LIMA: A giant statue of Jesus Christ that looms over Lima is causing controversy in Peru because of its financing by the graft-tainted Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht and late ex-president Alan Garcia, reports AFP.
The 37-meter (121-foot) acrylic and concrete structure, which cost $800,000, is viewed by some as a symbol of corruption, giving rise to a local nickname ‘Christ of Theft.’ Thousands are demanding its removal.A few weeks ago, the Es Momento (It’s Time) non-governmental organization began a campaign to have the statue, which sits on the Chorrillos mountain to Lima’s south, taken down.
“It’s impossible for this to remain as part of the city’s public space,” said Cristhian Rojas, the Es Momento leader.
The statue, whose official name is ‘Christ of the Pacific,’ was given by company chief Marcelo Odebrecht to Garcia and unveiled in 2011, right at the end of his second five-year term as president. He had previously held the presidency from 1985-90.
Odebrecht has admitted to paying $29 million in bribes in Peru between 2005 and 2014.
Prosecutors say a former top Garcia official has confessed to acting as a frontman, receiving money from Odebrecht to pass on to the ex-president.
But the company’s association with corruption means the Christ statue has become a pebble in the shoe of Peru’s government.