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El Cristo “de lo Robado”, ten years of Alan García’s controversial dream for Peru

Lima, Jun 29 (.) .- On a hill adjacent to the sacred land of Morro Solar, located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, rests a colossal acrylic Christ, a gift from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht that former Peruvian president Alan dreamed of for Lima García and that remains in the sight of all as a symbol of corruption. “Lord Jesus Christ, with your word bring joy, serenity, forgiveness, love and justice to Peru, which is what our spirits need at all times and what we also long for to make our land a pilot country of spirit and brotherhood”, These were the words that García spoke at the inaugural ceremony of the Christ of the Pacific. It was June 29, 2011 and, at the end of his term (2006-2011), the mastermind of that statue presented Peru with an image to bless and protect the country and its capital. The monument, 37 meters high and valued at more than 830,000 dollars, is a Christ similar to that of Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, created by the Bahian artist Octavio de Castro Moreno “Tatti”, which was donated by the Brazilian company Odebrecht, the same one that developed and obtained a large number of infrastructure projects during the ex-president’s administration. Ten years later, the Christ of the Pacific is already, in the retina of many, an adornment inherent to the landscape of the Bay of Lima, although there are not few who still reject it due to the controversies that entangle it. ORIGINAL SIN From its inception, the project stirred controversy. It was developed in secret and, when García made his dream public, the statue had already embarked in Brazil and arrived, cut into nine pieces, at Callao. “I just found out,” the then mayor of Lima, Susana Villarán, snapped that day. The surprise unleashed suspicions in a sector of the population, which received the gift as a political and religious imposition, which also rested in an intangible historical area of ​​the city. But the die was already cast and there was such a rush that all the legal reorganization was drawn up in the space of a month. In an attempt to alleviate the discord, García assured that the work would not cost the Peruvian State a penny and that he himself had made a personal contribution of about $ 30,000. Today it is known that Odebrecht’s donations were not so much a generous act but rather a strategy to guarantee the progress of its projects, at a time when the company was preparing to launch Line 1 of the Lima Metro. CHRIST OF THE STOLEN More than the criticism for being seen as an imposition that used a patriotic sanctuary for political purposes or a gesture of governmental religiosity in an officially secular country, one of the arguments most exploited by the detractors of Christ was precisely his close bond with Odebrecht. The aftershocks worsened when the millionaire bribes that the company had paid for years to various politicians, including García, to win public works came to light. García ended his life in April 2019, when he was going to be arrested for his alleged links to the Odebrecht case. Before the confessions of the directors of the company, the statue had already earned nicknames from the naive popular and had been renamed as the Christ of Alan, the Christ of the “Gordovago” or the Christ “of the Stolen.” This is how Christian Rojas, former president of the citizen collective “Es Momento”, refers to her, which in 2019 promoted a campaign to collect signatures to request the withdrawal of that legacy from García. “For us it always represented, because of how it was developed, how it was delivered and how it is maintained, a symbol of the corruption of the Alan García government and in general of the corruption of the different governments closely linked to Odebrecht,” he told . Red. “We have a donation from Odebrecht looking at us every day. It is a monument that tries to clean itself under the cloak of religion, but it damages it,” he insisted. KITSCH IMPOSITION For the university professor of History of Art and Architecture Patricia Ciriani, this “monument to corruption” is a “national shame”, a “horrible pantomime” and “kitsch” that “consecrates ignorance” and has no value ” artistic, neither architectural, nor urban, nor religious, nor historical “. “In no way should a secular state be paying for a religious statue. (…) It is clearly an imposition of political and religious power in the Morro Solar,” Ciriani told ., who recalled that this apu (sacred mountain) was scene of capital events during the War of the Pacific between Peru and Bolivia against Chile at the end of the 19th century. The also member of the Yuyai-Uni Cultural Heritage Research Group, of the National Engineering University, highlighted the “racism” behind the “refabulation” of the white figure of Christ with European features, and criticized its “painful monumentalism” , powered by the lighting system that makes it shine at night like “a fairground object”. (c) . Agency

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