WHAT IS HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH AND WHEN EXACTLY IS IT?

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Caesar Chavez, Migrant Workers Union Leader, 07/1972 Photo by: flickr

About National Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Entertainment: Vocalist Joan Baez. A sign hanging near the microphones reads "We Shall Overcome." ], 08/28/1963 photo by flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnationalarchives/6053190883/in/set-72157627456510830/Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Entertainment: Vocalist Joan Baez. A sign hanging near the microphones reads “We Shall Overcome.” ], 08/28/1963 photo by flickr

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

Photograph of the portrait of Jose de San Martin hanging on the wall in the Oval Office of the White House, directly over a small equestrian statue of Andrew Jackson., 11/05/1946 photo by flickr

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

To find out more about Hispanic Heritage Month visit the government website at http://hispanicheritagemonth.gov/

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MEXICO’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2012: WHO WILL WIN, WHAT WILL CHANGE & WILL THERE BE DIRTY POLITICS ON ELECTION DAY?

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THE HISPANIC BLOG IS THE LATEST HISPANIC NEWS BY JESSICA MARIE GUTIERREZ

Meet the Candidates: Enrique Peña Nieto, the Mexican presidential candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), Josefina Vazquez Mota, presidential candidate for the ruling National Action Party (PAN), Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, presidential candidate for the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD)

What will the change in “leadership” do for Mexico?

Will there be dirty politics in Mexico’s Presidential Election?

An employee of the Electoral Federal Institute (IFE) classifies and sorts votes casted by Mexicans living outside Mexico, on June 29, in Mexico city. Mexico will hold presidential elections July 1. Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/GettyImages
Sunday’s presidential election represents a difficult test for Mexico’s wobbly democracy: Can it hold a fraud-free national vote in the midst of a raging drug war? The country’s top election official conceded recently that violence in parts of the country prevented election officials from completing some preparations. But the official, Leonardo Valdes, insisted that safeguards are firmly in place to prevent the kind of brazen electoral fraud once notorious in Mexico. And, he said, most of the strong-arming, threats and payoffs by drug traffickers remain limited to local politics and less influential in the national race.
June 10, 2012 A student from the anti-PRI youth opposition movement “Yo soy132″ (“I am 132″) holds up a placard before the presidential candidates’ televised debate in Guadalajara. Tomas Bravo/Reuters
“Mexican presidential elections today are armored against fraud,” Valdes said. More than 1 million trained poll workers will be deployed in 143,151 voting stations, nearly all of which will also have monitors from at least three political parties. The specter of fraud looms especially large this year because the party that perfected the buying of votes and rigging of elections, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is favored to return to the presidency with its telegenic candidate Enrique Peña Nieto. The PRI held on to power for seven decades through repression, coercion and co-opting opponents, until it was ousted in 2000. It is staging a hard-fought comeback.
“It will be the biggest march of your life” a comrade of La Izquierda Socialista (Marxist wing of Morena) said Wednesday, 27th of June, when leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), like other candidates in the coming Mexican presidential elections, was to hold his final election rally or ‘cierre de campaña’ (campaign closing) as it is called here.
One of the largest demonstrations in the history of Mexico
AMLO directly mentioned the “I am 132” movement and the role it has played in energizing the population to defeat the bourgeois candidates. Also, when mentioning the organizations that back him he put an emphasis on MORENA (“Movement for National Regeneration), which is not an ‘official’ party yet but acts as a mass movement of more than 3 million members, many of whom youth and students, who are organized in brigades and committees all across the country. Tellingly, the mention of MORENA also got the loudest applause, possibly to the chagrin of some of the PRD bureaucrats present.
Despite tighter oversight and strengthened laws to ensure clean elections, analysts say Mexico remains vulnerable to many of the dirty tricks that flourished during PRI rule. Voter credentials make it easier to confirm a person’s identity, for example, but candidates and parties have turned to handing out discount cards to win influence with voters. Taking a page from the PRI’s old playbook, all three parties now bus voters to the polls on election day, giving them meals or other perks along the way. Another reported ploy is for voters to take a picture of their marked ballot with a cellphone and later show it to party operatives in return for cash.
“We continue to have elections that have serious problems in terms of legality, equality of access,” said John M. Ackerman, a law professor in Mexico City who has written about the country’s election laws.

