Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, the Argentine who was a key member of the Cuban revolution, and one of the most potent and romantic icons of change and courage, should be celebrated and formally acknowledged by the city of Galway.
This is the view of Labour councillor Billy Cameron who is calling for such a project to be explored in the week that the Cuban Ambassador to Ireland, her excellency Teresita Trujillo, visits Galway city.
Councillor Cameron, a great admirer of Che, has history on his side in making this call. Argentina has one of the most vibrant and active Irish emigrant communities in the world. Thousands emigrated there from the 1820s onwards and have made enormous contributions to Argentine life, through journalism (Rodolfo Walsh ), the military (Admiral William Brown ), the arts (film-maker Oscar Barney Finn ), and most famously Che Guevara.
Che’s full name was Ernesto Guevara Lynch as his father was of Irish ancestry, his people originally having come from Co Galway. In the 1960s, Che briefly stopped over in Ireland to explore his roots in counties Clare and Galway. Also, Che’s father Ernesto Guevara snr, declared “the first thing to note is that in my son’s veins flowed the blood of the Irish rebels”.
Cllr Cameron is now calling for Galway city to mark and celebrate its links with Che and his family. “Che Guevara had Galway blood and is descended from two of the Tribes of Galway - the Lynches and Blakes,” he said. “As such, some form of recognition should be given to him in the city of his ancestors. Surely a project of this type should be in the interest of both Cuban and Irish governments.”