Statues of Mexican symbols are missing from a Los Angeles park. What’s going on?

They seem lost overnight.

Most of the bronze busts, statues, and paintings of notable Mexican historical figures collected over the decades in Los Angeles’ El Parque de Mexico in Lincoln Heights are gone.

“It pained me as a Mexican to know that something like this could be allowed to happen, that something of that greatness could be allowed to be destroyed,” said Frank Villalobos, one of the park’s original architects and founder and president of Barrio Planners Inc. , according to NBC News.

Writer and columnist for the Los Angeles Times Gustavo Arellano first drew attention to this issueNoting that among the 33 sculptures, the first to be lost was Pancho Villa, the Mexican revolutionary leader. Fortunately, the LAPD recovered and reinstalled the statue from the backyard of a resident who bragged about taking it.

Over the years, others have disappeared as well, including the likes of Lázaro Cárdenas, who served as President of Mexico between 1934 and 1940; and Ramón López-Vilarde, a noted postmodern poet and author, among others, according to the Los Angeles Times.

A total of 20 busts were lost with plaques. There are only five full-size statues left, which Villalobos notes are too big to remove. They honor Benito Juarez, who was Mexico’s first indigenous chief, Emperor Cuauhtémoc, Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan, Agustín Lara, actor and one of Mexico’s most prominent composers and boleros performers, and revolutionary leaders Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa.

“It’s a direct hit to the people of Mexico in Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights,” Villalobos added. “The only thing they couldn’t take was heavy things like horses, full standing figures – but given enough time, they’d take them down too.”

Arthur Snyder during Opening Day festivities at Parque de Mexico in Los Angeles in 1978.
Los Angeles City Councilman Arthur Snyder during opening day celebrations at Parque de Mexico in Los Angeles in 1978.Frank Villalobos / Barrio Planners Inc.

In association with the Mexican government and a member of the Los Angeles City Council Arthur Snyder (who died in 2012), memorial installations starting in the late 1970s were donated to Promote the cultural heritage of the city’s Mexican-American community and demonstrate goodwill between the United States and Mexico.

A bust of Venustiano Carranza is among the lost statues in the Parque de Mexico in Los Angeles.
A bust of Venustiano Carranza is among the lost statues in the Parque de Mexico in Los Angeles.Frank Villalobos / Barrio Planners Inc.

But today only a few pieces remain in the park, an extension of Lincoln Park in Lincoln Heights, one of the city’s oldest and predominantly Latino neighborhoods.

It’s a shame,” Villalobos said, referring to the park’s dysfunction and deterioration in recent years.

Now he worries that other locations, like Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, another landmark he helped plan, might be targeted.

The southern view of Parque de Mexico in 1976.
The southern view of Parque de Mexico, in Los Angeles, in 1976.Frank Villalobos / Barrio Planners Inc.

They are taking steps to restore El Parque de México and Lincoln Park, said Jennifer Barraza, chief of staff in the office of embattled Los Angeles City Councilman Kevin De Leon.

Both were inherited by De Leon County (CD-14) after last year’s county redistricting.

But so is the state’s attorney general, Rob Ponta Investigate the following redistricting process Los Angeles City Council Scandal Includes last year Made the most racist comments by then-Council President Nuri Martinez in conversation with other Latino leaders including De Leon, who He rejected calls for his resignation.

Despite the scandal, de Leon’s office secured multimillion-dollar funding to improve the entire area’s infrastructure, including work on roads, sidewalks, the park’s lake, tree and lighting issues, and bridging the communication gap between El Parque de Mexico and Lincoln Park.

“Everyone goes and hangs out…in Lincoln Park, but Parque Mexico has been kind of left alone especially since it’s gotten worse. People don’t spend much time there, and then there’s been a homelessness problem in the area for years,” Barque said. “Over the five years.” Next up, I think this area will look a lot different.”

Brazza explained that the office is working with the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks to analyze the extent of the damage and find out the cost of the lost art to decide whether they should install new art, and pay out-of-pocket discretionary money to recover the missing pieces. He held discussions with community members about protecting the remaining sculptures.

Barazza said the office hopes to receive the analysis report by the summer or early fall to advance restoration plans.

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