Friday, April 27, 2012

"Nothing Remains Quite the Same" ... Jimmy Buffet

Benito Juarez - National President

The head of a very distinguished-looking man rests on the ground, glaring a thousand-yard-stare, wondering how this came about.  His blade-shaped nose, piercing eyes, and neatly combed hair give him an air of quiet authority. 

"A victim of a serial killer?"  You ask.  No, the victim of a politician's whim. 

"Let's give Benito Juárez a new head." 

And so the painted fiberglass head was removed from his statue and a new version glued in its place.  The newer head is slightly larger, is turned a bit more to the left, and has a few more realistic aging details. 

The real Benito Juárez is remembered as being a progressive reformer dedicated to democracy and equal rights for his nation's indigenous peoples.  He was also a staunch defender of Mexican national sovereignty.  Elected President of Mexico twice, he died in office in 1872.

Decorated for Independence Day
In the past four years the Isla Mujeres statue dedicated to this distinguished gentleman has gone through a number of changes.  First his black fiberglass statue was painted a dazzling gold.

Then the paint on his protective barricade was changed - in tune with the seasons, or for special events, or in the political colours of the outgoing or the incoming Mayors. 

The white pillars were bathed in pink lighting in celebration of Breast Cancer Survivors, and then draped in red, white, and green bunting for Independence Day. 

Celebrating March 21st birthday for Benito Juarez

Next came bright green and eye-popping orange in celebration of his birthday on March 21st.  Then two weeks later the colours were toned-down with the current white and green combination.  For us, it's an amusing past-time to spot the changes around the island.  Just down the street from our house there is a small park surrounded by a tall fence made out of plastic PVC pipe and concrete. 

At various times the fence, and the nearby benches have been painted white and turquoise, pink and light blue, orange and dark blue, now white, pale blue and green. 

One of the colour combinations on fence
If you happen to peer over the edge of the wall, you can read the entire colour history in the various haphazard paint jobs. 

Bits and pieces of every previous colour remain on the sea-side of the wall, while the street-side is uniformly painted the new colour choice.

The other side of the park wall

On the eastern seawall the paint jobs are even more interesting.  The wall has been painted a kaleidoscope of colours over the years, including very detailed depictions of various countries national flags, or paintings of turtles and fish.  It is currently a hodge-podge of designs as the former colours fade, wear away.  Waiting for new directives from city hall.

Eastern seawall painted with country flags

The most entertaining story we have heard about the public face-lifts concerns the new seawall on the western side of the island, and the beautiful new whale shark statue. 

As dozens of workers rushed to complete the sculpture in time for the official opening of the seawall by the Governor of Quintana Roo, the surface finish of the boat-shaped base was suddenly changed from all blue tiles to a small amount of blue depicting the water, and the balance of the boat-shaped base was covered in bright red tiny tiles. 

Whale shark statue and boat-shaped base in PRI colours

Red being the colour of the PRI political party, and of the current Governor of the state of Quintana Roo - the person that authorized the state funding of  the seawall and the whale shark statue.

Blue is the colour of PAN, the arch-rivals of PRI.

Blue would not do!

I wonder what Benito Juárez would have thought about all this fuss? 

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