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Che Guevara's image at New Haven City Hall exhibit brings out scandal and vandal

A poster at New Haven's City Hall, part of a "Heroes & Icons" exhibit meant to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, was vandalized on Monday.

City Hall staff filed a police report and are looking through security footage to try to identify the culprit, none of which answers the question: Why would a seat of government in the United States be displaying an image of one of the most famous Communist revolutionaries in history?

The poster in question was of Ernesto "Che" Guevara and the graffiti that was inscribed on it read "asesino" – Spanish for murderer or assassin, according to the New Haven Register – in black ink. above Guevara's shoulder of the Communist revolutionary who  

Che Guevara was born in Argentina, but he is most closely identified with Cuba, where he helped Fidel Castro overthrow the regime of Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Guevara spent much of his life after that attempting to spark revolutionary uprisings elsewhere in Latin America and Africa.

Bolivian forces executed him in 1967, but his image has remained a symbol of rebellion and the counter-culture.

The "Heroes & Icons" show includes about 40 posters of Latino historical figures.

David Greco, co-founder and executive director of ARTE Inc., the group that mounted the exhibit, said that several viewers have previously complained about the Guevara poster. 

“The idea was to have people look at these posters and decide for themselves what they think, especially Latino children,” Greco told the Register. “Some say he’s a hero. Some say he’s an enemy. The goal is to get people talking.”

He told the paper that the board of ARTE Inc. shot down the idea of including Fidel Castro in the show.

The question now is what to do with the vandalized poster given that the exhibit will be on view at City Hall until Oct. 30.

“They said they’d take it down, but I asked them to leave it,” Greco told the paper.

For now, a piece of masking tape conceals the graffiti.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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