While the PRI has opposed reform, Peña Nieto has run a campaign openly calling for structural changes in energy, tax, social security, education, labor etc, which is promising according to Fuente. “For others, though, a resounding victory by the PRI conjures up images of a return to one party-rule in Mexico, with the centralism and cronyism that characterized much of the PRI’s 70 year hold on power until 2000.” photo source: Danny Aguilar/Getty Images

Even before the first ballot was cast, leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Peña Nieto’s closest rival, warned of a fraud that would rob him “once again,” as he puts it, of the presidency.
To see how bad political posturing can get, rewind to 2006, when Lopez Obrador lost to Felipe Calderon by less than 1% of the vote. Lopez Obrador refused to recognize Calderon’s victory, unleashing a wave of paralyzing street protests. The following year, Congress passed electoral reforms that regulate air time by parties, prohibit attack ads and shorten to 90 days the amount of time presidential candidates may campaign. A big concern among Lopez Obrador supporters is the PRI’s strong grass-roots presence across most of Mexico’s 31 states and long history of vote-tampering during its rule. Leftists worry that the same well-oiled machinery could be used to inflate the vote on Peña Nieto’s behalf. But the odds for post-election controversy could hinge on the vote tally. A large margin would weaken potential charges of fraud, one reason why the Peña Nieto campaign hopes polls suggesting a blowout prove accurate.

photo source: The grandmother of police officer Jose Ramirez grieves over his body after he was killed by unidentified gunmen while on patrol in Las Joyas neighborhood of Acapulco, Mexico, in July 2010. Ramirez’s grandmother did not give her name, citing security reasons. Three other officers in the vehicle were also killed in the attack. AP/Bernardino Hernandez

Despite a drug war that has claimed more than 50,000 lives in almost six years, and traffickers’ penetration of many levels of Mexican life, most experts agree that the fertile field for narco-influence in politics remains at the local level. Traffickers are keen to control local police forces and city halls so that they can produce, sell and transport their drugs unimpeded. In elections in the state of Michoacan late last year, for example, cartels published ads in newspapers and made phone calls to regional officials with instructions on how to vote. In 2010, the ultra-violent city of Ciudad Juarez elected a mayor alleged to have had ties to a cartel, while in the state of Sinaloa, historic heartland of Mexican drug-trafficking, the compadre of one of the country’s top drug lords only narrowly lost the race for governor.

Starting in the mid-1990’s, different drug gangs increasingly became more violent, fighting to be on top, and gain more control and territory. After Gallardo was arrested, his lieutenant, Joaquin Guzman, started a war with other drug-lords that has since claimed over 50,000 lives.(Kellner) Little was done about the violence, and for a while, there were not even stories in the papers about these horrific and gruesome murders.

“We have had to recognize, especially locally, the presence and actions of criminal groups in the realm of elections,” Interior Minister Alejandro Poire said last week. “We are acting to prevent it … to guarantee that citizens be able to go out and vote in peace…. We cannot call this an election of fear.” The election has forced Mexicans to ponder the progress of democracy in their nation. Most celebrated the defeat of the authoritarian PRI in 2000 and welcomed a new party, Calderon’s National Action Party (PAN). But 12 years later, many feel, rightly or wrongly, that the experiment failed. Fundamental reforms of the educational system or of the monopolies that dominate and strangle the economy were not undertaken. Instead, Mexicans are saddled with a bloody war, a gnawing sense of terror and insecurity, and, now, the return of the very party they ousted.

President Felipe Calderon (PAN)

“Millions of Mexican people thought that, almost magically, alternation [one party handing off to another] would bring about profound changes in Mexico,” said Alfonso Zarate, a political analyst in Mexico City. But a PRI victory, he said, “would mean the censure and disapproval of the PAN governments. It means disillusionment.” At the same time, the flow of power to the state governors since the centralized PRI regime was ousted has created powerful fiefdoms where governors can rule without the checks and balances of a healthy democracy. “On the state level, we have gone backward,” Zarate said.

