Don Diego de Vargas statue damaged in Santa Fe

Posted at: 12/27/2013 6:20 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Somebody’s got a grudge against a Spanish conquistador who died more than 300 years ago.

Don Diego de Vargas was just a little guy – just five foot two. His statue is a little taller, and it’s heavier too – 550 pounds of bronze that somebody tried to pry off its pedestal in a Santa Fe park.

The old conquistador’s feet will have a much stronger grip on the foundation when Santa Fe Sculptors Brett Chomer and Edwin Rivera finish bolting him more firmly to the pedestal. The vandals broke off part of de Vargas’ sword and scabbard and the sculptors will fix that too. The statue is actually the work of Donna Quastoff, but Chomer and Rivera are happy to help old Don Diego get back on his feet again. Both men are mystified by what happened to the statue.

“It’s a little disappointing for sure,” Chomer said, while drilling holes for huge bolts. “It amazes me that someone would do something like that, for I don’t know what reason. I can’t really understand their reasoning.”

“I guess they don’t have anything better to do,” Rivera said. “They don’t see the hard work that goes into a sculpture of this size. They just don’t have a clue.”

When the work is done de Vargas will move back into Cathedral Park, where vandals are shy about splattering everything with graffiti and defacing works of public art. Some Santa Feans say the park needs security cameras, but city officials said there are currently no plans to install any.

De Vargas is the man who led the re-conquest of New Mexico in 1692 after the Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1688.