Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI

Nearly half of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America. Some speculate the church will embrace this growing population and give the world its first Hispanic pope.

“There’s a sense this is the time a pope will come from this whole growing area of the church,” said local Catholic leader Father David Garcia.


When the cardinals meet to elect the next pope, many will be praying he comes from Latin America.
“I think I’m excited that our next pope might be from outside of Europe,” said local parishioner Brian Przybla.


For the first time in centuries, cardinals will have time to discuss candidates ahead of time and perhaps listen to others.
“I think they will take into consideration someone younger and maybe Hispanic would be great,” said local parishioner Theresa Cuellar.


Already there is speculation about the Hispanic who could be pope. Archbishop Odilo Pedro Scherer of Brazil, the largest Catholic country in Latin America, is seen as the front-runner.
Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez

Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez

Also mentioned is Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
Before the election of Pope Benedict XVI, Rodriguez said, “It would be a great hope for many of the young Catholics to have a pope who could come from Latin America.”
Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera

Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico City is another Hispanic papal contender along with Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez from Columbia.
A third of American Catholics are Hispanic. That number is expected to grow, especially in Texas.

Read more: KHOU

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29th April 1912: A crowd await the return of survivors of the ‘Titanic‘ disaster, at Southampton. (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images) and FOX News Latino

The ill-fated trip aboard the Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic Ocean 100 years ago today, included a well-to-do Mexican man who had high-level political connections, a rich businessman from Cuba and at least eight passengers from Spain. Some were willing to shell out big bucks to be part of the historic journey, others were onboard because they were servants for the very wealthy. Some survived and even found love amid the wreckage. Others were not so lucky. What strings their lives together is that each of them were passengers of the most famous cruise line in history.



The only Mexican on the Titanic voyage was 39-year-old lawyer, Don. Manuel Ramirez Uruchurtu. Although Uruchurtu was lucky enough to be in first class on the ship, he did not make it out alive. Uruchurtu was part of a well-to-do Mexican family, which allowed him the luxury of studying law in México City where he met and married fellow student Gertrudis Caraza y Landero, a Mexican lady of high social standing. Settling down in México City to establish his law practice, the couple had 7 children. During the time of the Mexican revolution in 1910, Uruchurtu had already established himself in the national political scene of the dictatorship of President Porfirio Díaz which, along with his wealth, made him an automatic target for the revolutionaries. When the former dictator and other former government officials were exiled to France a year following the revolution, Uruchurtu decided to visit his friend General Ramón Corral, who was vice president of Mexico before his exile.

URUCHURTU, Don. Manuel Ramirez
Age: 39
Class: 1st Class passenger, boarded in Cherbourg
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico, Mexico
Destination: Mexico City, Mexico
Ticket number: 17601
Travel fare: £27 14s 5d
Died during the sinking, his body —

After visiting with his political friends, Uruchurtu decided to return home to his family. Guillermo Obregón, the son-in-law of Corral, persuaded Uruchurtu to take his ticket on the Titanic’s maiden voyage to return to México. Boarding the ship at Cherbourg in the Normandy region of France on April 10th, Uruchurtu communicated with his family for the last time, sending his brother a telegraph that read “embarcome” (going on board).

April 1912: Survivors of the Titanic disaster boarding a tug from the liner which rescued them. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) and FOX News Latino

In the fatal night that followed, Uruchurtu , a first class passenger, gave up his seat in a lifeboat to an English lady from the second class who was pleading to be let into the boat because her family was waiting for her.In what he knew would be his last moments, Uruchurtu gave up his seat but not before asking the woman to visit his wife in Veracruz, Mexico.


Two passengers from Uruguay were relatives Francisco M. Carrau and José Pedro Carrau, whose relationship, as to if they were uncle and nephew or cousins, is unknown. Francisco was 28 at the time of his death and an active member of the board of directors of one of Carrau & Co., a food distribution company that is one of Uruguay’s largest businesses. Francisco, along with his 17-year-old relative and traveling companion Jose, boarded the Titanic in Southampton England on April 10, 1912. Both men died in the crash although their bodies were never recovered. Other than family legends, little is known about the men and the happenings on their ill-fated voyage.

Name: Mr Ramon Artagaveytia
Born: July 1840
Age: 71 years 9 months
Last Residence: in Buenos Aires Pampas Argentina
Occupation: Businessman
1st Class passenger
First Embarked: Cherbourg on Wednesday 10th April 1912
Ticket No. 17609 , £49 10s 1d
Died in the sinking.
Body recovered by: Mackay-Bennett (No. 22)
Buried: Cemeterio Central Montevideo Uruguay on Tuesday 18th June 1912. photo source: encyclopedia titanica

Ramon Artagaveytia came from a family whose life was the sea. Born in July 1840 in Montevideo, Uruguay, the Titanic was not Artagaveytia’s first experience aboard a sinking ship. In 1871, Artagaveytia survived the fire and sinking of the ship America near the shore of Punta Espinillo, Uruguay. Of the 164 passengers, only 65 survived. The experience left Artagaveytia emotionally scarred. However, that did not stop him from traveling. After settling down in Argentina, