Workers fit harnesses around a statue of Don Diego de Vargas on Thursday, June 18, during the statue’s removal from Cathedral Park.

Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber said Tuesday he has met with the Caballeros de Vargas organization to discuss how to address a misplaced statue of conquistador Don Diego de Vargas that the nonprofit donated to the city.

The organization recently discovered the statue has been stored for months in the courtyard of a Santa Fe home and business, rather than in a secure city facility, following its removal in June from Cathedral Park.

Webber said in a statement issued Tuesday he had been “misled” by a department head about the statue’s whereabouts.

Caballeros de Vargas President Ron Trujillo said his organization had a “productive” hourlong meeting with the mayor and City Councilor Chris Rivera on Tuesday, but there are still issues to resolve. He said he expects further discussions.

“I am doing to have that discussion with my organization on how we move forward with it,” Trujillo said. “… I am happy that this discussion is taking place. I am hoping something good will come out of this.”


The statue of Don Diego de Vargas is seen at a private home/business at an unidentified location in Santa Fe.

City Councilor Chris Rivera said the meeting involved a couple of different options over what to do with the statue, but no one option particularly “stood out.”

“We came up with a couple different plans, and we will kind of go through them over the next couple of weeks or so,” Rivera said.

The de Vargas statue was removed from its 13-year home in Cathedral Park in June at Webber’s behest ahead of a rally that came amid a nationwide movement against potentially racist or culturally insensitive monuments and statues.

At the time, Webber ensured the public the statue would be placed in “safekeeping,” but that was discovered not to be the case Thursday.

Trujillo confirmed its location and sent an image of the statue, with the straps used to pull it from its base still wrapped around its pedestal.

Neither the city nor Trujillo would release the address of the statue’s location for fear of vandalism and unwanted attention on the home and business.

Webber said in the statement issued Tuesday a city department head had told him the piece was being stored in a city facility.

“I learned yesterday I was misled,” the statement read. “The statue has been safe; however it wasn’t in the City’s hands. This should not have happened. I’m upset at this development.”

Trujillo said he is just happy that he now knows where the statue is stored.

(27) comments

Grace Trujillo

Because Mayor Webber doesn't care about our history, culture or traditions in Santa Fe, NM. It's amazing how he was voted in but if you ask me, the locals of Santa Fe, NM were pushed out of the city and couldn't vote against him. He has not been there for the local people of the city and needs to be replaced.

James Delgado

This is no surprise. Most sane people knew stuff like this would happen when these “woke” liberal leaders were voted into office. Our so called mayor and governor allowed our Capitol city to be invaded and taken over by demons as our obelisk was destroyed in front of our very eyes. Enough said-

Andrew Lucero

“Webber said in a statement issued Tuesday he had been “misled” by a department head about the statue’s whereabouts.” --- All I have to say about the Mayor’s statement is, BOVINE SCATOLOGY!!!!

Maria Bautista

Truly, pass the buck Webber, no accountability. Spending 67,000. of taxpayer money to amend for his sins. We need to vote him out.

Leonard Trejo

So Webber that's the best you can do that you were "Mislead" what do you think you've been doing to Santa Feans since you took office i think it's time to resign, don't you?

Maria Bautista

Pass the buck Webber, no accountability.

paul pacheco

The Caballeros de Vargas organization should be outraged! First, that the statue was threatened to be taken down forcibly and eventually removed; and 2nd because it belongs at Cathedral park and is part of our city’s heritage! Instead, it was secretly taken to someone’s home without the knowledge of mayor Webber? What else has he been “misled” about concerning not only a statue representing the heritage of the oldest capital city in America, but city government business as a whole? If there’s any racism, it seems to be against the Hispanics and the ancestry we own up to even in 2021! What the Caballeros should do is take back it’s donation of the statue since it is considered culturally insensitive! Another example of Hispanics being run out of their own town!

Lupe Molina

Mr. Pacheco, as we obsess about this monument, Hispanic young people with roots here leave in droves. Why don't we focus more on bolstering history programs in New Mexico's schools and improving prospects for those folks instead of bickering over a statue that's less than 20 years old. Heck, anyone else that same age is already making plans to leave the state! For all we know, this statue might be about to score a gig as an intern in Denver.

Khal Spencer


Brad Doubles

With all due respect Lupe, people are "obsessing" about this because they are tired of being blatantly LIED TO BY GOVERNMENT HACKS. As far as the young people leaving, its only the hard working, intelligent ones. So dont worry, there will be plenty left in NM to wait tables and eek out a living in Santa get what you vote for!

Nancy Lockland

Well said!!

Paul Davis

What did you vote for, Brad? And what are you willing to help pay for?

Brad Doubles

Paul.....its folks like you that vited for the mayor, who vote for the current crop of turnips running the govt in NM. As far as paying, I pay what the govt demands and then some. Yet when that hard earned money is continually wated and NM is still at the bottom of the heap, common sense and history says throwing more resources at the problem rarely works.

