MEXICO CITY—The government of Azerbaijan has suspended consideration of about $3.8 billion in potential investment projects in Mexico because Mexico City authorities responded to public pressure and removed a statue of the late leader of the former Soviet republic, Haydar Aliyev, reported the Associated Press last week.
Azerbaijan’s embassy confirmed Thursday that Ambassador Ilgar Mukhtarov has said investment projects in various fields are frozen because of the statue’s removal. The plans apparently included some potential projects in Mexico’s energy sector, said the AP.
In January. the mayor of Mexico City Miguel Angel Macera said that Aliyev’s controversial statue would be moved from a park on the city’s main avenue after Mexico’s Federal Administrative Court dismissed a complaint filed by Azerbaijan’s Embassy to prevent city authorities to dismantle and remove the statue
The statue was erected in the summer of 2012, after the Azeri government invested a reported $10 million in renovation and the beautification of the park and the statue. The giant statue had raised concerns with citizens and protests from activists who decried the city’s decision to house a statue of a known dictator along such figures as Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi.
In late November of 2012, a three-person panel appointed to investigate the erection of the statue in the city’s Reforma Boulevard recommended that the statue be removed, prompting Mukhtarov to threaten retaliation against the Mexican government, including the closure of Baku’s representation in Mexico.
At the time, Muktarov also said Azerbaijan would cancel $4 billion in investment projects for Mexico, saying if the then Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard “decides to remove the monument, we will cancel the projects, close the embassy, it would hurt the relationship between the two countries, and it would not be good for his image to be the person who prevented a $4-billion investment.”