It’s hard to resist focusing on Guanajuato’s landmark people perched up high. Muses grace the roofline of Teatro Juarez. Father Hidalgo, famed for his grito igniting the revolt against Spain, stands near the city’s presa, or dam.
The giant statue of El Pipila lords over the city. As pipila means a female turkey, the nickname given to Juan Jose de los Reyes Martínez Amaro (1782–1863) probably was not meant as flattery. But El Pipila earned respect as a hero of the Mexican Revolution when he strapped a large stone on his back for protection against weapons above to storm the Spaniards holed up in Alhondiga de Granaditas. He slathered the granary’s large wooden door with tar and set it ablaze, allowing the citizens of Guanajuato to overtake the forces inside.
The woman representing peace who presides over Plaza de la Paz, the city’s main plaza, was commissioned by President Porfirio Diaz in 1903. Her peaceful reign soon was interrupted. President Diaz did not care for his opponent in the 1910 election so he locked him up in jail. When Diaz declared himself victorious, the citizenry sensed the election results were rigged. Diaz was forced from power, and years of civil war marked by frequent violent changes in presidents followed.
Wish the threat of locking opponents up and talking about rigged elections did not sound familiar.