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companero che .com - the truth about Ernesto Che Guevara
Guevara's image saved from drink

Friday, 15 September, 2000, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK




The photographer who took the legendary shot of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara has won his legal battle over the copyright of the world-famous photograph. The photographer, Alberto Diaz Gutierrez, has accepted a substantial sum in an out-of-court settlement with a British advertising agency, Lowe Lintas, and Rex Features, the company that supplied the image.


The photograph, taken in 1960, has been used widely on T-shirts, banners and posters across the world. The agency's mistake was to use the defiant image of Guevara to promote a brand of Smirnoff vodka. Lawyers for the 71-year-old photographer, who is also known as Alberto Korda, argued that using the revolutionary to promote vodka was offensive. The claim filed in London's High Court, said that the advertising campaign trivialised the photo's historical significance.


"To use the image of Che Guevara to sell vodka is a slur on his name and memory," Mr Korda told the UK's Guardian newspaper. "He never drank himself, he was not a drunk, and drink should not be associated with his immortal memory."

He said Che Guevara, as an anti-capitalist, would not have approved of Smirnoff vodka, which is owned by UK food and beverage firm Diageo Group.


Mr Korda took the photograph for a Cuban newspaper on 5 March 1960, at a memorial service in Havana. Mr Korda still has the photograph's negative and the camera that took it.


Che Guevara was a key figure in Cuba's 1959 revolution alongside Fidel Castro, who still rules the country. When Che Guevara was killed by the Bolivian army in October 1967, he was hailed a martyr to the revolution.


The photo been a rallying image in student revolts ever since.


©2008 Nigel Hunt - All Rights Reserved.

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