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Mexico's giant mustachioed statue spotted in unglamorous conditions

October 4, 2010 |  1:35 pm

Coloso statue

In the afterglow of Mexico's lavish bicentennial celebrations in mid-September, The Times' Ken Ellingwood told us about the popular intrigue surrounding an enormous sculptural statue that was key to the official party on the night of Sept. 15. The "Paul Bunyanesque" Colossus statue, or El Coloso, was lifted in segments to its 60-feet height on the Zocalo square in Mexico City during the climactic "grito" for Mexico's Independence, a figure meant as an anonymous homage to Mexico's heroes.

Since then, conspiracy-minded Mexicans couldn't stop talking about the thing. From Ellingwood's story:

Was El Coloso modeled after (mustachioed) former President Vicente Fox? Ranchera crooner Vicente Fernandez? Slain presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio?

Maybe it's the effect of the country's drug war, but some people insist he resembles Jesus Malverde, patron saint of narco-trafficking. Someone suggested playfully via Twitter that the statue was really a Trojan horse — once inside the security perimeter of the plaza, or Zocalo, drug-gang hit men would come pouring out.

The questions remained, and also the criticisms. Mexico spent about $54 million on the bicentennial celebrations. And keep in mind, 2010 is also the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, so expect another big party when that date hits in November.

But what happened to El Coloso?

Last week the Mexico City daily El Universal went with an update on the status of the statue, publishing a photograph that showed El Coloso in less-than glorious circumstances: broken apart, draped over, and languishing like a castaway in a construction lot belonging to the federal education ministry, which organized the bicentennial events.

Education officials have said there are still plans to one day display El Coloso in a public place. But the mustachioed giant will apparently have live a bit unglamorously until that day comes.

(In case you missed the big party last month in Mexico, the Boston Globe has some fantastic images worth revisiting.)

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: El Coloso, rising over the Zocalo square in Mexico City on Sept. 15. Credit: Getty Images

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