Statue of a Foreign Autocrat Sits Uneasily With Some

The New York Times, 11/12/2012

Marcelo Ebrard

When the mayor inaugurated a pretty little garden fronted by a very large statue at the edge of the central Chapultepec Park last summer, it seemed another step forward in his drive to improve the quality of life in this impossible city.

But a quick check on Google might have spared Mayor Marcelo Ebrard from what happened next.

Speaking off the cuff, the mayor praised the statue’s subject — a complete stranger to many Mexico City residents — as “a great political leader, a statesman.”

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At Mexico City park, statue of Azerbaijan leader elicits protest

New York Daily News, 10/19/2012

The leafy green parks of Mexico City’s elegant Polanco neighborhood have their politically comforting statues.

There’s Abraham Lincoln, poised thoughtfully near a shallow pond. Across from him, there’s Martin Luther King. And a few blocks away, Mohandas Gandhi.

And then there’s the newest addition, a real head-scratcher: Heydar Aliyev, the late strongman of Azerbaijan.

The presence of Aliyev, in larger-than-life bronze on a well-traveled segment of the city’s iconic Reforma Boulevard, has infuriated residents. At least those few who are able to figure out who he is.

“It would be like taking the Washington Mall, and putting a memorial for Idi Amin there,” said Eduardo Farah, a community activist, referring to the former Ugandan dictator.
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