battleofpuebla.jpg

(Mexican troops, most of whom were indigenous peoples, defeating the world's most powerful invading army at Puebla.) 

Well, hello, Perritos del Fuego!  I know, I know, you were expecting Pachacutec.  But ya got me.  

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, as I mentioned earlier today, here's some Latino-related news and information you probably won't see much of in the national media, which prefers to talk nonsense about Reagan and haircuts.  Grab a habanero, the beverage of your choice, and an avocado from the cupboard (it's the magic invisible cupboard off to the left) and follow me!

– A little background first: Cinco de Mayo in NOT the officially-celebrated Mexican Independence Day; that falls on September 16.  What it is, is a day of resistance, in which David overcomes Goliath. Specifically, it's about how Mexican troops under the command of General Ignacio Zaragosa Seguin defeated Imperial French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  The French would respond by redoubling their efforts to conquer Mexico (which Napoleon III wanted in part as a base of operations from which his allies, the slavery-upholding Confederate elites, could fight the Union in the Civil War), but the Battle of Puebla showed that the French Army — the most powerful army in the world at the time — could be beaten, and they were forced completely out of Mexico four years later, leaving behind only the doomed puppet ruler they'd installed, Maximillian — who would be shot when the victorious forces of the Mexican Republic conquered the last pockets of conservative/foreign-led occupiers a year later.  (Hmmmm.  I wonder what modern parallels could be drawn from this?  Vietnam?  Iraq?  Hmmmm?)

Here's a description of the circumstances surrounding the battle, which comes via The Unapologetic Mexican:

[After the war between the US and Mexico, in which Mexico was forced to cede much of its best territory,] President Benito Juárez inherited México's troubled political and financial situation, which included a bankrupt Mexican treasury. As a result of these problems, President Juárez issued a moratorium in 1861 halting payments on Mexican foreign debt. Much of this debt was owed to France. Shortly thereafter, France sent troops to México to secure payment of its debt. At the time, the French Army of Napoleon III was considered the premier army in the world. It had enjoyed recent victories throughout Europe and Asia. The French expected to march from the port city of Veracruz to Mexico City without encountering much resistance. President Juárez sent troops, under the command of General Ignacio Zaragosa, to Puebla to confront the French. The Mexican troops consisted almost entirely of indigenous soldiers, much like today. General Zaragosa's troops, outnumbered 4,700 to 5,200, were severely under-equipped. La Batalla de Puebla raged on for two hours, after which time the French were forced to retreat to Orizaba.

– As noted above, a mighty and technologically-superior army of white European invaders was repelled by a smaller force of Indians fighting for their homeland. By contrast, a bunch of dingbats in Alabama, reeking with upper-class white privilege, formed a militia with the intent to do what the right-wing eliminationist crowd jokingly calls "'Can shooting" ("Mexicans, Africans, Puerto Ricans…."), and stockpiled a huge amount of ordnance with which to do it.  These people were/are pretty well funded as these groups go:  One of them, the aptly-named Michael Wayne Bobo, is the son of a well-to-do owner of a pest-control company. 

– The Unapologetic Mexican shows you some pictures and video of cops attacking peaceful protesters at the May Day pro-immigrant rally in LA.  Funny how the national media, which had their own cameras, somehow missed in real time most of the happenings that the local folk managed to document.  (Except, that is, when it was their own people getting beaten up by the cops.)  Marisa Trevino of Latina Lista looks at this — and the police beatings of persons acting to document the events — in the context of a post on World Press Freedom Day.  Brad Blog also has video of the police attacks.  Once again, we have the poor and the not-so-powerful standing up to the rich and powerful.

– Mexico, like so many other nations in the past few decades, was attacked by the privatization virus spread by entities such as the World Bank.  And as with other nations, privatization translates locally as "screw the local people for the benefit of the world's elites, whilst cutting the local rulers in on the take so they'll do what the elites want them to do." But even here, with the full weight of the world's hyper-rich looking to get even richer (and using bought-off local elites to carry out their orders), privatization isn't happening without a fight. Charles over at my blog Mercury Rising describes the most recent battles.

– And because we all need a little magical realism to go with the habaneros and avocados I had you all grab:  Let's go shopping with Garcia Lorca