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nepomucena.cortina - 1 12 H F~l~CI'Ttl~,·fHI.1LlI I...

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Unformatted text preview: ; 1 12' H F~l~CI-\'Ttl~ \ \,·fHI.1LlI(,\ I lII-fT..,[J-\~·!( T rrFlllllRF(lfTHF\'.,\;lllD'I--\rr.., Mexico. They d on't u ndnst,md t he prevalent tongue o f t heir land o f h irth. They arer, eigners in their own Lountry. They have no voice in this Senate, excepling that whlc s peaking so weakly in their favoLI do n ot b lame anyone w ho d oesn'tthink Over question closely; they haven't closely examined both sid~s. But I have. I hav~ seen el o f sixty a nd seventy years cry like children because they have been t hrown Out of h ome o f t heir parents. They have been humiliated and insulted. They have been den' t he privilege o f u sing their own wel1. T hey have been denied th~ privilege o f cuttingth I lOW own firewood. Yet still the individuals who committed these outrages have come here l ook for protection, and, to my great surprise, the Senate has symp"thized with the You, Senators, did n ot listen to the complaints o f t he Spanish class. You d id n ot suffl ciently consider the fairness o f their land deeds a nd their just rights to their possession T he S enators have said that the residents have fair rights; that they have worked' good faith; that they have occupied lands without proof, demarcations, limits, o r pap to distinguish them from the public domain; and that haVing worked in good faith, they should be paid for their improvements. Well, i f the object w ", s imply to protect the rights o f those who had established themselves with g ood faith, the compensation would have been adopted immediately; but the Senators o f S onoma and Sacramento have told us that this would destroy the bill. For this reason, 1 think that your object is to protect those settlers in bad f"ith, Any impartial m an w ho e xamines the law would See that it p rotects the ~qualter, amI that law, for better or worse, dispossesses the owner o f the land o f his just r ights-inviolable rights, by h uman o r d ivine l aws.,. , Let us consider the fairness o f the situation. T he o wner possessed large portions of lands, which, in many cases, have belonged to the same family for m ore than half a cen· tury, By the law passed by the Land Commission, they were obligated to present their deed. [n my c ounty we have calculated that what has gone to pay just the lawyers to d efend the deeds before the commission is g reater than a third part o f the value o f the property. In all the cases decided in favor o f the owner, they appealed to the District C ourt, a nd even after this they make another appeal to the high tribunal o f the n atiun-the S upreme L ourt o f the United States. To c omplete the extraordinary litiga­ tions, they took another third part o f our property. So what was left to the owner? We s hould d emonstrate a little c onsideration. Aside trom these [mjust and illegal costs, we are obligated to pay contributions that are greater than o ne miIJion pesos, and to pay those expenses we have found ourselves cumpelled to sell our personal property and part o f o ur lands to save the r emaining-to save this land sacredly and solemnly g uaranteed us by m eans o f a t reaty with the Ivlexican nation, And when, after suffering all these injustices and surviving all types o f injuries, n ow we find a Legislature hungry to rob us o f our last centavo simply because the sQuJtter~ afe mOfe numerous than the natives o f California. Juan Nepomuceno Cortina (1824-1892) Proclamation The t848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the U.S.-Mexican War supposedly pro­ tected the rights of Mexicans who became naturalized US. citizens in the newly acquired [ N ATlVE L ITERATURE s territories. These were rights guaranteed under the provisions of the u.s. Constitution. How­ ever, with the exception of the free exercise of religion, the constitutional rights and guaran­ tees of U.s. citizens of Mexican descent were systematically violated well into the twentieth century. Municipal, state, and federal officials frequently conspired with wealthy landowners, politicians, and lawyers to deprive these newly naturalized citizens of their properties and land grants through illegal means. The Mexican-American population frequently resisted these and other injustices committed against them. So-called social bandits spearheaded guerrilla warfare against Anglo authorities during much of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. One such social bandit, Juan Nepomuceno Cortina, popularly known as the "Red Robber of the Rio Grande," led a band of men united by resistance to Anglo injustices. He and his men made many successful raids against Anglo military and quasi military forces in the Brownsville, Texas-Matamoros, and Tamaulipas area from about 1859 to 1875. Cortina issued the following 1859 Proclamation to the citizens of Texas-especially the population of Brownsville-:-dedaring the right of Mexican Americans to defend themselves against Anglo injustices by pursuing and punishing the perpetrators of crimes induding assassinations and the theft of land. Cortina and sixty of his men occupied Brownsville unnlthe Mexican consul persuaded them to leave the city. (Ch 1) Further reading: Carlos E. Cortes, ed., Juan Nepomuceno Carlino: Two Interpretations (New York: Arno Press, 1974) Trans: TEW Fellow citizens: An issue o f grave importance, in which luck has it [ have had the oppor­ tunity to participate as a principal actor since the morning o f the 28th day o f this month [September], has you anxious and afraid, perhaps of its consequences and progress, You do not have to fear, because orderly people and upright citizens and their interests are inviolable t o us. O Uf objective, as y ou are aware, and whose record you cannot deny, has been to punish our enemies' shameless behavior, which thus far has gone unpunished, They have plotted amongst themselves and, so to speak, form a perfidious, inquisitorial lodge to persecute and rob us without reason and for no other motive or crime than that o f being o f Mexican origin; they deem us, without a doubt, lacking in the leadership qualities that they themselves do n ot have, In order to defend ourselves, and making use o f the sacred right of self-preservation, we have gathered together in a mass meeting to discuss putting an end to our ills, The combination o f origin, parentage and commonality of injury has been, so to speak, the cause for which we, exhibiting our most obvious exasperation, have directly embraced the proposed objective upon setting foot in our pretty city. With the meeting organized and presided over by me, by the grace o f the trust that I inspire in you as one of those most aggrieved, we have gone through the streets of the c ity in search o f our antagonists, wanting to punish them, as the authority o f the law as administered by their own hands, unfortunately, has not had the desired effect Some o f them, as afraid as they are remiss to respect our demands, have perished for having wanted to carry their malevolence beyond the limits permitted by their fragile situa­ tion. Three o f them, all criminals and notorious among the people for their transgres­ sions, have died. The others, still more unworthy and miserable, dragged themselves ~ 1 13 1 14" .~ H ERENCIA: f HE A NfHOIUGY 1)1" H ISPA;.JIL L ITERAfl'RE l )F T HE L 'NrfF[l ~ rArES t hrough the m ud t o elude our anger and now, perhaps, with their boasting, intend to be the cause o f infinite evils through cowardice. They hid themselves, and we knew where they were; but we refused to attack them in the enclosure o f o ther people's quarters so as to n ot bear the burden o f seeing respectable people confused in their cause, as has actually occurred I n the end. Moreover, we should reject as unjust the alarmist motive and the character that they have wanted to give to the affair. Some o f them have even taken the-ir short-sightedness to the point o f imploring the protection o f Mexico and alleging as a re~son that their goods a nd persons were exposed to vandalism. So what? Were any outrages committed d uring the time that we took possession o f the city which allowed us to be the arbiters o f their destiny? Could our enemies be so blind, petty, o r incensed that they would refuse to accept the truth o f the events? Is there anyone who will say they were robbed, hurt, o r that his house was set on fire? The unfortunate D. Viviano G arda was a victim o f his own generous behavior. Faced with such an unfortunate example, we gave up on our objective, horrified perhaps to have to spill the blood o f t he innocent without the assurance, in the least, that the vil­ lains, i f they were less cowardly, would have accepted our challenge. As we have said, these men, along with a m ultitude o f lawyers, constitute a conspiracy a nd its branches to dispossess the Mexicans of their lands and to usurp them immedi­ ately. Proof is in the conduct o f o ne Adolfo Giavecke, who, entrusted as a deputy, and in accord with the above-mentioned lawyers, has spread terror among the gullible, making them believe that he will hang Mexicans using whichever accusation possible, o r that he will b urn their ranches, etc., so as to obligate them, in this way, to abandon t he territory a nd thus achieve his goal. This is n ot a supposition, it is the truth, and in the absence o f a nother scenario, when this threat is no longer pervasive, everyone will be convinced o f what some men, who are as criminal as M arshat the Warden, Morris, Neale, etc., are capable of. The first o f these, in his history and behavior, always has been infamous and treach­ erous. He is the assassin o f the unfortunate Colonel Cross, o f C aptain Woolsey, o f A ntonio Mireles, who was assassinated at the "Las Prietas" Ranch, the scene o f these murders. In short, the traitor. instigating