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The appearance of a life-size statue of Azerbaijan's "founder of the nation" Heydar Aliyev on Mexico City's elegant Reforma Avenue, not far from Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and Mexico's national heroes, is raising eyebrows and protests, Associated Press.
"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", the source says.
"They probably have a warehouse full of these things somewhere" in Azerbaijan, said Daniel Gershenson, human rights activist who was 1 of about a dozen protesters who demonstrated last week in front of the monument, holding banners that read "Get rid of the dictator!" "It's like a personality cult, transferred to Mexico," said writer and activist Homero Aridjis, who described the style as "social realism from the Soviet era.' "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?"
Azerbaijan's ambassador to Mexico, Ilgar Mukhtarov, wrote that Azerbaijan has lavished attention on Mexico because it was 1 of the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
"A second Azerbaijani statue appears in the other park they paid to renovate, Tlaxcoaque park in downtown Mexico City. It depicts a woman, her arms uplifted in mourning, commemorating Khojaly, a village where hundreds of Azerbaijanis were reportedly killed during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Advocates say a monument to Mexican suffering would have been more appropriate for a site once used as a police interrogation and torture center", the source says.