Boston Pol Wants Citgo Sign Gone After Chavez 'Devil' Comment

A city councilor wants to take down the famed Citgo sign in Kenmore Square in response to controversial remarks by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, who called President Bush "the devil."

The Citgo sign has been a Boston landmark for decades, in part because it is so prominently visible over the left-field wall at Fenway Park.

But after Chavez called President Bush "the devil" during a speech Wednesday at the United Nations, Councilor Jerry McDermott said the sign has to go. Citgo is subsidiary of Venezuela's state oil company. McDermott wants replace the sign with an American flag.

"Given the hatred of the United States displayed by dictator Hugo Chavez, it would be more fitting to see an American flag when you drive through Kenmore Square," McDermott told The Boston Herald. "I think people would soon forget the Citgo sign."

Citgo paid $1 million to refurbish the sign last year, said company spokesman David McCollum, who downplayed McDermott's proposed nonbinding resolution.

"We leave the politics to the politicians," he said.

The Red Sox had no comment, but fan Peter Garmley said he'd consider supporting the resolution.

"It's an icon, but I'm a little on the fence, because I think you should invest in what you believe in," said the Natick resident, who said he once climbed the Citgo tower.

An attempt by Citgo to dismantle the sign in the early 1980s was abandoned after strong opposition from the city.