some and helping others, has supervised a t housand transgressions and, to vindicate himself and make the witnesses o f his depri­ vations disappear, has been the first to pursue us to the death. T he others, more or less, have the same pattern o f ignominy, and we no longer wilI tolerate them in our bosom because they are deleterious to tranquility and our own welI-being. T here can be n o t ruce between us J nd them because o f the circumstance o f o ur having interests and property in this territory. Nor can there be a truce with the mis­ fortunes weighing upon the unfortunate Republic o f Mexico having obligated us, for political reasons, to abandon her a nd to relinquish our possessions there; she was a v ictim o f o ur feelings, o r o f t he indignities to which her own position reduced us, since the period o f the treaty o f Guadalupe. Then the laborious, enthusiasts--savoring the appetizing goodness o f 1iherty in the classic country o f their o rigin-induced us to n aturalize ourselves and to be part o f the confederative society here. We were promised the most luxurious and calm future living here and the chance to inculcate in o ur chil­ dren the feeling o f gratitude toward a country under whose shadow we would have l J, G [ ; ..I,HIVE L ITERATURE J to be ;'Where tees so as has t they ·dness . their nitted biters vould bbed, 'aced ps to e vil­ iracy ledi­ ,din lible, ;ible, Idon Id in will r rlS, lch­ of lese ,d a pri­ ess, om f, o ur l IS­ for s a lee the to led liI­ lVe cultivated their happiness. O ur c ontribution would have been o ur g ood conduct, testi­ mony to the whole world that all the aspirations o f t he Mexicans can be reduced t o one, which is to be free. And having attained this, these villains would have n o o ther e nd to their misfortune t han t o l ament having lost a piece o f land. They would have the satis­ faction t hat t heir old citizens live peacefully, as i f Providence were affording them an example o f t he benefits o f serenity a nd public tranquility. In reality, all o f this has been nothing more t han a d ream, a nd o ur hopes defrauded i n t he m ost cruel way misfor­ tune can w ound. W hat is left is for us to make an e ffort-there c ould n ot be, s crupu­ lously, any o ther s olution to o ur p roblem-and with o ne fatal blow destroy the obstacle to o ur prosperity. I t is necessary: the time has come, there are no more than six or seven oppressors. Hospitality a nd s ome o ther noble feelings protect them, for now, from o ur rage, a nd the laws o f h umanity a re to us inviolable, as you have seen. No more innocent people will die. No. Moreover. if need be, we will live itinerantly and await the o pportunity to seek revenge a nd p urge society o f s ome people who are so low t hat they debase it with their shameful conduct. O ur families have t urned i nto strangers, begging for a haven in their former homeland. O ur property, i f it has to be the prey o f the miserly greed o f o ur enemies, then it shall be, which is better t han i f it were victim o f o ur o wn vicissitudes. In terms o f the land, Nature concedes to us what­ ever is n eeded to s upport ourselves, a nd we accept all o f t he associated consequences. O ur p ersonal enemies will n ot possess o ur land, except by paying for it with their o wn blood. Even so, we are left with the hope that the government, by its own dignity a nd justice, accedes t o o ur d emand, pursuing a nd passing j udgment o n t hose men o r allowing them to be subjected t o the consequences o f o ur i mmutable resolution. The only thing left for m e to say is t hat accidentally segregated from the o ther neigh­ bors o f t he city by being outside o f it, b ut n ot renouncing o ur rights as North Anlerican citizens, we energetically c ondemn a nd protest the action o f the Mexican National Guard having crossed the border to interfere in a question so foreign to t hat c ountry. t hat there is n o way to forgive such weakness by t hose who requested it. A nonymous Joaquin Murieta; The B allad o f Gregorio Cortez (Joaquin Murieta; Ballade de Gregorio Cortez) The following two selections come from the corrido (ballad) tradition. The cOrTido evolved from the romance carrida, a narrative song form that the Spanish brought to the New World in t he Sixteenth centUiY. The corrido along the Texas-Mexico border often reflects the height­ ened tension associated with intercultural conflict between Anglos and Texans of Mexican descent from about 1848 through the Second World War. Border corridos typically feature an epic Mexican-American hero who, through his acts of defying Anglo authority, expresses the collective resistance to oppression and injustice. Today, carridos composed and sung in Mexico as well as throughout the southwestern United States may vary musically and for­ mally from tradtional corridos but they have retained their narrative quality. They relate in '" 1 15 ...
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