The Memory of the World is a United Nations program that incorporates about 300 documents of universal significance and unique historical value that helps us to understand fundamental events in the history of humanity. In the registry we can find, besides millenary documents from China , India and Europe, the Declaration of Human Rights, the works of Copernicus, the record of Amundsen’s expedition to the South Pole, the works of Hans Christian Andersen, the logs of Vasco de Gama’s travels, the Latin Bible, the papers on the discovery of insulin or the work of Semmelweis in preventing puerperal fever. In a lighter note we also see Carlos Gardel’s original recordings and the movie “The Wizard of Oz”. With the exception of Jose Martí’s papers, included some time ago at the suggestion of Cuba, there is not one single case of a politician in the register, much less one as controversial as Guevara.
How do the United Nations decide who or what should be included? The system is not clear to me. Any country can propose the inclusion of a document. The Che Guevara’s papers were proposed for inclusion by Cuba and Bolivia. But I have been unable to find the set of criteria that regulates the entries. The program’s website states that “governments and institutions may engage in lobbying activities in an effort to maximize the possibility of a successful outcome for their nomination. This can take many forms, including gifts and offers of travel and hospitality. The practice has different implications and nuances in different cultures…” They warn the officers deciding on the Registry against corruption but also against rejecting a priori what can be a “culturally accepted practice”.
I suspect the legitimacy of a Registry that has nothing about Lincoln, Borges, Rembrandt or Churchill but includes the papers of a notorious man who is reputed to have decided personally the execution of dozens of Cubans and once wrote a letter stating: "The executions by firing squads are not only a necessity for the people of Cuba, but also an imposition of the people”. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Che_Guevara