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Pancho Villa statue
Between Congress and Broadway, east of I-10
Tucsonans have fought like riled scorpions about public art in contemporary styles--the sculptures in front of the downtown library (101 N. Stone Ave.) and at the east end of the University of Arizona (Campbell and Third Street) drew plenty of stings when they were new. But no piece of art has generated more controversy than a straightforward equestrian statue downtown. It's a likeness of Pancho Villa, whom some hail as a Mexican revolutionary hero and others condemn as a murderous opportunist and war profiteer. Naturally, the best place for it is near the city/county government complex.

Mexican officials donated the statue to the city of Tucson; despite loud local protests, the city fathers feared they'd cause a minor international incident if they turned the statue down. As a compromise, they hid the thing--it sits on a wide grassy median (formally called Veinte de Agosto Park) between Congress and Broadway, in front of the big government office buildings just east of Interstate 10. Despite the area's heavy traffic--or perhaps because of it--the statue is difficult to identify from a moving car, and it's awkward to visit on foot. So much for la revolución.

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