Xignite Picks Brutal Founder Of Firing Squads And Labor Camps As Icon Of New API Ecosystem

Partial screenshot of Xignite's Web site showing Ernesto Che Guevara

Earlier today, Xignite announced the co-launch of a fintech API ecosystem, claiming it to be a "revolution" for the financial tech industry. No doubt in search of an iconic revolutionary figure to be emblematic of the new ecosystem, Xignite selected Ernesto Che Guevera. Pictured above with a Xignite logo super-imposed over his beret, Guevara was widely regarded as Fidel Castro's right-hand man and a key figure in the overthrow of Cuba's Batista-led government in 1959. The image of Guevara appears on both the press release as well as a Web page on Xignite's Web site. The only problem is that Guevara is also known as a brutal murderer who founded Cuba's firing squads and labor camps. In ProgrammableWeb's view, this is most definitely not how to launch an API ecosystem.

Photo of Ernesto Che GuevaraThe image is a reverse-contrast version of a photograph that captured Guevara smiling (pictured, left). The annoucement claims that the ecosystem has been kicked-off with 21 founding members including NASDAQ, Yodlee, Tradier, SR Labs, and StockTwits. What's not clear is how many of those 21 founding members also bought-into the idea of using such a controversial figure in human history to be the face of the new API ecosystem. More than likely, Xignite acted alone on this decision. But in effort to find out for sure, ProgrammableWeb has reached-out to as many of the organizations as possible (including Xignite) and is awaiting official comment (see update below).

By the time this article was published, ProgrammableWeb was able to establish contact with two of those organizations (in other words, they acknowledged contact), neither of which was Xignite. Some of the partners do not publish sufficient media contact information on their Web sites or news releases. That said, this sort of botched launch is a good example of how some organizations could end up getting more than they bargained for by signing-on to a multi-vendor announcement and not paying attention to every little detail.

In a Slate article that debunks the cult of Guevara, Paul Berman wrote:

"Many of the early leaders of the Cuban Revolution favored a democratic or democratic-socialist direction for the new Cuba. But Che was a mainstay of the hardline pro-Soviet faction, and his faction won. Che presided over the Cuban Revolution's first firing squads. He founded Cuba's "labor camp" system—the system that was eventually employed to incarcerate gays, dissidents, and AIDS victims."

In 2012 his open letter to the CEO of Urban Outfitters, a retailer that sold t-shirts bearing Guevara's likeness, Human Rights Foundation founder Thor Halvorssen wrote:

"Although Guevara's image has appeared on countless items for consumption over the last few decades as a symbol of change for the better, Guevara's actual record is that of a brutal tyrant who suppressed individual freedom in Cuba and murdered those who challenged his worldview....he and Fidel Castro had designed and installed a full-blown police state that deprived the overwhelming majority of Cuban citizens of democracy and human rights....From 1959 to 1960, the new government carried out summary executions of at least 1,118 people by firing squad. Guevara himself presided over the notorious La Cabaña prison, where hundreds of the executions took place. For comparison's sake, the Batista regime was responsible for 747 noncombatant deaths between 1952 and 1959. The Cuban revolution under the direction of Guevara also saw the rise of forced labor camps which gave way a few years later to full-scale concentration camps."

The complete list of founders includes Xignite, Advisor Software, ChartIQ, Insight360, PlanWise, QuantConnect, Autochartist.com, EdgeLab, Estimize, Nasdaq, PsychSignal, StockTwits, TopRanks, vetr, Yodlee, SR Labs, Streamdata.io, Tradier, Level39 and ValueStream.  When and if ProgrammableWeb receives any official comment from any of the involved organizations, this article will be updated to reflect those comments.

Update 2015/09/16 15:41 EST: Xignite CEO Stephane Dubois contacted ProgrammableWeb by email with the following statement: "I appreciate your concern in our use of Che Guevara imagery. As CEO of Xignite, I’m writing to let you know that I am personally responsible for this decision. I did not intend to offend anyone and I apologize for the impact this had on you. It was by no means done with ill intent. We have now removed Che’s image from our website and press release.". 

ProgrammableWeb confirmed that the image has been removed from the site. In fact, the entire page regarding the fintech revolution has been taken down. The image was also removed from the press release which now reflects that a correction was made and that "a multimedia asset accompanying this release has been removed."

Be sure to read the next Financial article: Daily API RoundUp: Xignite, Parsebot, QuantConnect, Smaato


Comments (11)

Greg Bulmash

And as of 45 minutes ago, a multimedia asset was removed from the press release. :-)


Website has been updated and the image has disappeared down the memory hole. How typical, caught playing the millenial card, folded when called.


Is he smiling because he just shot another 50 enemies of the revolucion?


"A multimedia asset accompanying this release has been removed" -- I think that means we won.


I think this article demonstrates that many people have no knowledgeo of history or who Che Guevara outside of some right-wing crackpot articles from the fake HRF. The people executed at the prison were all Batista criminals and the original camps were for hardened criminals.  Che Guevara played no role in the UMAP camps that that article mentions as he was in Bolivia at the time and these camps were shutdown before he died.

As for the homophobia charge contained in the article, that has been routinely debunked:


Che had never made any disparaging remarks against homosexuals, nor were they singled out at Guanahacabibes camps.  And as for Stalinism, Che Guevara condemned it at the end of his life and said his real goal was a society where people engaged in voluntary labor.

These lies are spread by anti-Semitics, conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, and racists, and so it's interesting to see dimits like the author of this article cite them when they perpetuate this fake outrage.  What should be more concerning to us is why people on the Internet use fake history to generate phony outrage, and why companies choose to use Che Guevara's image and then cowardly take it down when someone dimwit complains and links to poorly written articles.


Routinely debunked? LOL. The site you point to has one article and footnotes it with a single source.  Compared to this document..


from the Cuba Archive Project seems pretty well researched (and even balanced as it questions some of the widely distributed information).  I have faith in the numerous citations and reporting such as:

"The intention of Cuba’s new leaders was deviously clear. Carlos

Franqui, editor of the official newspaper Revolución, has reported

that in a speech of May 18, 1962 at State Security offices in Havana,

Ché Guevara stated: “It is logical that in times of excessive tension we

cannot proceed weakly. We have imprisoned many people without knowing

for sure if they were guilty. At the Sierra Maestra, we executed many

people by firing squad without knowing if they were fully guilty. At times,

the Revolution cannot stop to conduct much investigation; it has the obligation

to triumph.”

Yes, you can't believe everything you read. But this paper has so many citations of public record that could be double-checked that it would have to be a fabrication of massive proportion. And, circumstantially, what's not on public record is equally suspect because how could there be such a void -- and by void, I mean complete void -- in the public record on certain occassions unless the goverment forbade and and all documentation whatsoever (regardless of what it might say; postive or negative). 

I admit that my instincts occasionally fail me. But I don't think so this time.

The Dimwit.


That is pretty funny. They were all criminals. I suppose my father, extended family, and all the other dissidents were "batista criminals" as well. And he knows this, because he was there. And the summary executions were OK, again because they were batista criminals. Its interesting to see how many people still get their history of preRevolutionary cuba from Godfather 2.




The linked in account for Xignite just posted a picture of Stephane Dubois wearing that t-shirt, and asked that we vote for him as Fintech person of the year.

Perhaps they need a new social media director.



New development. The linkedin account of Xignite posted an article asking for people to vote for Stephane Dubois as Fintech person of the year. Guess what executioners image was still on the t-shirt he's wearing?


so, @mendezjb, are you saying that what I wrote is untrue? or are you saying that it is true and that Stephane and Xignite are wrong to use these images?