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El Santo, a legendary lucha libre (Mexican wrestling) star, was an iconic figure in Mexican popular culture. A mixture of John Wayne bravado and Batman kitsch, you could always count on Santo to seek justice as he battled zombies, monsters, witches, and just plain old bad guys. And in the world of El Santo, the bad guys were always the rich and powerful who made it hard for Mexico’s poor to live with dignity and honor.

Now, there is a new hero in town — El Hijo del Santo, the son of the legendary wrestler, and currently the world’s most popular lucha libre star. He has taken on new enemies — those who destroy the coast and ocean. The new Santo spent the day in Tijuana yesterday battling Aguas Negras — the black water or sewage that spills through the streets and colonias of our neighbor to the south.

In Colonia San Bernardo, at the southern end of Los Laureles Canyon, Santo took reporters on a tour of an elementary school bordered by a sewage stream that local children play in. Los Laureles is a worst-case scenario of poverty, pollution and environmental hazards that sends sewage spewing across the border into the Tijuana Estuary and the beaches of Imperial Beach and Coronado. Santo advocated developing a system of community based sewage treatment projects to defeat Aguas Negras in Tijuana.

Today, Santo is in the remote Baja California Sur gray whale sanctuary of Laguna San Ignacio to tout the benefits of marine protected areas and to spend time with his family in the presence of the friendly whales there.

Having masked superheroes battle for the environment is a good thing, according to green gossip blog Ecorazzi:

YES! This is what we need. More heroes in the fight against climate change, pollution, Hummers, and giant lizards! We need people to dress up, grab a mic, and start preaching the good green word. Nothing says ‘Look at me!” like a man in spandex and colorful accessories. I commend El Hijo and hope he considers a trip state-side to help additional communities face the realities of a troubled ocean ecosystem. The world needs heroes. Jack Black, get that costume ready!

SERGE DEDINA

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