Do you live in or near a Cuban community? Drive a Mercedes? Noooooo! Leave it in the garage. Put a tarp over it. The Cuban community hates Mercedes and Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche, despite his Cuban-sized mustache. Casus belli: At a presentation at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Zetsche praised the virtues of car sharing. Car sharing? Zetsche said:
“Some colleagues still think that car-sharing borders on communism, but if this is a revolution, then ‘viva la revolucion!’.”As he said it, a wide-format picture of Che Guevara popped up behind the Daimler Chairman. Che’s trademark beret was decorated with Daimler’s three-pointed star trademark. It had replaced the usual red star. The audience laughed politely. The Cuban community got its colorful knickers in a twist. Several people in Miami told the Miami Herald that they will boycott Mercedes. The Huffington Post weighed-in on the matter and, huffy as always, called the matter “The Crass Marketing of a Sadistic Racist.” The same writer continued in a right-wing blog that Che Guevara “was a psychopath whose sadistic lust for blood was not easily quenched. He killed for pleasure.” While Forbes snickered about “That famous German humor,” Automotive News [sub] opined:
“In fact, the Guevara image was far from the most offensive prop used by Mercedes during the program. Before Zetsche arrived on stage, Mercedes simulated a series of text messages on the stage screen that used expletives and made reference to late-night partying.”That, of course, won’t stand out as something noteworthy in Miami’s Cuban exile community. Daimler apologized for the Guevara reference, but not for the colorful language. The speechwriter who had the glorious idea is probably looking for new employment.