the Equis, a beacon in the desert

Photos: Diego Murcia
By Diego Murcia

On the border between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso rises one of the modern wonders hidden, day by day, identifies this part of the world unequivocally.

It is a “horses” giant, erected in Ciudad Juarez, near the south bank of the Rio Grande, a few meters from the border fence with the United States.

The author of the design is the Mexican sculptor Enrique Carbajal González, also known as "Sebastian", whose pieces are known internationally and have been adopted by various cities around the world.

As revealed when Sebastian unveiled the concept of this colossal construction, The sculpture is a tribute to former President Benito Juarez, who changed the spelling of the name of the country in the nineteenth century, Mexico to Mexico. The two arms that intersect to form the "X" symbolizing miscegenation, or the fusion of two cultures in Mexico: Indians and Spaniards, a phenomenon that is still happening even today in this border.

Sebastian also said the "X", that resembles a cross, Aztec is a religious symbol, el "Nahui-Ollin", of ancestral Mexican. This, He said, It symbolizes the blood sacrifices offered to the gods during Aztec times. But, too, border see this representation to a tribute in memory of the victims that the violence generated by drug trafficking has left in the Chihuahuan city.

A high price for a project half

Initially, The sculpture was scheduled for completion in spring 2012. It began to build in 2004 and after two municipal administrations was opened 9 years later. Finally, the effigy was finalized 24 May 2013, at 50 anniversary of the delivery of the Chamizal Park to Mexico.

For example, Its construction was suspended for three years when the first three-year term of former mayor Hector Murguia finished 2007. Then, his successor, the former mayor José Reyes Ferriz, He decided to cancel because it did not consider a priority. These municipal movements were a reflection of thoughts on the subject by the border. And that, those years, border criticized the cost of the structure.

The price paid Sebastian City Hall for the conceptualization of the structure and assembly of this piece, commissioned by the city, It costs about 2.8 millions. They also invested about 3.2 millions of dollars to erect Square "La Mexicanidad", an esplanade that has a theater to the outdoors, gardens and a shopping plaza used for annual events. As well, there is a space in front of an acoustic shell that can accommodate thousands of people to enjoy music performed by local and international artists.

A lighthouse in the middle of the desert

This monument is about 62 meters high, that is to say, It is the size of a building 15 O 17 floors, and weighing 800 tons three times higher than the Statue of Liberty. That means it can be seen from different points of both sides of the border and has become a landmark for locals and visitors.

The "X" is hollow inside, and within the original project it was planned to open an art gallery and a restaurant with bay windows you could see different pictures of both cities. A inside the same there would be an elevator with which it would access these facilities. But nevertheless, those intentions have remained as urban myths and including the fact that the iron structure becomes a large oven in the summer, due to the high temperatures generated in this desert area.

Another outstanding issue was that of the museum dedicated to the history of the border or Juarez and El Paso, to be built on the square under the sculpture. But nevertheless, "Plans changed" and the museum no longer built on the site.

Although the project was not completed as projected, This site is the meeting point of both cities and a symbol where the cultures of both countries meet regardless of the occasion or excuse.