EPA e-mail on Hispanic heritage featured lifted content, image of Che Guevara

Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, right, shown here with Fidel Castro, made a cameo in an EPA e-mail. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

It was a bad day for the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday, when an innocuously intentioned e-mail to staffers hailing National Hispanic Heritage Month wound up stirring controversy and ticking off a lawmaker.

The e-mail, which the Weekly Standard and Buzzfeed promptly mocked, contained passages about Hispanic culture apparently copied word-for-word from Buzzle.com. And as icing on the oopsie-cake, it also featured a photo of a horse and buggy — no doubt meant to illustrate the picturesque elements of the culture — passing a painted billboard of Che Guevara.

As in the Marxist guerilla leader. Which, as one can imagine, didn’t sit so well in certain corners. House Foreign Relations Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen pronounced herself “aghast and upset,” and called the e-mail an insult.

“El Che was a bloodthirsty, vengeful, cowardly, sadistic, two-bit delinquent who used his position as enforcer in chief of the Castro brothers to send countless innocent persons before the firing squads,” she said.

The EPA gave Buzzfeed the typical response to such matters: it was the fault of a staffer, no supervisor approved it, the underling has apologized, etc., etc.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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