New mural to put controversial Zero Tolerance immigration policy in spotlight

California

SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — One of San Diego’s most iconic destinations is Chicano Park deep in the heart of Barrio Logan. It sits under the east end of the Coronado Bridge.

On many of the concrete supports for the bridge, colorful and provocative murals have been painted.

Another, perhaps its most controversial mural ever, is scheduled to be unveiled next week.

Artist Mario Chacon. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

Border Report got an opportunity to see some of the work ahead of time, getting a behind the scenes look at the mural and its significance.

One of the artists involved, Mario Chacon, said the main goal was to memorialize a man named Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, who 10 years ago, was apprehended and ultimately beaten to death by 12 Border Patrol agents.

At the time, Hernandez was 42 years old.

His death generated protests after a video surfaced of the agents striking and beating Hernandez, who was on the ground handcuffed.

Hernandez was an undocumented migrant who was in the process of being deported when a dispute over a bottle of water ensued. The medical examiner ruled Hernandez died of a heart attack during the incident.

Many in the community were outraged when no charges were brought against any of the agents involved.

Hernandez’s family did receive a settlement after a civil case was brought against the Border Patrol and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Chacon said the community has always sought justice and this will help with the healing.

“The central purpose is to commemorate Anastasio, he’s the central piece in the mural,” said Chacon. “Many of the other paintings are about other incidents that have happened since the Zero Tolerance policy by the Trump administration was implemented.”

Incidents like the father and daughter who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande in Texas; the death of a girl named Jaqueline, who was the first child to die in custody after the policy was instituted; there are also the faces of children being held in custody wrapped in metallic blankets.

There are other depictions throughout the giant mural, which has been in the works for many months.

One of the paintings in the mural depicts the father and daughter who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

“Murals, in general, are permanent statements that create growth, unity and bring people together,” Chacon said.

The work is supposed to be done by next week when the scaffolding is expected to come down. It was paid for by grants and contributions.

World renown artist Victor Ochoa, who has other murals in the park, is also involved in this project.

Seeing all the works of art in the park are free to the public.

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