As the U.S. government built its latest stretch of border wall, Mexico made a statement of its own by laying remains of the Berlin Wall a few steps away.
The 3-ton pockmarked, gray concrete slab sits between a bullring, a lighthouse and the border wall, which extends into the Pacific Ocean.
“May this be a lesson to build a society that knocks down walls and builds bridges,” reads the inscription below the towering Cold War relic, attributed to Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero and titled, “A World Without Walls.”
For Caballero, like many of Tijuana’s 2 million residents, the U.S. wall is personal and political, a part of the city’s fabric and a fact of life. She considers herself a migrant, having moved from Oaxaca in southern Mexico when she was 2 years old with her mother, who fled “the vicious cycle of poverty, physical abuse and illiteracy.”
The installation opened Aug. 13 at a ceremony with Caballero and Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s former foreign secretary who is now a leading presidential candidate.
Caballero, 41, is married to an Iranian man who became a U.S. citizen and lives in the United States. She and their 9-year-old son used to cross the border between Tijuana and San Diego.
Caballero said that she does not know who wants to kill her but suspects payback for having seized arms from violent criminals who plague her city. “Someone is probably upset with me,” she said in her spacious City Hall office.
Shards of the Berlin Wall scattered worldwide after it crumbled in 1989, with collectors putting them in hotels, schools, transit stations and parks. Marcos Cline, who makes commercials and other digital productions in Los Angeles, needed a home for his artifact and found an ally in Tijuana’s mayor.