Communist Artist Commemorated With U.S. Stamp

Mexican Artist Frida Kahlo is the first female Hispanic to be honored with a U.S. stamp.

But the fact that she was a known Communist has some Americans questioning the propriety of the honor.

"She was quite outspoken about her beliefs, so I'm wondering what the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) was thinking," radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt said.

"She is certainly an artist of great international note, but one — she is a Mexican. Two — she is a Communist. In fact, she is not your ordinary Communist. For a long time, it's believed she was the lover of Trotsky," he said.

The citizens' advisory committee responsible for nominating stamp candidates screens thousands of prospects each year. Postmaster officials make the final decision.

It is a general rule for the committee that an individual's contributions and accomplishments in his field of expertise carry the most weight, not the details surrounding his private life or politics.

Fox News asked to see the short list of nominees to see what American artists were bypassed or considered less deserving of the honor, but we were told that 'no one ever sees that'.

The USPS insists says that Kahlo was chosen because of her talent, not because of her race, gender, sexual preference, or membership in the Communist Party.

"This woman was an extraordinary painter who's had a huge influence on Spanish-American artists and who's work influenced contemporary Spanish art in the United States," Cathy Caggian of the USPS said.

Still, many critics are seeing red.

"I think we have to look very seriously at who we are holding up for public admiration," Hughes said.

"If those people stood side by side or lay side by side with Trotsky, Stalin and the whole crowd that were responsible for the death of millions, you have to ask yourself what was this committee thinking?" he said.

Leon Trotsky, a leader in Russia's Communist Party, was executed by Joseph Stalin. Kahlo's final painting before her suicide in 1954 was one of Stalin.

William La Jeunesse joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in March 1998 and currently serves as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.