May 13, 2012 Josefina Vazquez Mota, presidential candidate for the ruling National Action Party (PAN), waves Mexico’s flag during a rally in Veracruz. Oscar Martinez/Reuters

As even more mature democracies have shown, an open multi-party system does not necessarily produce stellar candidates. Numerous Mexicans have expressed near-existential dismay over the choices they have in this election; they chafe at the prospect of the PRI’s return, can’t stomach more of the current, discredited government, and see Lopez Obrador as an unreformed erratic. “This is a democratic process,” Mexican historian Enrique Krauze said. But “the democratic voter — the voter who in Mexico believes deeply in democracy — has a difficult choice to make.”

Read More: LA Times

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MARGARET WARNER ON THE SCENE FOR MEXICO’S ELECTIONS FOR PBS NEWSHOUR

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photo by AP

Senior Correspondent Margaret Warner and the PBS NEWSHOUR Foreign Affairs team will be reporting throughout next week from Mexico on the country’s July 1 presidential election.
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photo source: AP

On-the air and online, the NewsHour will feature comprehensive coverage of the issues dominating the election, the political players influencing the vote, and the election results themselves.
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photo source AP

 

“Why, with Greece churning and civil war unfolding in Syria, have we come to Mexico to cover this election?” wrote Warner in a Rundown blog post kicking off the NewsHour’s coverage of the presidential vote. “Because if Mexico fails, the blowback to the United States would be enormous.”

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The PBS NewsHour’s series on Mexican elections officially begins tonight, (Friday, June 22) and will stretch through the elections on Sunday (July 1) and end with wrap-up and analysis on Monday (July 2). Viewers can already read Margaret Warner’s thoughts on the presidential race here, the country’s drug war here, and U.S. ties to Mexico here.

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· Friday June 22: Warner will preview her upcoming reports on the NewsHour broadcast (check local listings).

photo source IFE/AP

· Monday, June 25: On the NewsHour broadcast, Warner will provide an in-depth breakdown of the presidential candidates, opposing parties PRI and PAN, and the issues at the heart of the race. The segment will feature an interview with the head of one of Mexico’s “dualopoly” of television networks. Online, the NewsHour will take a look at the rising use of social media in the campaign, especially by Mexico’s student movement.

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· Tuesday, June 26: Warner profiles photographer Julian Cardona, who has extensively documented drug and gang war atrocities in Juarez. The NewsHour website will feature a slideshow of Cardona’s work.

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· Thursday, June 28: The Newshour broadcast takes a look at Mexico’s ongoing violent drug war, a looming issue in the election. Warner spotlights the industrial hub of Monterrey, and examines how the violence is causing Mexicans of means to flee the country and impacting Mexican business. Earlier in the day, Warner will also moderate a live Twitter debate on @Newshour on whether the drug war is or isn’t working.

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· Friday, June 29: Warner will provide a final broadcast preview on Sunday’s election from Mexico, and discuss the stakes for the U.S. in the election. Online, the Newshour will have street interviews with Mexican voters.

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· Sunday, July 1: Online, Warner and the NewsHour will provide special web-only election day updates from polling places in Mexico.

photo source: Reuters/Daniel Aguilar

· Monday, July 2: Warner will report from Mexico on the election results.

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Throughout the week, the NewsHour’s coverage of the Mexican elections will be collected on a special webpage here.

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HOW IMMIGRATION HAS AFFECTED THE UNITED STATES/MEXICO RELATIONSHIP: MSNBC TALKS TO THE AMBASSADOR OF MEXICO, ARTURO SARUKHAN CASAMITJANA

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CLICK HERE TO SEE THE MSNBC INTERVIEW WITH ARTURO SARUKHAN CASAMITJANA AMBASSADOR OF MEXICO

Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., makes remarks with President Barack Obama during a Cinco de Mayo celebration in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington, Monday, May 4, 2009. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan talks about the affiliation between the U.S. and Mexico as Cinco De Mayo approaches.

