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February 02, 2008

Happy Guadalupe Hidalgo Day!

Posted in: Mexico

by Allan Wall

February 2nd is the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. That 1848 treaty officially ended the Mexican War and legally turned over most of the Southwest to the United States.

The average American doesn?t know much about the Mexican War and thinks about it less.

But here in Mexico they do think about it?a lot.

In Mexico, everybody knows that “the U.S. took half our national territory.”

“La Intervenci├│n Norteamericana” has been described?by Mexican writer and Nobel laureate Octavio Paz?as “one of the most unjust wars of conquest in history.”

Not only that, but the loss of Mexico?s northern territories has been used as a reason?an excuse, really?for the economic failures of Mexico compared to the economic success of the United States.

According to at least one poll, conducted in 2002 by Zogby in Mexico, 58% of respondents agreed with the statement that “the territory of the United States? Southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico”. [MS Word] Now that?s definitely a different perspective.

In a lighter vein, some Mexicans jokingly quip that, when the U.S. took half of Mexico?s territory, we took the half with the paved roads.

Some Americans are shocked to learn that Mexicans actually have a different historical perspective than we do.

How dare Mexicans say the U.S. took the Southwest from Mexico? How dare they have a different perspective than us?

It?s time for a reality check. Different nations have different historical perspectives on the same historical events. That?s one reason they are different nations.

Of course Mexicans say that the U.S. took (or even “stole”) the Southwest! Why wouldn?t they?

We?ve got to get over this naïve belief that everybody in the world has the same values, and that everybody wants to be just like us.

Maybe we should have thought twice about importing millions of people from the only country on earth with an irredentist claim against us?and then encouraging them not to assimilate!

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