When the Statue of Liberty stayed in Iztapalapa

When the Statue of Liberty stayed in Iztapalapa

By Alejandro Peña
hecho por valedores

In the midsts of 1985, a surprising rumor began to spread: you could find through the streets of Iztapalapa the famous Statue of Liberty, the same one that has its residence on Liberty Island, in front of New York, USA. Hurriedly, many young people went to corroborate the story and found themselves face to face with that lady who wears a crown of spikes on her head and holds a torch up high.

The residents of the area had already become used to this rare event, but people who traveled from other parts of the country did not miss the extraordinary opportunity to take photos with the colossal woman. One of the young people who managed to immortalize the moment was Miguel Ángel Pulido Martínez, who, with some friends, left extremely special images for the history of Mexico.

(Photo by Miguel Ángel Pulido)

The monument was located in the plains of Guelatao, between the Vicente Guerrero Unit and the Cabeza de Juárez, where Cuitláhuac Park and several housing units are currently located. In the end, it turned out to be a replica that was built between May and June 1985 on Mexican soil.

Renzo Gostoli’s photos

Many comments say that a renowned Argentine photographer who lived in the country at the time, Renzo Gostoli, found out about the event and decided to go to the place to immortalize the scene. Renzo worked with the National Ballet between 1978 and 1986, covering the traditional September military parades in honor of Mexican independence and recording rescue work after the earthquake that tore Mexico City apart on September 19, 1985.

“In 1985, when I was living in Mexico, I heard a comment that a fake statue of liberty remained intact on the ground. I started to investigate and found it on a hill in Iztapalapa, a popular peripheral tourist center in Mexico City and I was able to photograph it. But what surprised me was that this statue became part of the local landscape, as if it had always been there”, the photographer commented years later.

Gostoli took impressive photos of the “statue” that duplicated only the top of the original work. These images are the ones that today allow us to appreciate the rural landscape of Iztapalapa in the 1980s as an underdeveloped natural framework that contrasts with the woman who represents the freedom of one of the greatest powers in the world.

The Adventures of Remus Williams

The Statue of Liberty arrived in Mexico to appear in the film directed by Guy Hamilton, starring Fred Ward, Joel Gray, and Wilford Brimley.

The film is titled “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins”, in Spanish “Remo Williams: sin armas, pero mortífero”; tells the story of a tough New York cop who is recruited by an organization run by the President of the United States and whose mission is to take down corrupt politicians and officials. To achieve his goal, he is previously trained by a Korean fighting master. In the footage scenes recorded in Iztapalapa alternate with scenes shot in “The Big Apple” and has the style of the Agent 007 movies, very popular in those years.

The main reason for this “visit” was the notable savings in production costs; The relative laxity in the granting of permits was also taken into account and, of course, the ability to avoid the setbacks involved in recording on the royal monument. In addition, the impetuous wind and flat terrain of Iztapalapa were perfect for shooting the sequences that would show actor Fred Ward on the figure’s arm.

The tape was distributed only on VHS, without reaching theaters, so various speculations arose about the film that “actually” would have been filmed. Many assured that everything was part of a new installment of King Kong, others speculated that it was Terminator and some even suggested that the continuation of Planet of the Apes (1968) was recorded.

“Remo Williams” earned an Oscar nomination for “Best Makeup” and a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Supporting Actor” (Joel Grey).

Alejandro Peña

Valedor y periodista a tiempo completo. Zurdo, cinéfilo, amante de la lectura, la música, el café y el chocolate. En contra de las farsas sociales. Otro venezolano emigrante.

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