Mexico Places Slab of Berlin Wall Near Border as ‘lesson’ While Biden Adds to Barriers


Tijuana’s mayor took a jab at US migrant policies by recently installing a 3-ton gray concrete slab of the Berlin Wall just feet from America’s latest stretch of border wall. “May this be a lesson to build a society that knocks down walls and builds bridges,” reads the inscription on the Cold War relic attributed to Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero. The installation, titled “A World Without Walls,” was erected Aug 13. in Friendship Park after Caballero was contacted by the owner of the artifact, Marcos Cline, looking to set it up in a poignant location. 

“Why in Tijuana? How many families have shed blood, labor and their lives to get past the wall,” Caballero asked of the US border wall. “The social and political conflict is different than the Berlin Wall, but it’s a wall at the end of the day. And a wall is always a sphinx that divides and bloodies nations,” the mayor said. Cline said he initially tried to deliver the Berlin Wall slab to former President Donald Trump during his presidency but was turned away by the White House. 

He then found a ”second life” for the artifact in Tijuana, with the relic serving as a type of art piece criticizing America’s immigration policies. The Berlin Wall piece currently stands near a new construction project approved by the Biden administration which seeks to complete already contracted work to enforce the border wall in San Diego standing 18 feet tall. 

The project came as a sudden U-turn for Biden, given the executive order he signed on his first day in office halting construction of a complete border wall, the signature effort spearheaded by Trump. The border wall notably cuts through Friendship Park, a symbolic site inaugurated by former First Lady Pat Nixion in 1971 to celebrate US-Mexican relations. 

The park, which once held cross-border yoga classes, music festivals and religious services, has come to present the breakdown between America and Mexico, with the US government restricting access to the recreation site over the past 15 years. Many of those visiting the park today say the Berlin Wall relic stands as a clear symbol of what the US-Mexico border has become. 

“It’s a little less severe here than it was in Germany, but it’s a wall that divides nations, lives, social and economic lives and everything related to the United States,” Sandra Flores, 55, said as she saw the artifact. Lydia Vanasse of San Diego also likened the US border structure to the wall that divided East and West Berlin. “San Diego and Tijuana are sister cities,” she said. “The wall separates us, but we are united in many ways. It would be better if there wasn’t a wall.”

Despite criticizing America’s immigration policies, Caballero said that it should be clear that the US and Mexico must continue to work together to find new ways to deal with the flood of asylum seekers fleeing Central and South America. “We are against violence, we are against family separation, we are against division, and that’s what the wall represents,” she said.