Cubans Furious At Mercedes Over Che Guevara Joke

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
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cubans furious at mercedes over che guevara joke

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.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Abdel.bolanos Abdel.bolanos on Jan 18, 2012

    How stupid this man can be! I am cuban and I felt very angry when I read this post. A car campaign based on a Cuban National Hero? what was this guy thinking. I bet he has never been in Cuba or even read something about cuban history. Can you imagine a campaign with the picture of Adolf Hilter with the slogan 'Alle Wagen Gut'. "Ja" that is what I'm talking about. National heroes are for study and admire not for make money from them.

  • Alwaysinthecar Alwaysinthecar on Jan 20, 2012

    There appears to be a lot of young people posting here I who don't seem to know the history of Cuba. Fulgencio Batista (the dictator ousted by Castro's revolution) was a bloodthirsty thug who suspended the 1940 Constitution and revoked the liberties of the citizens (except for the wealthy landowners), censored the press, and indulged in mass executions. And it was all supported by the US and corporate conglomerates (esp the sugar industry.) Inevitably there had to be a revolution, and with all the rich Cubans running off to Miami leaving their property behind (and the only reason they're bitter about Castro.) But Batista made Che Guevara and Fidel Castro look like cute little puppies by comparison. Batista was the Pol Pot of Cuba. If Castro hadn't embraced Communism (the Soviets jumped on the opportunity to support the overthrow of Batista), the US would have eventually supported Castro. They clearly knew that Batista was an out-of-control ruthless dictator despite his welcomed support of US corporations (and the US mafia) doing business in Cuba. But in the end, Batista and Castro were simply the puppets for the real fight which was between the US and the Soviet Union.

  • Marty S Corey, thanks for your comment. Mercedes has many different models, and will survive. Jaguar is planning on only offering electric models and will be in trouble. They should continue their ICE models as long as possible, but have discontinued the F-Type already and will probably be discontinuing everything else. We purchased the current XF this year, which is a nice car, but would have been splendid if they had just continued the supercharged V-6 in it.By the way, I have really enjoyed your Continental and Eldorado series. Was just showing it to my barber, who owned several 1954-56 Eldorado convertibles.
  • Marques My father had one of these. A black 1984 Pulsar NX with a 5-speed stick and a grey interior. Dad always kept it in pristine shape-that black paint was shiny even in the middle of the night. I swear I could still smell the Rain Dance carnauba wax! The only issue that car ever had was that it was never driven enough-it would sit for 10 days at a time! The Hitachi carburetor on it(and other Nissans of the time) were known to be troublesome. It went to the boneyard at 72K miles when a hole got punched in the block. By that time the Pulsar had long ceased production.
  • VoGhost This is the only new vehicle I have the slightest interest in.
  • VoGhost I love it. Can't wait to get one. Finally, trucks are becoming actually capable, and it's great for America.
  • Peter Just waiting for Dr. Who to show up with his Tardis, and send these things back to the hellish dark dimension from which they came.