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Mercedes Apologizes for Reference to Che Guevara

“Viva la revolucion”?

by on Jan.17, 2012

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche draws inspiration from Che Guevara during a CES speech.

You likely wouldn’t expect to see those college posters of Che Guevara hanging in a corporate boardroom, but Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche turned to the legendary Cuban revolutionary in his keynote remarks during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – triggering the sort of firefight Che was known for.

A massive image of the revolutionary – shown with his trademark beret but adorned with the Mercedes tri-star logo – was flashed on a screen, dwarfing both Zetsche and several Mercedes-Benz vehicles as the executive announced an update to the carmaker’s Embrace infotainment system and outlined its ability to assist in car-sharing programs.

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“Some colleagues still think that car-sharing borders on communism,” proclaimed Zetsche, “but if this is a revolution, then ‘Viva la revolucion!”

The comments generated outrage, notably from this country’s anti-communist Cuban community – including several state and federal lawmakers — in turn, leading the German automaker to issue a formal apology for actions it deemed “thoughtless” and “stupid.”