The Southwest

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The U.S. - Mexican Border: Ciudad Juárez • La Equis

La Equis

May 6, 2015 —
One of the first things I do when I visit El Paso, TX, is walk to the top of Rim Road. The two-minute walk from my family home leads to a panoramic view of the City of El Paso, with the mountainous view in the background of Ciudad Juárez, México.

This particular view always strikes me because it shows how close the two border cities are: the large blue BHS letters in the center of this photo (which stand for Bowie High School) are located off of the border highway in the City of El Paso. The large red "X" just behind that is in Cuidad Juárez. To me, this view represents a tale of two cities, two countries and two ways of life.

The large "X" was not always there. It appeared in 2013, and it has a story behind it.

"The "X," or "La Equis," is a monument created by internationally known Mexican sculptor Sebastian — whose real name is Enrique Carbajal González. It is a symbol full of meanings, a mark to welcome people (to Mexico) and to demonstrate the ancestral Mexican culture.

According to Sebastian, the sculpture is a tribute to former Mexican President Benito Juárez, who changed the spelling of the country's name in the 1800s, from Méjico to Mexico. The two intersecting arms of the "X" symbolize the mestizaje, or the merging of two cultures in Mexico — the indigenous people and the Spanish. Being the first president with Aztec blood, Benito Juárez is credited with bringing together the two races.

Sebastian also said the "X", which resembles a cross, is an Aztec religious symbol — the Nahui-Ollin — of the ancestral Mexicans. To him, it symbolizes the blood sacrifices offered to the gods during the Aztec times.

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