Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou announced on Friday that a bronze Nazi eagle that was kept in one of the country's naval storehouses will be melted down and recast as a dove of peace, according to a New York Times report.
The bronze eagle, which was salvaged from the Rio de La Plata by private interests in 2006, had been stuck in legal limbo for years due to a state order preventing its sale for fear of glorifying Nazi atrocities.
The marine salvagers had signed an agreement to share all profits from finds they made 50/50 with Uruguayan Navy two years earlier.
In 2019, a court ordered the Uruguayan government to sell the eagle and uphold its previous agreement with the marine salvagers, by providing them with half the profits.
However, both German and Jewish groups warned against the move for fear that it could help promote or glorify the Nazis.
The salvagers eventually sued the Uruguayan government because the eagle had not yet been sold, prompting a 2021 Supreme Court decision in which the Uruguayan government was found to be the legal owner of the eagle.
“The signal of our country to our people, to the outside world, is we are a society of peace, we are a society of unity and we practice it,” said President Lacalle Pou at a news conference at Montevideo.
“This idea of transforming a symbol of hatred, of war, of atrocity into a symbol of peace well, I feel very honored to be given the responsibility to carry out this task,”Pablo Atchugarry
Renowned artist to make dove sculpture
The president announced that the well-known Uruguayan artist, Pablo Atchugarry, has been chosen to create a marble dove that will serve as the basis for the new metal recast.
Mr Atchugarry is described by Opera Gallery as being best known for his large marble sculptures which resemble monoliths of early civilizations, They call his work "simultaneously abstract and numinous, massive and delicately carved."
Already well-known internationally and abroad, Atchugarry has had his monumental public sculptures installed in various spaces throughout Europe and Latin America such as in the sculpture garden of the Uruguayan Government.
“This idea of transforming a symbol of hatred, of war, of atrocity into a symbol of peace - well, I feel very honored to be given the responsibility to carry out this task,” Mr. Atchugarry said.