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Photo does not show Cuban farmer about to be executed under Castro

September 8, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: This picture won the Pulitzer Prize in 1960. It shows a priest giving the last rites to a Cuban farmer, owner of his land. He refused to work for the Castro regime. He died by a firing squad after a trial by Che Guevara that lasted 4 minutes. You will never see this picture on a T-shirt. 

 AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The photo is being misrepresented online to send a message about socialism. 

THE FACTS: The 1960 Pulitzer Prize winning photo taken by Andrew Lopez of United Press International shows an army corporal who served under dictator Fulgencio Batista receiving his last rites before being executed by a Castro firing squad. Photos before the execution can be seen on The Pulitzer Prizes website with the correct caption. 

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The photo, which shows a man kneeling before a priest, was shared widely across Twitter and Facebook.

THIS IS THE SOCIALISM THEY DON’T SHOW YOU,” one Facebook user said, sharing the post. 

A caption with the photo in the archives of Getty Images says Father Domingo Lorenzo is holding a crucifix before Cuban Army Cpl. Jose Cipriano Rodriguez on Jan. 17, 1959. Rodriguez kneels before the father before his execution. According to the caption, a military tribunal found the corporal guilty of killing two brothers..

The falsely captioned photo began circulating on Sunday. Tennessee Rep. Tim Burchett shared the photo with the false caption saying, “You’ll never see this on a hipsters Che Guevara t-shirt.” Burchett did not respond to a request for comment. 

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was the Cuban revolutionary leader whose role in the guerrilla war against Batista led to Fidel Castro’s rise to power. Guevara oversaw military tribunals and firing squad executions for those who worked under Batista.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536