SOURCE: AP/Danny Johnston

>>> at home and among our neighbors in mexico . president obama addressed the holiday and the bonds between our two countries on thursday.
>> the united states and mexico have lived intersecting and overlapping histories. our two countries share the ties of history and familia and commerce and culture and values and today, we are more united than ever. in friendship and in common purpose.
>> ambassador arturo sarukhan serves as mexico ambassador to the united states . thank you very much. happy cinco de mayo a day in advance. one of the things you said in your speech yesterday about cinco de mayo was that immigration reform is the unfinished business between our two countries. and you talked about the fact that there are 11 million people living in the shadows. i talked earlier to hilda solis, the labor secretary about this but the argument you get from democrats, from the white house is that oh, it’s the republicans on the hill. the argument you get from the republicans is that the white house won’t negotiate. what is your perspective looking at us?

photo source by FlickrU.S. Secretary of LaborHilda Solis testifies at a hearing about Strengthening the Economy and Improving the Lives of American Workers on February 3, 2010.

>> well, look, this is probably the most important single issue in the u.s.- mexico bilateral relationship. nothing will have a more profound impact on the future prosperity, well-being and security of north america of mexico and the united states than getting immigration right. but it is a very toxic and very polar rising issue more so in an election. and more so when so many americans are hurting and out of a job. these issues are very tough to handle and there are people on both sides of the aisle that i think are fully committed to getting this done. the challenge is timing. and the equation, how you put this together so combined all the different groups that have a specific interest in getting immigration done, but that need to come together and agree to big single holistic deal.

photo source: AP

>> immigration, illegal immigration is down. is that because of border security or is that because more jobs are available and the economy has improved so much in mexico ?
>> this is probably the most important story that is happening today on the u.s.- mexico border which americans are not focusing on. there’s a dramatic drop from undocumented immigration from 2006 to 2011 , we’ve seen a 60% drop in documented immigration. there has just been a report issued by the pew hispanic institute that states what a lot of us had already been seeing that net migration from mexico is zero if not negative. that means that more people are going back than people actually coming across the border. it’s a mix of reasons. certainly a softer u.s. economy especially in the construction sector which has traditionally been a magnet for undocumented labor has to do with it. greater operational control of the border. something a lot of people don’t want to focus on but which is a reality. the pernicious and very troubling musclealing in of organized crime into human trafficking on the border and the impact that has on the well-being and security of migrants. i think the most important reason is that over 15 years, as a result of sustained sound macro economic policies in mexico , one of the largest free trade agreement networks that any country has on the face of the earth by generating export-related job creation and by what is probably by world bank bench marks the most successful extreme poverty aleviation program on the face of the earth. these things combined with a profound shift in the demographics of mexico is expanding the middle classes , is creating better jobs. and is locking in or anchoring people who may be a year ago, two years ago would have decided to cross the border. they’re staying home.

About twice as many Mexicans returned home in the five years previous to the 2010 census than had done so in the five years before the 2000 census. Read Story: Pew Research Center

>> we’re anticipating of course, in june premium court decision on immigration. and the indications from the oral arguments and it’s always difficult to guess, are that the court may uphold some of the more extreme measures . how will that be viewed south of the border ?

>> look, this is an issue that as you can well imagine has garnered a lot of attention in mexico . i think that mexico in the past and we continue to say it, i think that we fully agree to the fact that any country has the right to establish whatever immigration policy it deems fit, but we do believe also that that’s a responsibility of the federal government . and we think that some of these laws, arizona, and a lot of people have forgotten alabama, may be one of the worst pieces of legislation out there and are poisoning the well spring of values of bonds that connect these two countries. it is a very big challenge.

El embajador de México en EU, Arturo Sarukhan, dijo que Centroamérica es “víctima” del éxito de la lucha antinarco (EFE Archivo).

>> let me ask you finally about the violence because as a member of the committee to protect journalists i have to tell you, there’s terrible concern for reporters and photographers in veracruz state murdered only this week. what can we do about what’s happening? it seems to be the targeting by these criminals of reporters and photographers.
>> first of all, we have to do anything in our power to defend journalists who are doing their job and a lot of them do become the target of organized crime that is either seeking to silence them or to ensure that the stories don’t come out. we have to find ways to protect these journalists more importantly we have to build mechanisms in which we can investigate and prosecute a swiftly and as quickly as possible because a society where a free press is muzzled because of intimidation or fear senior a society that’s in trouble.
>> arturo, sarakhan, thank you very much for joining us today.

