On August 8th, an Ecuadorian lawmaker called for the removal of a statue of Néstor Kirchner from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Secretariat Headquarters in the city of Mitad del Mundo, near Quito.
Both late President Nestor Kirchner and former President and current Senator Cristina Kirchner were embroiled in corruption scandals throughout their political careers. The latest notebook scandal—considered by many to be the most explosive corruption scandal in the history of Argentina—revolves around alleged widespread corruption in the Argentine public works sector, under the direction of the Kirchner camp.
The lawmaker, Byron Suquilanda of the liberal CREO party, described the existence of the statue as a “defense of corruption”, calling on the “patriotic feeling” of Ecuador’s representatives to remove the statue.
Today, the municipality of Quito removed a bust of former President Néstor Kirchner from a park located just north of the capital.
“True to the principles and values that the people of Quito have always defended, and to preserve the integrity of the public space, on Tuesday, August 21st, the Municipality of Quito removed said monument of the former Argentine head of state,” read a statement released by the municipality.
Quiero informar a los ecuatorianos que el @MunicipioQuito ha retirado de la Plaza Argentina el monumento del exgobernante argentino, Néstor Kichner, de acuerdo con los principios y valores de Quito. pic.twitter.com/HJsOBid3RX
— Mauricio Rodas (@MauricioRodasEC) August 21, 2018
The statue had been located in Plaza Argentina, and was authorized in 2014 by the former mayor Augusto Barrera, who ruled under then-President Rafael Correa. The former Argentine Minister of Social Development, Alicia Kirchner, had also participated in the statue’s inauguration.
The official communiqué released by the government states that the monument is currently being stored in the municipal warehouses. In the next few hours, it will be delivered to the Argentine embassy in Quito, allowing Argentine diplomats to “resolve the statue’s destiny.”
On the other hand, a decision has not yet been made on the Kirchner monument located at the entrance of the UNASUR headquarters in Quito, the removal of which Suquilanda had originally requested. The removal of this particular statue will ultimately depend on a joint decision adopted by the 12 member countries of the union.
Kirchner had been the first Secretary General of UNASUR, and one of the main promoters of the branch of the institution that focused on social and political integration.
In calling for the removal of the statue, Suquilanda stated: “You all know about the consequences of corruption in the Argentine government… the monument of the former Argentine president has no place in front of the UNASUR building, because he is not a good example for Ecuadorians, and he is not the representation of Latin American integrity for which the UNASUR was created.”