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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OBAMA SAYS “NO” IS NOT AN OPTION FOR THE DREAM ACT: THE DREAM OF OPPORTUNITY IS STILL ALIVE IN OUR TIME

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(AFP OUT) U.S. President Barack Obama greets guests during a Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden at the White House on May 3, 2012 in Washington, D.C. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla between Mexico and France in 1862.
(May 2, 2012 – Source: Pool/Getty Images North America)

THE DREAM OF OPPORTUNITY IS STILL ALIVE IN OUR TIME – LOOKING BACK AT MAY 4, 2009

“While geography has made us neighbors, tradition has made us friends, economics has made us partners and necessity has made us allies, two great and independent nations united by hope instead of fear. Visiting Mexico, I was greeted by children on both our nations waving flags. A powerful reminder that everything we do is to secure a better future for our children and for our grandchildren. And while I was there, I found it impossible not to be touched by the warmth and vigor and the forceful vitality of the Mexican people. The love of life I’ve seen in Mexican American communities throughout this nation, and that’s what we’ll celebrate tomorrow, that’s what we’ll celebrate tonight, and that’s what we’ll celebrate in the future. Feliz Cinco de Mayo.” -President Obama

President Obama told a largely Hispanic audience today that he is ready to sign the DREAM Act and blamed Republicans for the failure of the legislation that would grant illegal immigrant students a path to citizenship.

photo source: AP

“We’re going to keep fighting for this common-sense reform — not just because hundreds of thousands of talented young students depend on it, but because ultimately America depends on it,” the president said at the annual Cinco de Mayo reception at the White House. “‘No’ is not an option. I want to sign the DREAM Act into law. I’ve got the pens all ready. I’m willing to work with anybody who is serious to get this done, and to achieve bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform that solves this challenge once and for all.”

Dancers from Ballet Folklorico Mexicano de Georgetown perform at a Cinco de Mayo reception at the White House in Washington, May 3, 2012. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Read more: IB Times

Today’s election-year celebration comes as the president courts Latino voters in the run-up to November.

(AFP OUT) Guests take pictures during a Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, DC, on May 3, 2012.. Photo by Olivier Douliery/ABACAUSA.com
(May 2, 2012 – Source: Pool/Getty Images North America)

“We know that securing our future depends on making sure that all Americans have the opportunity to reach their potential. And that’s why we’ve worked hard over the last three and a half years to create jobs; to make sure you get the care you need when you get sick; to make college affordable for everybody; to ensure that no matter where you are, where you come from, what you look like, what your last name is — even if it’s Obama– you can make it if you try,” the president said to applause.

(AFP OUT) The Ballet Folklorico Mexicano performs during a Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden at the White House on May 3, 2012 in Washington, D.C. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the Battle of Puebla between Mexico and France in 1862.
(May 2, 2012 – Source: Pool/Getty Images North America)

In his brief remarks, Obama welcomed everyone to celebrate the “tres de Mayo” at this year’s party. The president will spend the real Cinco de Mayo this Saturday campaigning in Ohio and Virginia. “We just like to get the fiesta started early around here,” he joked. This year’s “fiesta” included dance performances by Georgetown University’s Ballet Folklórico and traditional Mexican music. Guests mingled in the Rose Garden, sipping champagne and, of course, margaritas.

Read More: ABC News

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HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO MIS AMERICANOS: CHECK OUT THE SEVEN CITIES WITH THE HOTTEST FIESTAS ACROSS THE COUNTRY

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From margaritas to Mariachi and everything in between, here’s a rundown of the biggest fiestas taking place across the country.

(1) Los Angeles, California

The Fiesta Broadwayis known as “the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world. The monster street fair, which covers more than 24 square blocks of downtown Los Angeles, draws crowds of more than half a million people. This year the fiesta happened on April 27th – 29th.

(2) Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Cinco de Mayo – Denver

The Mile High City is home to “Cinco in the Park,” a two-day festival hosted by Denver’s Civic Park Center that typically attracts more than 400,000 visitors and features over 350 food and retail vendors.
Look out for three stages of live entertainment, a Navy flight simulator, and the highly-anticipated annual Green Chili-Bowl Cookoff when the party — now entering its 25th year  anniversary kicks off— kicks off with a parade on Saturday, May 5th at 10am.

