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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Petition circulating to remove former Mexican president’s name from San Diego statue

    Petition circulating to remove former Mexican president’s name from Old Town statue

    [A statue of a Mexican charro, donated by Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz in 1970 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the presidio (fort) in San Diego.
    (Kristian Carreon/San Diego Union-Tribune)


    Mexico’s former President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz allegedly ordered the 1968 massacre against peaceful protesters.

    By ANDREA LOPEZ-VILLAFAÑA
    JULY 15, 2020 6 AM

    SAN DIEGO — An online petition on Change.org asks the city of San Diego to remove a plaque from a statue in Old Town that bears the name of Mexico’s former President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, who was accused of ordering a 1968 massacre against peaceful protesters.

    The three-ton statue in Old Town’s Presidio Park is of a charro, a traditional horseman from Mexico. It was gifted to San Diego by Mexico on November 10, 1970, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Presidio fort, according to a 1970 San Diego Union article.


    Today petitioners are asking the city to replace the plaque below the statue that reads in Spanish, “Given to the city of San Diego by Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, president of the Republic of Mexico, November, 1970.” The petition, created on July 4, had close to 300 signatures as of Tuesday.


    “It’s a beautiful statue but the association made with Ordaz ... is negative to the city of San Diego and San Diegans,” said Matthew Lake, who created the petition.


    The El Charro Mexicano statue stands on a marble base in Presidio Park, which overlooks Old Town and borders Interstate 8.

    [The plaque below the statue translates to “Donated to the city of San Diego by President of the Mexican Republic Gustavo Diaz Ordaz.”
    (Kristian Carreon/San Diego Union-Tribune)

    Ordaz served as president of Mexico from 1964 to 1970. Several days before the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, government snipers and soldiers fired on students protesting inside a plaza in the capital.

    Government officials claimed at the time that only a handful died, but witnesses and reports by foreign correspondents contended hundreds had died.


    The event became known as the 1968 massacre at Tlateloco. The death toll is still unknown. Ordaz was never tried for the killings.

    Lake, who lives in El Cajon but frequents Old Town, created the petition after learning about Ordaz’s alleged involvement in the massacre and that cities in Mexico were removing plaques bearing his name.


    “The reason why I felt so passionate about it is because I can relate it to what is going on right now,” Lake said.


    Protests calling for racial justice have erupted across the United States in recent months, including in San Diego. In late May police deployed tear gas and fired bean-bag rounds at protesters in La Mesa after a peaceful protest turned into rioting.


    Also around the country, Confederate flags and statues are being removed from public spaces.

    [
    San Diego Union article on the statue gifted to the city of San Diego by Mexico in 1970.
    (U-T Archives )

    In 1970 the statue and plaque received a warm welcome. More than 250 people attended the unveiling and dedication of the statue, which was created by Mexican sculptor Juan F. Olaguibel and was valued at $70,000 at the time.

    San Diego’s mayor at the time, Frank Curran, said the statue was “a demonstration of international economic cooperation upon which both nations will enjoy continued prosperity and cultural growth.”


    Now the city is reviewing what to do with the plaque.

    “The City is currently conducting a thorough review of the plaque verbiage and will determine the best course of action that benefits the community and maintains the artistic integrity of the ‘El Charro’ sculpture,” wrote Tim Graham, a city spokesman, in an email Tuesday.


    Linda Acuña, chair of the Old Town San Diego Community Planning Group, said in an email Tuesday the planning group is “fact finding” in conjunction with the Old Town Chamber of Commerce to collect more information, she said.


    Iris Engstrand, history professor emeritus at the University of Southern California, said the statue represents a period in history, not the president’s actions. She said it would be better to have a plaque that describes the history of Mexican cowboys and why they are relevant to San Diego’s history.


    “It’s an emblem of life; it’s not political in any way,” she said. “It was a gift from the people of Mexico to the city of San Diego, not by the president.”

    https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com...ld-town-statue
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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