FitzPatrick jumped into the donnybrook, writing The Irish Times saying he wished Ireland had a Che-like figure “who could so inspire us” to bring the looting bankers and politicians to justice.
“Che was a bloodthirsty, sadistic killer who did not value human life,” Ros-Lehtinen wrote in an email to me. “I do realize that Che continues to be a chic figure to the intellectual elite harboring misplaced romanticism, but I represent many of his victims and survivors who see him in a far different light.”
The controversy caused the outgoing mayor of Galway and others to back away, claiming they didn’t realize an actual monument was being planned.
“What did they think they were voting for, an egg and spoon race?” laughed Dermot Keys, a reporter for The Connacht Tribune.
The lefty Cameron argues that “Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and her buddies down South, lunatic fringe Republicans with a Miami-Cuban agenda, should not be allowed to dictate what happens in Galway politics.”
He calls Che a magnetic brand who launched a million T-shirts and mugs — not to mention a passel of biographies, the glamor of Evita and movies produced by Robert Redford and directed by Steven Soderbergh.
And therein lies the rub with the bizarre idea. Just because Che became a chic brand for the capitalism he tried to destroy, it doesn’t mean he’s worth honoring on Galway Bay. And just because Ros-Lehtinen can be grating, it doesn’t mean she’s wrong this time.
Cameron hopes the cowed city council takes the memorial matter up soon. Meanwhile, he sees the totalitarian rainbow. “The ultimate fruit of all this is that Che will be known as having the Irish blood and the Galway connection,” he says. “And that is an achievement in itself.”