Saturday, May 05, 2012

Cinco de Mayem

It's a gringo thing, that Cinco de Mayo stuff. Mainly celebrated by Norte Americanos who need an excuse to drink and eat beans. As if.

History.com explains its, well, history, and we can only hope this is not a deja vue all over again.
In 1861 the liberal Mexican Benito Juárez (1806-1872) became president of a country in financial ruin, and he was forced to default on his debts to European governments. In response, France, Britain and Spain sent naval forces to Veracruz to demand reimbursement. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France, ruled by Napoleon III (1808-1873), decided to use the opportunity to carve a dependent empire out of Mexican territory. Late in 1861, a well-armed French fleet stormed Veracruz, landing a large French force and driving President Juárez and his government into retreat.

Certain that success would come swiftly, 6,000 French troops under General Charles Latrille de Lorencez (1814-1892) set out to attack Puebla de Los Angeles, a small town in east-central Mexico. From his new headquarters in the north, Juárez rounded up a rag-tag force of 2,000 loyal men—many of them either indigenous Mexicans or of mixed ancestry—and sent them to Puebla. Led by Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza (1829-1862), the vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. On May 5, 1862, Lorencez drew his army, well provisioned and supported by heavy artillery, before the city of Puebla and led an assault from the north. The battle lasted from daybreak to early evening, and when the French finally retreated they had lost nearly 500 soldiers. Fewer than 100 Mexicans had been killed in the clash.

Although not a major strategic win in the overall war against the French, Zaragoza's success at Puebla represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and bolstered the resistance movement. Six years later—thanks in part to military support and political pressure from the United States, which was finally in a position to aid its besieged neighbor after the end of the Civil War—France withdrew. The same year, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, who had been installed as emperor of Mexico by Napoleon in 1864, was captured and executed by Juárez's forces.

Read more at the link above.

Mexonline.com adds local flavour.
It is primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the Mexican state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla, with some limited recognition in other parts of Mexico, and especially in U.S. cities with a significant Mexican population. It is not, as many people think, Mexico's Independence Day, which is actually September 16.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo has become increasingly popular along the U.S.-Mexico border and in parts of the U.S. that have a high population of people with a Mexican heritage. In these areas the holiday is a celebration of Mexican culture, of food, music, beverage and customs unique to Mexico.

Commercial interests in the United States and Mexico have also had a hand in promoting the holiday, with products and services focused on Mexican food, beverages and festivities, with music playing a more visible role as well. Several cities throughout the U.S. hold parades and concerts during the week following up to May 5th, so that Cinco de Mayo has become a bigger holiday north of the border than it is to the south, and being adopted into the holiday calendar of more and more people every year.

What's to celebrate?


23 dead, 9 found hanging from bridge, in Nuevo Laredo
The bodies of nine people were found hanging from a bridge just south of Laredo, Texas in the Mexican town of Nuevo Laredo early Friday morning. Five men and four women were among those dead.

Bodies of 23 found dumped near U.S. border in Mexico drug war
found hanging from a bridge or dismembered in ice boxes and garbage bags

Police could not confirm who was responsible for the murders but a message seen with the bodies indicated it may have been an attack by the Zetas cartel against the rival Gulf cartel. The Zeta cartel was founded by deserters from the Mexican special forces who became Gulf cartel enforcers and later split from their employers.

The two gangs are now fighting for control of local drug trafficking routes.

In Nuevo Laredo, 23 corpses found on grisly day in Mexican drug-cartel war
A Web site devoted to news about narco-violence published photographs of the nine victims — five men and four women — swinging from the bridge, the corpses bloody and bearing marks of torture. Some had their pants pulled down to their ankles.

There was a banner hung beside the bodies on the bridge, and its profanity-laden message boasted that “in this way I am finishing you all off.” It also said that one victim “cried like a woman giving birth.”

Feel like celebrating now? With terrorists right on our doorstep?

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