June 18, 2019 / 5:00 PM / 4 months ago

Mexico's leader willing to repatriate remains of strongman Diaz from Paris

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico June 10, 2019. REUTERS/Gustavo Graf/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s left-leaning President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday he would support the idea of repatriating the remains of late strongman Porfirio Diaz if the bones of a revolutionary who fought him could also be sent back to Mexico.

Diaz, who spent a total of 31 years in power until 1911, is buried in Paris. He is often cited by Mexico’s left as a toxic example of dictatorship. Lopez Obrador said if his remains are sent home, he would also want those of Catarino Garza, who fought unsuccessfully to topple Diaz, to be repatriated as well.

Diaz’s decades in power are known as the “Porfiriato” for his absolute dominance of the country while president.

“I have no problem bringing back the remains of Porfirio Diaz, if and only if it’s requested by the family,” Lopez Obrador said at his regular morning news conference.

“If this happens, you could at the same time bring back the remains of revolutionaries who confronted him,” said the president, mentioning Garza and calling him, “a forgotten revolutionary.” Garza led an 1891 revolt near the U.S. border.

“He was pursued by the Texas Rangers, by the U.S. Army and the Army of Mexico at the time,” the president said. Garza was buried in Panama, where Lopez Obrador once visited his grave.

Tensions remain on Mexico’s border with Texas to this day, with the United States threatening to impose tariffs on Mexican goods if Lopez Obrador’s government does not do more to stop undocumented migrants from crossing the border.

Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Dave Graham; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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