Pictures showing President Barack Obama and other top U.S. officials standing at attention in front of a mural of Che Guevara and other communist leaders have attracted lots of attention from conservatives.
Obama became the first president in decades to visit Cuba over the weekend, and the tour of the country included a stop in Revolution Square.
Murals surrounding the square depict a number of figures revered by some Cubans, including the Marxist guerrilla leader Guevara and Cuban revolutionary Camilo Cienfuegos.
A ceremony at the square included the playing of both countries’ national anthems.
Along with Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and other officials attended the event.
During the ceremony, Obama laid a wreath at the Jose Marti monument.
“It is a great honor to pay tribute to Jose Marti, who gave his life for independence of his homeland,” he said.
“His passion for liberty, freedom, and self-determination lives on in the Cuban people today.”
Conservatives were displeased with Obama appearing in front of the Guevara mural.
Obama’s standing in front of Che Guevara giant mural deliberate endorsement of Communist revolutionary or bad staffing? I bet deliberate,” wrote Newt Gingrich on Twitter.
“Mr. President, you’re a disgrace,” another user Twitter wrote.
“So, Obama couldn’t make it to Chris Kyle’s memorial service, but he will stand at attention for Che Guevara,” yet another said.
But others argued it was no big deal.
“The truth is, when presidents travel abroad, sometimes they’re photographed with politically controversial images in the background. Ronald Reagan was seen in 1988 delivering comments below a Vladimir Lenin bust and the USSR’s flag,” wrote MSNBC.
“It did not mean Reagan was a communist sympathizer; it was not a signal intended to crush the spirit of anti-communist forces around the globe; and the image drew no meaningful criticisms from Democrats. George H.W. Bush was pictured – more than once – in front of a Mao portrait in China. It wasn’t a big deal, either.”