Uruguay switches back on decision to melt, recast Nazi bronze eagle
The bronze figure was found 17 years ago on a sunken ship off Uruguay's coast.
Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou said on Sunday that national authorities are backtracking on a decision to melt a bronze Nazi eagle and recast it as a dove of peace.
The bronze figure was found 17 years ago on a sunken ship off Uruguay's coast. It weighs 350 kilos (771 pounds) and was recovered from a World War II-era German destroyer named the Graf Spee.
On Friday, the head of State told reporters that this "symbol of violence and war" would be turned into a "symbol of peace and union."
However, the plan was met by rife opposition by both cultural and political figures.
On Sunday, the President backtracked on his plan to melt and recast the eagle, noting: "There is an overwhelming majority that does not share this decision."
"And if one wants to generate peace, the first thing one has to do is to generate union," he added. "Clearly this has not generated it."
The Graf Spree, the ship from which the bronze eagle was recovered, was a battleship which partook in one of the first naval skirmishes of World War II.
Its captain, Hans Langsdorff, sanked the ship on December 17, 1939, following the Battle of the River Plate which took place off the Uruguayan coast.
After the figure was discovered in 2006 and displayed in Montevideo, the German government warned that the exhibition of Nazi paraphernalia would attract Nazi sympathizers.
German authorities said in 2010 that they want "to prevent the remains of the symbols of the Nazi regime from becoming commercialized," and discourage the sale to private collectors.