A monument to Heydar Aliev on Mexico City’s Paseo de Reforma? That makes total sense…
Mexicans puzzled by Azerbaijan leader monument
MEXICO CITY — The appearance of a life-size statue of Azerbaijan’s “founder of the nation” on Mexico City’s elegant Reforma Avenue, not far from Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and Mexico’s national heroes, is raising eyebrows and protests.
The Stalin-esque, bronze statue of Geidar Aliyev, the late authoritarian leader of the Caucasus republic, carries a plaque calling him “a brilliant example of infinite devotion to the motherland, loyal to the universal ideals of world peace.” The monument erected in late August shows Aliyev sitting in a bronze chair in front of what appears to be an enormous, white marble map of Azerbaijan.
“It is really out of place,” said Miguel Angel Mendoza, an 18-year-old high school student who was walking past the monument to the longtime ruler, who led Azerbaijan first as Communist Party boss during Soviet times and then as president from 1993 to 2003. “Why couldn’t they put up a monument to somebody who did something good?”
It turns out that Azerbaijan contributed much of the 65 million pesos ($5 million) it cost to renovate not one, but two Mexico City parks, allowing it to put monuments in both. Critics say that Aliyev, who stifled dissent, shouldn’t be on a boulevard decorated with statues to Mexican and foreign heroes.
“It’s as if they brought a dictator from Mars, “Aridjis said. “Are we going to be a center for monuments to dead dictators? Who’s next? Hitler? Stalin?”
Aliyev’s monument is surrounded by a manicured lawn and flowerbeds, and many people like the new park.