|The myth of 'Reconquista'
By Jack Ward
Reconquista or the "re-conquest" of the US by Mexico is a concept that is being perpetrated by disingenuous academics and opportunistic political activists. The Reconquista movement seemed to find new energy during the 'Day Without Illegal Immigrants' protest marches. In both of these protest marches posters and banners declared: "We believe that we have the right to be in this land", "This is OUR Land", "This country was ours", "We didn't cross the borders - The borders crossed us", and "America is a continent, NOT a country". These banners were seen coast to coast not just in the Border States.
The thrust of all of these banners is that the entire North American continent belongs to Mexico. The Mexica Movement or Anahuac Nation is the more expansive while Aztlan only focuses on the Southwest US. The most visible of these groups that romanticize Mexican claims to the "lost Territories" of the US are MEChA, The Brown Berets, and La Raza. They all demand a "reconquista" (or reconquering) of the United States by and for Mexicans.
To understand these frivolous claims we need to retrace history. The US was formed by a series of treaties and purchases. The first was from England. Since then there have been about a dozen such transactions involving England, France, Spain, Russia and of course Mexico.
So why do these misguided advocates of the Reconquista believe that the US belongs to Mexico? It was the Spanish that explored the Southwest and established the missions – not Mexican explorers or missionaries. After several centuries of Spanish control, Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. Then in 1848 Mexico ceded the Southwest US through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo when the US paid cash and assumed Mexican debt. At the time Americans outnumbered Mexicans about 5 to 1 in the area. Even without the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo sooner or later the settlers in the disputed territory would have followed Texas's lead and fought for their independence from Mexico just like Mexico fought for their independence from Spain 27 years earlier.
If we accept the Reconquista nonsense, should the US also surrender land acquired from France through the Louisiana Purchase and the Alaskan land purchased from Russia? Of course not! But the believers in Aztlan want to rewrite history, void the treaty and surrender the Southwest US to Mexico.
Aztlan was the legendary homeland of the Aztecas. But there is no evidence that indigenous Mexicans tribes populated the US East Coast, the Midwest, or the Southwest. So in reality Mexico has no claim to any land in the US. All this may come as a shock to groups like MEChA.
But to humor the believers of Reconquista let's assume that their claims are valid and that
Anahuc and Aztlan belong to Mexico. What would it look like? I suggest that instead of an economic power house and beacon of freedom that the US has become, Anahuc and Aztlan would look like the border cities of Tijuana, Juarez, and Nuevo Laredo. When you take a close look at these border cities and their across the border sister cities of San Diego California, El Paso Texas, and Laredo Texas you can instantly see the results when one form of government is based on personal freedom and another is froth with corruption. I suggest that the believers of Reconquista would not see any improvement in their lives if Mexico ruled the Southwest US. The same elites that rule Mexico today would also rule Anahuc and Aztlan and there is little reason to believe that they would allow the average Mexican to better themselves. If there was such thinking in the Mexican hierarchy, Mexico would already be as prosperous as the US.
Mexico is rich in natural resources and is blessed with hard working people. In the past, Mexico has been burdened with governmental corruption which has crippled business, investment, and productivity opportunities. While current policies are an improvement, they are clearly not doing enough to help Mexican citizens. The believers of the Reconquista should realize that the Mexican people have been trapped by an oppressive corrupt government and they should focus their energy on improving Mexico. Increasing the land mass of an oppressive corrupt government will not provide more opportunities for the Mexican people.
Finally, if Anahuc and Aztlan where annexed to Mexico where would all the Mexican people go to seek freedom and opportunity?
(c) 2006. Jack Ward
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