EFEMexico City

Porfirio Diaz, who ran Mexico from 1876 to 1911 before being toppled and forced into exile, is a national hero entitled to a proper burial in the Aztec nation, his great-grandson said Wednesday.

His ancestor's dying wish was to be buried in Mexico, Porfirio Diaz Nuñez told Radio Formula.

Gen. Porfirio Diaz (1830-1915), a hero of Mexico's struggle in the 1860s to expel the French troops who sought to install the Emperor Maximilian, was elected president in 1876 and clung to power for 35 years through a combination of political machinations, brute force and patronage.

His reign, known as the Porfiriato, was a period of economic development accompanied by a growing concentration of wealth and repression of popular demands.

Exiled to France in 1911, Diaz died on July 2, 1915, and was laid to rest in a Paris cemetery.

The moment for repatriating his great-grandfather's remains will come "when the people of Mexico have sufficient maturity to recognize that we are human, that there are mistakes, but it is time for reconciliation," Diaz Nuñez said.

Successive Mexican governments have refused the family's requests to bring home the body of the former ruler.

Acknowledging that it would be possible to repatriate the remains privately without creating a political controversy, Diaz Nuñez said such a solution would be "very selfish, because it is up to the people of Mexican to give him the place he deserves."