyrannical killer who admitted in his own writing to his endless blood thirst," accepted Daimler’s apology.
"I'm very satisfied with the reaction from Mercedes-Benz," Suarez, who is Cuban-American, told MSNBC. "I believe that they have done the right thing.”
"The victory, if there is one, is not mine, but belongs to the descendants of [Guevara's] victims [and] the survivors, to common sense and to civility," Suarez added.