Capitol Alert

CHP says no leads on ‘El Soldado’ statue vandalism near Capitol

The crumbling El Soldado statue near the California Capitol got a new injury on July 9 -- the tip of the soldier’s rifle was broken off in an apparent act of vandalism.
The crumbling El Soldado statue near the California Capitol got a new injury on July 9 -- the tip of the soldier’s rifle was broken off in an apparent act of vandalism. The Sacramento Bee

El Soldado, the dilapidated memorial to Latino soldiers across from California’s Capitol, has a new injury.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating what appears to be an act of vandalism against the 64-year-old statue – the tip of soldier’s rifle was broken off and discovered on July 9. Sgt. Steve White said a report has not been completed and that there are not any leads, witnesses, or video footage of the incident.

Steve Ybarra, a retired attorney and former deputy secretary of the California Health and Welfare Agency, believes that the vandalism is a hate crime directed at Latinos and immigration policy. He said the tip of the gun is being repaired by a stone mason.

White said that the CHP has no reason to support the theory that the vandalism was provoked by tensions over race or immigration issues.

Benefactors of the Mexican-American Veterans Memorial – known as El Soldado – have been seeking funds to rehabilitate the memorial for years. The statue honors Latinos who served in the armed services and was constructed in 1951 by the fund-raising efforts of Mexican-American women who raised money through church raffles and sales of homemade tamales.

Ybarra said that the funding for building a garden around the statue has already been collected. A year ago, the memorial committee accepted a $50,000 donation from Wells Fargo for rehabilitation.

Catherine Douglas Moran: 916-321-1202

  Comments