On Thursday, Union Protectíva de Santa Fé, one of the oldest Hispanic fraternal organizations in the United States, announced it was suing Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber and the City of Santa Fe “for calling for and allowing the destruction of the Soldier’s Monument, which was erected in 1868 to honor Hispanic veterans for their service, and desecrating the Plaza”
According to a press release from the group, “The complaint explains how Mayor Webber violated the law by spending, and attempting to spend, taxpayer funds to alter the historic Santa Fe Plaza. The lawsuit seeks remedies such as halting Mayor Webber’s plans to remove and alter the Obelisk, and to force him to comply with the law by restoring the Santa Fe Plaza and Soldier’s Monument to their pre-vandalism states.”
The suit would cripple Webber’s plans to have an independent commission make a decision on the statue’s fate.
“Mayor Webber has greatly harmed every veteran, every Hispanic, every New Mexican, and all tourists with his blatant disrespect of the law that protects the Soldier’s Monument and Santa Fe Plaza,” said Virgil Vigil, President of Union Protectíva de Santa Fé. “We are asking the courts to stop this racial injustice toward all Hispanic people and northern New Mexicans, and to return honor to all of our veterans who served and sacrificed for this nation by restoring the Monument.”
For Vigil, a Vietnam War veteran and helicopter pilot, honoring the veterans is a must.
“This is respecting our soldiers that gave their lives to maintain the freedom that we have and to end slavery,” he said in an interview Monday, near the grey wooden box that covers the remnants of the obelisk.
“Mayor Webber violated New Mexico law when he disregarded the clear legal protections for the Soldier’s Monument and Santa Fe Plaza,” said Attorney Ken Stalter. “We want not only justice for those harmed by Mayor Webber’s actions but also a strong precedent protecting the thousands of historic sites that honor all races, creeds, and religions across New Mexico.”
Previously, the group has gone after Webber for allowing the destruction of the monument, including a shouting match between the mayor and members of Union Protectíva. Webber got triggered after the group took out a large ad in the Santa Fe Reporter blasting the mayor for caving to Marxist groups to tear down the age-old obelisk.