Saturday, September 10, 2005
Mexican Invasion? The Only Illegal Aliens Are U S es!
Just a few days ago, a Mexican army convoy of 45 vehicles accompanied by 200 soldiers and around 270 tons of aid - which includes two mobile kitchens that can feed up to 7,000 people a day, water treatment equipment, blankets, food and water, crossed the US - Mexican border at Laredo Texas on their way to bring aid to Hurricane Katrina survivors who have found shelter in that great state.
It made few people uneasy though, to see Mexican troops crossing the border - even if this is a peace mission. The BBC NEWS World Edition reported that, "US troops and Texas officials will accompany the Mexican convoy to provide security." That got me thinking, security, for whom and why? Then, later, after I started reading other accounts and opinions on this generous gesture by the Mexican people I figured it out - what the worry must be about - Mexican government troops have not set foot on "US" soil for 159 years, when they advanced north of the Rio Grande into Texas, which at the time was still Mexican territory and set off the US - Mexican War.
Other people, see Prison Planet, got really upset by the whole convoy affair and went as far as categorizing the Mexican presence as, "Armed Mexican Troops Invade US" with a caption stating, "Under cover of aid, combat ready soldiers roll into Texas, Congressman Ron Paul says Mexican troops in US period is "illegal, unconstitutional" and if that weren't enough the authors asked people to, "call the state police to interdict and determine if these forces are indeed armed and if their guns have ammunition or if their weapons are ceremonial (which is doubtful)". Wow! (This, my favorite word lately...)
As another aside, in the same BBC article about the Mexican convoy, Condoleezza Rice was quoted as saying, "... no offer that will ease victims' suffering will be refused." Though today, I read that in yesterday's White House press briefing by Press Secretary, Scott McClellan, when asked the question, "Cuba offered help to the United States. Are you considering taking any of this help? They offered medicines and doctors? What's the situation with that?" among other things McClellan stated, "... When it comes to Cuba, we have one message for Fidel Castro. He needs to offer the people of Cuba their freedom."
I thought, that's typical, but definitely not in keeping with what Rice said or what should happen. Aid is aid. If the people of Cuba want to change their political system or leaders they will do it on their own, because they want to, like when they took Fulgencio Batista out of power in 1959. Again, if we stopped being the police force of the whole world and took care of our own, the USA would be a different place to live altogether and the horrible scenarios of the past week would not have had to unfold as they did, bottom line, we are too busy trying to control the whole world. Hands off Cuba! It's a sovereign nation with intelligent people who can make up their own minds if they are free or not!
So back to the supposed Mexican Invasion, and what the fear about seeing Mexican troops rolling into Texas might be about... In 1848 at the conclusion of the US - Mexican War both countries signed the Treaty Of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty stated that Mexico would give up almost half of its territory, which included most of Aztlan - California, Arizona, Nuevo (New) Mexico, Texas and parts of Colorado, Nevada and Utah. In exchange, the US paid 15 million dollars in war-related damages. (There's that 15 million dollar figure again - see my entry on the Louisiana Purchase.)
The other contents of the treaty outlined where the border would be placed between the two nations - at the Rio Grande, but it's most important provisions provided for the protection and civil rights of Mexican nationals, who chose to stay living on what would now become US soil, many of whom elected to become American citizens. Of course, if we've learned the real history of our great nation we know the track record it has in honoring treaties - just remember what it did with the many treaties signed with Native American Nations.
Keeping true to form, when the US Senate ratified the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo it watered down Article 9 - which dealt with citizens rights, and totally eliminated Article 10, the one that guaranteed the protection of Mexican land grants. In Texas, Mexicans were not allowed to vote, and California passed discriminatory laws, some known as the "Greaser Laws".
This government sanctioned anti-Mexican sentiment made ripe the conditions for serious civil rights violations against the people: violence, torture, rape, murder and yes, the good old land grab. By the end of the 19th century most Mexican-Americans living in the areas supposedly protected by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had lost their lands either by force or by fraud...and so it goes.
It's no wonder some gringos got a little nervous seeing Mexican troops coming across the border - armed or not - after all it's not like Americans are used to having any other nation come in to police what their government is doing with its citizens or if they are truly free. So, there you go, it just looked to them like it might be a Mexican invasion dressed up as aid to Katrina survivors.
The last thing, when I asked a friend of ours who lives in Rosarito what his thoughts on Mexican aid to the US were, he said he thought it was great that Mexico was able to help its neighbors and countrymen from the affected areas who have suffered so much in the aftermath of Katrina. And on the subject of the US's fear of a Mexican invasion, he said, "Well, they [the US] promised we could keep our land but they stole it and after all these years we've slowly been getting it back, a little piece at a time," and then just smiled knowingly at me. c/s
image by: CORRIENTE ELECTRICA and FUERA DE REGISTRO also see: Web Poster Exhibition - Zapata vive! Mexican Posters for peace in Chiapas.
For more information on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and Reies Lopez Tijerina's struggle to recover stolen land grants.