New York's Central Park has been home to rapists, robbers, drug dealers and all manner of detestable things. Now Republicans are pushing to have a work of art depicting Ernesto 'Che' Guevara removed from the entrance to the grounds.
Claiming that the sculpture honors the Marxist revolutionary, 10 lawmakers are urging Mayor Michael Bloomberg to immediately remove what they claim is an offensive work of art.
A letter sent last week by U.S. Rep. Dan Burton of Indiana, which was co-signed by Florida GOPers Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Gus Bilirakis, Connie Mack and Mario Diaz-Balart, called Guevara "an outspoken enemy of the United States" who embraced "the totalitarian, repressive policies of the Soviet Union" and once threatened to drop nuclear weapons on New York.
The move by the Republican leaders may have come a bit too late. The statue, which has been at the corner of 5th Avenue and 60th Street since November, is due to come down tomorrow.
The bronze sculpture, by German artist Christian Jankowski, was approved by the city, but not publicly funded. Public Art Fund, which sponsored the display, said the artwork was meant to depict Spanish street performers who imitate historical figures.
"The purpose of public art is to create dialog," Gabby Fisher, spokeswoman for Public Art Fund, told Bloomberg News.
The lawmakers were alerted to the artwork after they met with Cuban-Americans last week to discuss human rights issues in the communist controlled island.
“This man’s iconic image is not a fashion statement or a piece of art to the victims and their families, but rather a horrific reminder of the brutality that was suffered at his hand,” their angry letter read.
“It is not a statue of ‘Che’; it is a statue of a street performer acting as if he were ‘Che,’” said Jason Post, a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg.