Friday, June 24, 2016

Unwanted Russian Gift Finally Finds a Home

Puerto Rico found itself the recipient of an embarrassing birthday gift. When the gift was revealed, it turned out to be a super huge statue of Columbus. It is a 600-ton monument, which stands at 350 ft tall. It was given as a gift of friendship by its Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli in 1992 to celebrate the 500 year of the discovery of America.

Puerto Rico said: "Thank you," and then promptly hid it in a warehouse. Liberal activists pin many Puerto Rican social ills on Columbus, artists complained about the style, and the government complained about the expense of putting it somewhere. But no one wanted insult the giver of the gift, so it was just stored away.

One mayor thought to put it up in San Juan harbor as a tourist attraction, but there was a big backlash against him. The statue bounced from town to town and it was finally sold to a private investor. Once it was out of the hands of the government, things began to happen.

It has now finally been installed in the city of Arecibo where it is hoped it will become a tourist destination.  Despite the criticism of many about better use of scarce government funds, there were actually no public funds spent on the statue or it's construction.