Brad Doubles


Maria Bautista

Brad, you are rude and condescending. I would love to introduce you to Phd waiters, youth leave for jobs not because they are hard working or smarter, they leave because the same opportunities do not exist here. Santa Fe only produces city, county or state jobs. Your text smells like stinky feet.

Richard Reinders


Maria Bautista

Hi Lupe, I hear your frustration concerning our children having to leave because there are very limited opportunities here. Alan Webber's campaign platform included jobs, but not for your kids or mine. But there is a recruitment to attract an out of state workforce as LANL gears up. Another important campaign promise was improving schools, but we are closing schools, because families cannot afford to live or rent here. I hoped his other idea about "paths out of poverty" would help stabilize the economic picture for generations, but what has actually happened is that our communities are in deep debt, evidenced by the illegal furloughs during COVID. Lupe, beyond protests, and open discussions, what can we do? All of us, not separated by race or class, ayuda me manita.

Donna Landwehr

So is this city department head being fired? Reprimanded? Misleading anyone, especially a mayor, on something of this magnitude is not acceptable.

On the other hand, the word misleading is open to a variety of interpretations. What is the truth here?

Maria Bautista

Mayor has no accountability

Richard Reinders

IMO If this meeting was productive Trujillo would have possession of the statue. With Webber there is always further discussion to give him time to get some advantage. Trujillo should have gone in with Unidos Protectiva de Santa Fe because there is a bigger issue than just possessing the statue and that is stopping the attack on the culture. The city was founded by the Spanish and that fact can't be changed no matter how hard Webber tries. And I say this with the greatest respect for the Pueblos, because if there is any further discussion it should be between the Spanish culture and the Indigenous culture as they have for 400 years, not some outsider like Webber that has no clue about their coexistence.

Stefanie Beninato

You make it sound like there are no "Anglos" who live here or whose families have lived here for generations. There are people of French, Italian, Japanese, and Lebanese descent--do we dismiss their cultures? And I am tired of Webber being called an outsider--he has lived here now for 20 years. He may be clueless and cossetted but really not an outsider like Big Bill who came here calculatedly because he was half Hispanic, could speak fluent Spanish and knew there were only a small number of people he needed to influence to gain power.

Nancy Lockland

Everyday is Angelo's day why does it need to be discussed?

Lupe Molina

If you don't like the mayor, take issue with his policies. I do. But saying "someone not from here" can't understand the history is just blatantly xenophobic and racist. Comments like these, common in Santa Fe against this mayor, also clearly have tinge of antisemitism to them. Stop. You know what people born here do now? They leave. There's nothing here for the young people "from here" and their sick of your focus on this monuments while schools, housing, and the job market suffer.

Khal Spencer

Reminds me of something. When Susana Martinez was running for Governor, a Democratic operative came up to us in Santa Fe while we were in town and said she was a "Tejana" and didn't deserve to be elected. At the time, that left me a little clueless, since I had not heard that descriptor yet, having moved here after 14 years in Honolulu preceded by 33 years in New York State. But it sounded like something to do with Texas, and indeed it was.

As a longtime Democrat, I was pretty annoyed and dressed the guy down, telling him that if his only argument for the D candidate was an ad hominem attack on the origins of the R candidate, he ought to be ashamed of himself and should not be working as a volunteer for my party. Guy got flustered and stalked off.

Its not so much how long you lived somewhere but how well you pick up the local culture and other important concepts. Or as we said in Hawai'i if you even remotely followed Hawaiian, "Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono"

Richard Reinders

No other culture was here 400 years ago than Spanish and Indigenous, this issue seams to be Devargas and he was Spanish . I understand there is other cultures here including mine but do they have a dog in the fight about the Spanish coming here. And Webber has made himself the Judge and Jury when it comes to removing the monuments that affect the local culture. The main problem I have seen from the beginning is where are the Pueblo Governors the proposed offended ones in this discussion. The only thing I have heard is the 3 sisters didn't represent them according to the Tesuque Gov. and for taking down Onate Gov. Lavato said The statue’s removal was done without consultation from Ohkay Owingeh or residents of surrounding Hispanic communities, Pueblo Gov. Ron Lovato and state Rep. Joseph Sanchez, D-Alcalde, said in a joint statement Monday.

“History is by its definition the past, we should learn from it, not try to erase it or think vindication comes by removing statues,” the statement said. “For hundreds of years, our communities have lived in harmony and continue to look ahead and plan to the benefit of the generations to come.”. Not one has been interviewed or expressed they wanted this to tear the fabric of the community that has comingled and existed for 400 years.

Nancy Lockland

Or how anybody tries for that matter.

Maria Bautista

Thanks Richard.

Welcome to the discussion.

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