NPR Story
12:11 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Expensive "X" Marks The Spot In Juarez

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico — The latest art installation in the Mexican border city of Juárez is a nearly 20-story tall sculpture in the shape of a giant "X". Despite its controversial construction costs, the inauguration for the new monument was well attended.

On Friday 120,000 border residents flooded the plaza surrounding the colossal "X" which is now a permanent addition to the skyline shared by El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez. Mayor Hector Murguia stood at the sculpture's base and delivered a dedication speech.

"This new space is for the people of Juárez to come together," he said.

The "X" represents Mexico's fusion of Spanish and indigenous roots. In the late 1800s Mexico's first indigenous president, Benito Juárez, changed the spelling of his country's name from Mejico to Mexico.

Many criticized the price of the project, which cost the city more than $6 million. Others, like Maria Sanchez, were more welcoming.

"This is a good thing because it promotes culture in Juárez," she said.

Sanchez said she wasn't aware of how much the sculpture cost. She lives in a neighborhood of mostly factory workers where she said the public parks are in ruins. As head of her neighborhood association, she said they're slowly working on improvements.

The X sculpture still needs more work. When completed, it will have an observation deck open to the public.

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