'There goes Obama and his entire security team ... Mexico

City and Polanco will again be protected by the banking police

and those who blocked the door of News Divine.'


[News Divine was a nightclub where, in 2008, 12 people were killed

in a stampede as police blocked the door. The artist sarcastically

expresses more faith in Obama's security team than Mexico's police].

[La Jornada, Mexico]



La Jornada, Mexico

An Open Letter to Obama: Learn Your History, Sir!


"Now with your visit to Mexico, you intend to close the circle of Santa Anna-like defeatism which characterizes the government that welcomes you. … But you should also know, sir, that, as in 1847 and 1914, there are Mexicans who will defend their homeland, its natural and strategic resources, its social achievements and its sovereignty - and who will fight for an equitable relationship with the United States."


By Gilberto López y Rivas


Translated By Halszka Czarnocka


April 17, 2009


Mexico - La Jornada - Original Article (Spanish)

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez hands President Obama a book titled, Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad & Tobago, April 18. Angst over the the neo-colonial past of the United States runs deep in Latin America.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: U.S. neighbors seem to be taking Obama's call for a new start seriously, Apr. 19, 00:01:56 RealVideo

On April 21, just days after you will have left our country, comes the anniversary of the attack and occupation of the port of Veracruz in 1914, which was carried out by the U.S. Marines, an expeditionary force with a long tradition of intervention. The Marines anthem alludes to the aggressive war of conquest carried out by your country between 1846 and 1848, in which Mexico lost half of its territory ("From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli …").


Thus, Veracruz was bombarded twice by your navy - in 1847 and 1914 - with great loss of life among the civilian population who on both occasions, to be sure, heroically confronted the invading Marines in spite of their clear military superiority.


On that April 21 [in 1914], the cadets of Naval Military School, men and women of different social backgrounds and some members of Spanish expatriate community fought an unequal battle against the occupation forces while the regular Mexican army beat an ignoble retreat, withdrawing to Tejeria. Similar events took place during the occupation of the Republic's capital by the forces of General Scott [photo, left], who on the 14th and 15th of September, 1847, was compelled to confront hundreds of civilians. These were people who decided - at the cost of their lives - to give value to the nation's dignity, left undefended by the army of Antonio López de Santa Anna [the Mexican-American War].


It wouldn't be the last armed invasion of Mexican territory by our "good neighbor." From March 14, 1916 to February 7 of the following year occurred the so called "punitive expedition" led by General John J. Pershing [photo, right], who chased our General Francisco Villa throughout the state of Chihuahua without managing to capture him. We aren't counting the over 100 incursions by the Filibusters and armed sorties along the Northern border, so masterfully recounted by our historian Gastón García Cantú in his book American Interventions in Mexico (1971) - a must read.


In the three above-mentioned invasions of Mexico, the commanders-in-chief of the armed forces, i.e. the U.S. presidents of those times, James Knox Polk and Woodrow Wilson, belonged to your party - the Democrats. Surely you remember that your predecessor Polk was a lifelong slave owner and an enthusiastic proponent of your nation's territorial expansion at the expense of decimated and weakened indigenous people by the "decadent" Spanish Empire and the nascent Republic of Mexico - an expansionist process based on and justified by the idea of "Manifest Destiny," or the mission, "allotted by Providence" for the U.S. to extend its borders across the entire continent. Your Founding Fathers even thought of establishing the U.S. capital on the Isthmus of Panama.


Painting by John Gast (circa 1872) called American Progress is an

allegorical representation of Manifest Destiny. In the scene, an

angelic woman (Columbia, a 19th century personification of the

U.S.) carries the light of "Civilization" westward. American settlers,

stringing telegraph wire, follow her. American Indians and wild

animals flee into the darkness of the 'uncivilized' West.


The presidency of another of your predecessors, Woodrow Wilson [photo below, left], was also marked by interventionism in Latin America: in 1914 it was Mexico; in 1915 the invasion of Haiti; in 1916 his troops again invaded Mexico - and the Dominican Republic, which they occupied until 1924, leaving behind a government favorable to U.S. investment. 



Wilson, the alleged author of the right to self-determination and who was thereby rewarded with the Nobel Peace prize in 1919, had, in reality, himself violated this right, which we Mexicans can confirm by personal experience. Wilson was also, as you surely know best, an ironclad supporter of racial segregation. He prevented Afro-American students from enrolling in Princeton University when he served as its president, and acted in the same fashion when he was president of the republic, refusing to appoint Blacks to his administration.


You might wonder what the connection is, between all this history and the present time. The answer lies in the actions you have taken as commander-in-chief of occupation forces in Iraq and Afghanistan during the first hundred days of your presidency. It seems that in those countries, "manifest destiny" authorizes soldiers under your command to violate the right of self-determination of the local people, resulting in millions of dead, wounded, orphaned, widowed and exiled, and the installation of collaborationist governments that open their doors to your corporations, just as Wilson did in the Dominican Republic.


While it's true you've spoken out against the way in which your predecessor brought about these wars, never once have you condemned the wars themselves for their neocolonial character. You supported the recent crimes against humanity perpetrated in the Gaza Strip by Israel against the Palestinian people. You have made slanderous statements about President Chávez and you have not distanced yourself from the coup-plotting Venezuelan oligarchy.



Now with your visit to Mexico, you intend to close the circle of Santa Anna-like defeatism which characterizes the government that welcomes you. You should know that millions of Mexicans believe that President Felipe Calderón came to power through electoral fraud, with support from the military and with the complicity of the Institutional Revolutionary Party [PRI] leaders - who now admit to his face that they backed him for electoral reasons [Calderon is a member of the National Action Party, or PAN]. That ruling group [the PRI] seeks to consummate a silent annexation by the United States. They are the heirs of those who, to protect their class interests, allied themselves with the invaders in the war of 1847 [Mexican-American War], and who enabled the French intervention and the enthronement of Maximilian [photo right]. But you should also know, sir, that, as in 1847 and 1914, there are Mexicans who will defend their homeland, its natural and strategic resources, its social achievements and its sovereignty - and who will fight for an equitable relationship with the United States.


I pray that you not follow the example of your predecessors. Have a good trip.



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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 19, 9:19pm]