Published December 14, 2016
The Environmental Protection Agency kicked off the start of Hispanic Heritage Month with a staffwide email featuring militant Che Guevara.
The e-mail, apparently inadvertently sent by a staffer to agency employees, prominently features a photo of Che and facts from the Latino culture. Che is a controversial figure who some view as a militant and assassin who helped put Cuba's Fidel Castro to power and ordered the murder of hundreds, while others like Nelson Mandela have referred to him as an "inspiration."
The facts and image also appear to be plagiarized word for word from buzzle.com.
The EPA has apologized for the internal memo and said it was mistakenly sent by a staffer.
"The email was drafted and sent by an individual employee, and without official clearance. Shortly after sending the email in question the individual apologized to her colleagues for the inadvertent error," the EPA spokesperson told Buzzfeed.
Still, prominent Cuban American Florida Republicans jumped on the opportunity to bash the Obama administration in the middle of a contentious presidential election. The representatives of the battleground state said they were "insulted" and "outraged" by the internal memo on the eve of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
"Che was a cold-blooded murderer who killed so many innocent victims," Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida Republican and a Cuban-American, said in an email. "This Administration has granted visas to Mariela Castro and other top Cuban regime officials, offered the Castro brothers unilateral concessions, and now sends an E-mail with a image of an anti-American mass murderer."
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, also a Cuban America Florida Republican, said the email insults everything that the Hispanic community stands for.
"This is not only offensive to victims and their families, but also to anyone who believes in freedom," she said.