The U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO has called on the agency to reverse a decision to add over a thousand of Che Guevara’s writings to the Memory of the World Register.
“The United States Government objects to the decision of the Memory of the World International Advisory Committee to recommend the writings of Che Guevara for inscription in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register,” Ambassador David T. Killion said in a statement. “Che Guevara is a controversial figure who advocated violence and made no apologies for executing people in the pursuit of revolution. The content of his writings is not in keeping with UNESCO and United Nations values.”
The collection added to register is comprehensive, including 431 manuscripts and 567 written documents, from Guevara’s adolescent “Motorcycle Diary” days to his campaign in Bolivia where he was executed in 1967.
According to its website, items included in the Memory of the World Register are endorsed by UNESCO’s director-general and are selected based on “world significance and outstanding universal value.” The collection is now recognized as world heritage and will be protected under the United Nations.
The ambassador, appointed by President Obama in June 2009, insisted that UNESCO’s Memory of the World program should not be used as a tool to glorify or legitimize violence.
“It has highlighted the global importance of Eleanor Roosevelt’s writings, as well as documentation related to the Holocaust, including the Warsaw Ghetto Archives, the Diaries of Anne Frank and, in 2013, the Archives of the International Tracing Service and Yad Vashem’s Pages of Testimony Collection,” Mr. Killion said. “Memory of the World should not be politicized if it is to maintain its relevance and integrity.”
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL, Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, blasted UNESCO’s “reprehensible” decision to include the works on Monday, saying the organization is making “a mockery of its own ideals.”