Saturday, September 10, 2005

Mexican Invasion? The Only Illegal Aliens Are US!

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 into 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

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.

(c) 2005


leanordhuron4837 said...

i thought your blog was cool and i think you may like this cool Website. now just Click Here

Ariel said...

Not to be rude, but in mexican culture we have a proverb:

"No hay ladron que no sea desconfiado"

I say this not only because of the huge stolen mexican land, but of many other stolen things that US have. (Oil?)


Anyway, Mexicans are absolutly not interested in War against US. We have lots of problems to solve right here, not to say our Army is far less competent in war stuff than yours.

But as you can see our army is indeed extremely effective giving aid to natural disasters. You wont see the total effectiveness because US army is _slowly_ taking control of the situation and surely they wont allow mexicans to be more active than feeding people and helping rebuild some parts of the city.

Personally i am glad our army can help you, even if it is only feeding people. We are glad to help in any possible way we can.

That is the pourpuse of the mexican army, to take care of people, to help and protect people. Not to kill afghans, not to kill for oil, not to kill citizens.

I've never been in US but in movies i see the slogan: "To help and protect" in some places. ¿Are your army/cops really compromised with that?

Odilia said...

Querido Ariel,

I totally agree with the dicho you quoted: No hay ladron que no sea desconfiado. And that was exactly my point. The reason that these crazies (Prison Planet) are paranoid when they see Mexican people crossing the border in any way, shape or form - be it in an Army convoy or just walking across - is that they get nervous even if they don't consciously know why! Their ancestors stole the land and the US gvmnt is still doing that kind of thing today, for oil and other reasons.

I am a Mexicana, Chicana-Apache, I mainly wrote this article as a resource for the younger members of my familia who read the blog in the US. I want them to be aware and be able to discuss the issues of being Mexican in America that have never gone away since the beginning, with the forming of the USA, they are just different. Of course there are other issues to know about as in what happened with the conquista of Mexico by the Espanoles as well but that is another topic.

I want them to know that much of the land that the US government calls their US territory is actually still Mexican people's land because of the Treaty Of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and the Land Grants that were not honored.

Aztlan (the area I discuss in my post) is the land that the mighty Mexica say they came from before going to Tenochtitlan and forming the Mexica (Azteca) Nation. I know our history but many Mexicanos born in the US do not because the truth is not taught in our schools so, I try to keep our history (la historia del pueblo) alive as much as possible by sharing what I have researched and learned over the years of being an activist.

I loved your comments they are totally right, and the Army's job, in any country, should be to take care of the people of its country not to slaughter them or to make them feel intimidated or as if they are prisoners.

I think there are some good hearted police officers and soldiers that are committed to serving and protecting the people but I think many have forgotten that it is the people whom they should "serve and protect" not the government. That is a problem...

Thanks again for your comments and I will read over my post again - I don't want anyone getting confused over whose side I am on because it is definately el pueblos, the people and not the US gvmt.



Anonymous said...

Hi! Just want to say what a nice site. Bye, see you soon.