Read More: MSNBC

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WHY DO WE CELEBRATE CINCO DE MAYO – IS IT MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY: THE TRUTH AND HISTORY BEHIND WHAT THIS DAY REALLY MEANS IN THE UNITED STATES AND IN MEXICO

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It’s almost May 5, 2012, so Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! The day commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of Texas born General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. Cinco de Mayo is observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride.

Cinco de Mayo in Mexico

Within Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is primarily observed in the state of Puebla, where Zaragoza’s unlikely triumph occurred, for many Mexicans, however, May 5 is a day like any other: It is not a federal holiday, so offices, banks and stores remain open.

Cinco de Mayo in the United States

In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with substantial Mexican-American populations.

Chicano activists raised awareness of the holiday in the 1960s because the day commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla. They identified with the victory of indigenous Mexicans over European invaders.

Cinco de Mayo: And It’s Fiesta Time (To find out about the Seven Biggest Cinco De Mayo Parties in the US CLICK HERE

Today, revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano. Some of the largest festivals are held in Los Angeles, Chicago and Arizona.

Confusion with Mexican Independence Day

Many people outside Mexico mistakenly believe that Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican independence, which was declared more than 50 years before the Battle of Puebla. That event is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores”), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810. The book The Course of Mexican History states “The exact words of this most famous of all Mexican speeches are not known, or, rather, they are reproduced in almost as many variations as there are historians to reproduce them.”The book goes on to claim that “the essential spirit of the message is…

‘My children: a new dispensation comes to us today. Will you receive it? Will you free yourselves? Will you recover the lands stolen three hundred years ago from your forefathers by the hated Spaniards? We must act at once… Will you defend your religion and your rights as true patriots? Long live our Lady of Guadalupe! Death to bad government! Death to the gachupines!’

Hidalgo’s Grito did not condemn the notion of monarchy or criticize the current social order in detail, but his opposition to the events in Spain and the current viceregal government was clearly expressed in his reference to bad government. The Grito also emphasized loyalty to the Catholic religion, a sentiment with which both Creoles and Peninsulares (native Spaniards) could sympathize; however, the strong anti-Spanish cry of “Death to the Gachupines” (Gachupines was a nickname given to Peninsulares) probably had caused horror among Mexico’s elite.

Cinco de Mayo: The History Behind What this Day Truly Means

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cPhoto: Battle of Puebla

In Mexico, the various factions that fought their civil war had borrowed large sums of money from foreign creditors. The fighting devastated Mexico’s economy, and the country had to suspend payments on its debts. Taking advantage of the relative weakness of the United States during the US Civil War, in December of 1861 the governments of France, Great Britain and Spain landed an allied military force at Vera Cruz to protect their interests in Mexico and to try to collect the debts owed to their citizens. Juárez negotiated with the allies and promised to resume payments, and the British and Spanish troops began to withdraw from Mexico in April, 1862.

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The French, however, did not withdraw and instead sent reinforcements to their troops in Mexico. At the time France was ruled by Louis Napoleon, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. Louis Napoleon was elected President of France, but after the election he proclaimed himself Napoleon III, Emperor of the French (the British referred to him as “the nephew of the uncle”). While negotiations for the Mexican government to repay its debts were ongoing, the French commander, General Charles Ferdinand Latrille, comte (Count) de Lorencez, advanced on Mexico City from Vera Cruz, occupying the mountain passes which led down into the Valley of Mexico. At this point it became clear that Napoleon III planned to turn Mexico into a colony. The French advance was along a route that had been used several times in the past to conquer Mexico, first by the conquistador Hernan Cortes and most recently by US General Winfield Scott during the Mexican War.

Napoleon III

France declared war on Mexico, and called on those Mexicans who had fought on the side of the Conservative Party in the civil war to join them. Napoleon III planned to turn Mexico into an empire ruled by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Josef von Habsburg, the younger brother of the Emperor of Austria-Hungary.

Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Josef von Habsburg

General Charles Ferdinand Latrille, Count de Lorencez, was the leader of the French forces – the Corps Expéditionnaire – which numbered about 7,300 men. He had been their commander for about two months. He was confident of victory. He boldly proclaimed, “we are so superior to the Mexicans in race, organization, morality, and elevated sentiments that as the head of 6,000 soldiers I am already master of Mexico.” He knew that less than 6,000 US troops – considered poorly trained and disciplined by European officers – had defeated a Mexican Army of 30,000 men under President General Antonio de Santa Anna (Antonio López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón) and taken Mexico City in 1847. General Count de Lorencez had over 1,000 more men than US General Winfield Scott, and the Mexican Army facing the French at Puebla numbered about 6,000 men (the French would later say 12,000) – far less than the army General Scott had defeated.
Left: Napoleon III, Emperor of the French (Chateau de Versailles); Right: Díaz at Puebla - This painting shows one of the critical moments of the Cinco de Mayo battle.  The French assault has begun to break up under the deadly fire of Mexican marksmen from Fort Loreto and the fortified monastery of Guadalupe.  Just then, General Porfirio Díaz appears, leading a detachment of Mexican cavalry in a charge against the dispirited French troops.

Left: Napoleon III, Emperor of the French (Chateau de Versailles); Right: Díaz at Puebla – This painting shows one of the critical moments of the Cinco de Mayo battle. The French assault has begun to break up under the deadly fire of Mexican marksmen from Fort Loreto and the fortified monastery of Guadalupe. Just then, General Porfirio Díaz appears, leading a detachment of Mexican cavalry in a charge against the dispirited French troops.

Furthermore, de Lorencez considered his own French troops far better trained and disciplined than the troops fielded by either the United States or Mexico. In order to make his entry into Puebla as impressive as possible, General Count de Lorencez ordered his troops to apply fresh whitening to their gaiters before the attack.

Texas born General Ignacio Zaragoza on Mexico’s 500 Pesos

The Mexican Army of the East (Ejército de Oriente), under the command of Texas-born General Ignacio Zaragoza (1829-1862), the vastly outnumbered and poorly supplied Mexicans fortified the town and prepared for the French assault. General Ignacio Zaragoza, took up positions at the town of Puebla (Puebla de los Angeles). This maneuver blocked the French advance on Mexico City. General Ignacio Zaragoza addressed his troops, telling them, “Your enemies are the first soldiers in the world, but you are the first sons of Mexico. They have come to take your country away from you.” Zaragoza ordered his commanders – Generals Felipe B. Berriozabal, Porfirio Díaz (José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori), Félix Díaz, Miguel Negrete and Francisco de Lamadrid, to occupy the Cerro de Guadalupe, a ridge of high ground dominating the entrance to Puebla, and the five forts which surrounded the town.

Of the forts, the two most prominent were situated on the Cerro de Guadalupe on either side of the road to Mexico City — the fort of Loretto to the right, and the fortified monastery of Guadalupe to the left. These were the positions that General Count de Lorencez ordered the Corps. After a brief artillery bombardment the French began their assault. Caught in a devastating crossfire from the Mexican troops manning the loopholes of the two forts, the French line faltered and then broke. The soldiers of the Corps Expéditionnaire charged the Mexican positions two more times, but each attack was repulsed by the withering musket fire of the Mexican troops. As the beaten French began their retreat, Mexican General Porfirio Díaz, at the head of a troop of cavalry, attacked them. Though badly shot up, the Corps Expéditionnaire was able to retreat in good order. They spent the evening of Cinco de Mayo waiting for an attack which never came. The next day, they began to withdraw back down the road towards Vera Cruz.

When word of the defeat reached Napoleon III, he replaced General Count de Lorencez as commander of the Corps Expéditionnaire with General Elias Frederic Forey, and sent 30,000 troops as reinforcements. The French reaction did little to lessen the shock of the defeat in Europe, and particularly in France. The Mexican Army had proved itself capable of standing up to a first-class European army, and defeating it. The victory of the Cinco de Mayo at Puebla is still celebrated today.

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