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A giant 'Christ of the Pacific' statue is erected in Peru

June 23, 2011 |  2:39 pm

Alan Garcia Christ Pacifico Peru

The outgoing president of Peru, Alan Garcia, is bringing a gargantuan statue of Jesus to a hill overlooking the capital, Lima.

The "Christ of the Pacific" monument, set to be inaugurated later this month on the Morro Solar hill in southern Lima, is a 120-foot structure featuring a white statue of Jesus that is 72 feet tall. The statue,  made of resin, has its arms outstretched, resembling the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue overlooking Rio de Janeiro.

According to reports, Garcia described the project as a personal dream and a "gift" to Peru before he leaves office in late July. "I want it to be a figure that blesses Peru and protects Lima," the president said (links in Spanish). 

The monument has sparked controversy, with opponents accusing Garcia of having a conflict of interest because he co-funded the project with an organization that holds contracts with Peru's government, reports said. President-elect Ollanta Humala, who assumes office on July 28, has suggested he supports the project, saying it will improve the city's panorama.

But Peruvians appeared split over the new addition to Lima's landscape, with some questioning the wisdom of using a religious symbol and others doubting the president's sincerity. "A monument as great as his humility," said one online commenter at El Comercio.

"Christ of the Pacific" is set to be inaugurated June 29.

Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Peruvian President Alan Garcia oversees final preparations for the Christ of the Pacific monument in Lima on June 19. Credit: Government of Peru

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