Group shatters Che monument backed by Chavez


CARACAS — A group of Venezuelans shattered a glass monument to Cuban hero Che Guevara built by the government of leftist President Hugo Chavez, an area mayor told state television on Friday.

Jesus Espinoza, a municipal mayor in the mountain state of Merida, said “on Wednesday night (a group) from outside of the municipality inconsiderately destroyed the monument to Che Guevara.”

Local media reported that a group identifying itself as the Patriotic Command of the Plateau took responsibility for destroying the 2.4 meters-tall glass monument inscribed with a message to honor the Argentine-born icon of Cuba’s 1959 revolution.

“We do not want a monument to Che, he is not an example for our children,” the group said in a note left at the scene of the monument shattered by six gunshots, according to the El Universal newspaper.

Government leaders and the Cuban envoy in Venezuela had dedicated the monument outside the mountain city of Merida on Oct. 8.

Chavez, the leader of Latin America’s resurgent left, last week visited Cuba to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Guevara’s death in Bolivia and boost cooperation with the Communist island.

Chavez, who periodically describes Cuban leader Fidel Castro as “a father” has won repeated elections thanks largely to social spending backed by oil revenues.

But polls show close to 40 percent of the population opposes his self styled socialist revolution.