Latin America & Caribbean

Cuba bans Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez perfumes

Bottles of the two scents, Hugo and Ernesto, being launched Image copyright AP
Image caption The Cuban government denied that the families had been consulted over the use of the names

The Cuban government has said it will take disciplinary action against a state pharmaceutical company that created perfumes named Ernesto Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez.

In a statement in the official Granma newspaper, the government described the project as "a serious error".

"The symbols of the Revolution are and will always be sacred," it read.

The colognes - Ernesto and Hugo - were unveiled on Thursday by a state laboratory in the capital, Havana.

Labiofam said Ernesto, the cologne named after the Argentine-born revolutionary who helped Fidel Castro take over in Cuba in 1959, would be a woodsy and refreshing citric scent with notes of talcum powder.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Che Guevara (left) fought alongside Fidel Castro (right) during the Cuban Revolution
Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Chavez was a close ally of the Cuban government and a friend of former leader Fidel Castro

Hugo, named after the late Venezuelan president, would offer a softer, fruitier fragrance with hints of mango and papaya.

"They will be very attractive colognes, but the names also mean a lot to us," said Isabel Gonzalez, vice-president for research and development for Labiofam during the launch.

But the project was mocked in the social networks and criticised by supporters of the Cuban Revolution, who considered it disrespectful.

'Irresponsible action'

Labiofam had been in the process of developing stylised bottles and labels for the products before putting them on sale in Cuba and overseas.

"We didn't want to create propaganda, but rather pay homage to them and help their names endure," said Cuban biochemist Mario Valdes, who led the scent design team, on Thursday.

The company said it had obtained the agreement of the families of Che Guevara and Hugo Chavez to use their names in the colognes. But that has now been denied by the Cuban government.

"The details of this irresponsible action were discussed in detail on Friday with the company's director and the employees who presented the products, which were still being developed," read the statement of the Executive Committee of the Ministers' Council, headed by Cuban President Raul Castro.

"The appropriate measures will be taken to deal with this serious error.

"Such initiatives will never be accepted either by our people or by the Revolutionary Government."

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