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Mexico City to boot Azeri leader's statue from avenue

25 января 2013, 10:47
Photo courtesy of armenpress.am
Photo courtesy of armenpress.am
A bronze statue of Azerbaijan's late leader is going to be booted out of Mexico City's most famous avenue after rights activists complained that a "dictator" did not deserve such an honor, AFP reports.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said Tuesday that the likeness of former president Heydar Aliyev would be removed from its prime location off the heavily-traveled Reforma Avenue this week and that a new spot would be found.

"We will proceed this week," Mancera told Radio Formula.

The embassy of Azerbaijan had paid $5 million to spruce up two city parks and place the statue in a corner of the sprawling Chapultepec Park last August.

But the statue's appearance angered activists who said it had no place in a city that boasts monuments for figures such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

While supporters remember Aliyev as the father of Azerbaijan's independence from the Soviet Union, critics recall him as the strongman who cracked down on dissent, jailed opponents and stifled the media during his 1993-2003 rule.

Mancera's decision followed recommendations from a panel of foreign policy experts who said that the statue should be placed elsewhere.

The mayor said the city will hold negotiations with the Azerbaijani embassy to find a new location for the statue, which was inaugurated under his predecessor, Marcelo Ebrard.

A spokesman for the embassy, however, said that the Azerbaijani mission had "not made a decision" regarding the fate of the statue and that negotiations with the government were continuing.

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