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Donald Trump piñatas are a smash hit in Tijuana

Donald Trump piñatas are a smash hit in Tijuana
Donald Trump piñatas sell at Tijuana’s Hidalgo Market for $12 to $18, depending on the quality and details. (Alejandro Tamayo / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Of all the contenders gearing up for the 2016 U.S. presidential election, only one can claim his own piñata at the Hidalgo Market here.

Donald Trump's papier mache likeness sells for $12 to $18, depending on the quality and details. The piñatas typically feature a sweep of blond hair and a mouth frozen open.

"People have been asking for him a lot," said Esther García, a saleswoman at Dulcería Conchita, one of half a dozen piñata and candy shops at the traditional market near the city's Río Zone. Then she added: "I don't like him."

Vendors across the city have been capitalizing on the wave of animosity Trump engendered with remarks last month characterizing Mexican immigrants as rapists who bring drugs and crime to the U.S.

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Although Minnie Mouse, Spider-Man and Minions piñatas remain popular for kids' birthday parties, Trump effigies are drawing a different clientele: grown-ups.

Many of Martín Saenz's clients at Dulcería El Chato are from north of the border. "Sometimes, they say they want to grab him, before even buying," he said.

Saenz makes the shop's big-eyed piñatas in his spare time and has crafted about 50 Trump likenesses since the Republican candidate's controversial comments.

But not everyone wants a smashable Trump. Shopper Edwin Ríos Rubio said he had no interest in buying a Trump piñata. "He denigrates Mexicans and seems very despotic," said the 29-year-old merchant from Baja California Sur. "He's a racist. I wouldn't even buy one as a joke."

Trump is by no means the first political figure to be portrayed in a piñata. Mexican protesters for years have used the figures to lampoon their country's politicians. And a few piñata makers have been creating likenesses of drug cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán since his escape this month from a Mexican prison.

Twitter: @sandradibble

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