(3) Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Cinco de Mayo – Arizona

This year, the 19th annual Cinco de Mayo Phoenix festival willtake place May 5th and May 6th.  The big bash draws in more than 150,000 enthusiastic attendees.
Look forward to the endless mix of live music, batting cages, and party-goers chomping down on one and half pound turkey legs.

(4) St. Paul, Minnesota

St. Paul, Minnesota

Cinco de Mayo – Minnesota

The “Spiciest Celebration” in Minnesota takes place in St.Paul’s District del Sol, which opens its streets to more than 100,000 attendees each year.
The party begins on Friday, May 4th at 4 p.m. and keeps raging through Saturday night. What should you expect? Six blocks of traditional latin food, music, and dance, a lowrider car show, and a “people’s choice” salsa tasting contest!

(5) Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Cinco de Mayo – Chicago

This year, Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood — the heart of the city’s Mexican community — will host its second annual Cinco de Mayo festival from Friday, May 4 to Sunday, May 6.
The three-day celebration is said “to be one of the largest Mexican cultural fests in the Midwest.”
In late September, Little Village is also the site of the Chicago’s annual Mexican Independence Day Parade.

(6) Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Cinco de Mayo – Oregon

Get ready to see professional luchadores (Mexican wrestlers) riling things up at Portland’s 28th Annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, which starts today and continues through Sunday, May 7.
The extravagant celebration takes place along the waterfront and showcases a variety of local talent and professional entertainment, including ethnic Mexican ballet dance and a Latin rock band.

(7) San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

Cinco de Mayo – San Francisco

The Mission neighborhood in San Francisco celebrates its eigth annual Cinco de Mayo spectacular this weekend in Dolores Park.
The family-friendly, alcohol-free extravaganza is expected to draw more than 5,000 people — just the right number to start a giant Zumba-thon Exercise Class, which will launch the entire event on Saturday, May 5.
Updated from 2011: Business Insider

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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.

source unknown

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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NIELSEN REPORTS THAT ENGAGING THE HISPANIC MARKET IS AN IMPERATIVE FOR FUTURE SUCCESS: THIS MEANS YEAR ROUND NOT JUST ON CINCO DE MAYO

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Cinco de Mayo is around the corner, and some brands are leveraging the holiday to roll out special promotions and discounts. (For example, Tyson Foods, Tabasco brand and Jose Cuervo’s nonalcoholic margarita mix have teamed up on a “Fiesta of Flavor” retail savings promotion.)
While I love the idea of engaging consumers around special events like holidays (and this Fiesta of Flavor campaigns seems like an innovative, multi-channel winner), I also want to add a few words of caution. If you’re a brand that wants to be more relevant to Hispanics (and you should be), it’s time to start thinking beyond Cinco de Mayo alone. These days, Hispanic marketing campaigns need to be comprehensive, consistent and year-round.
Why do you need to start focusing on the Hispanic market? A recent Nielsen report doesn’t mince words. From State of the Hispanic Consumer: The Hispanic Market Imperative:
“The U.S. Hispanic population is the largest minority segment and is growing at a dramatic rate towards ethnic plurality, which has already occurred in the most populous states and is beginning to occur among the U.S. baby population. Ethnic plurality refers to the coexistence of numerous ethnicities and races with no one segment in the majority. If the present U.S. economy substantially benefits from Hispanics, the future U.S. economy will depend on Hispanics by virtue of demographic change and the social and cultural shifts expected to accompany their continued growth.”
“The Hispanic market’s size, sheer size, growing clout, and buying power of $1 trillion in 2010 and $1.5 trillion by 2015 require thoughtful understanding about what the market represents to a company’s bottom line.”

“Hispanics are a primary driver of growth and change in the American marketplace, and marketers must recognize that engaging the Hispanic market is now an imperative for future success.”

How can you make an authentic connection to Hispanics so that you can start truly engaging them and provide a relevant and personalized customer experience? Execute, evaluate, evolve.

The biggest mistake you can make in marketing to Hispanics is relying on a one-hit-wonder campaign centered around Cinco de Mayo.  Today’s Hispanic population is diverse, discerning and engaged –as such, it demands your consistent, thoughtful attention year-round.

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