- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced that it has included “The Life and Works of Ernesto Che Guevara” in this year’s additions to the Memory of the World Register.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-FL, Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, blasted the “reprehensible” decision Monday, saying the organization is making “a mockery of its own ideals.”

“This decision is more than an insult to the families of those Cubans who were lined up and summarily executed by Che and his merciless cronies but it also serves as a direct contradiction to the UNESCO ideals of encouraging peace and universal respect for human rights,” she said in a statement.

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.

Guevara’s widow, Aleida, daughter and son attended a ceremony in Havana on Friday to celebrate the inclusion of the documents in the register, Boston.com reported.

Ms. Ros-Lehtinen urged the Obama administration to stop its efforts to restore funding to UNESCO.

“From its decision to accept a non-existent state of Palestine into its membership, to glorifying Che’s ruthless crimes against humanity, UNESCO deserves no funding from US taxpayers,” she said. “The Administration must immediately end its push to send $225 million in American taxpayer money to UNESCO that would enable that organization to keep undermining our friend and ally, the democratic Jewish State of Israel, and would insult the memories of those who suffered under Che and continue to suffer under the Castro brothers.”

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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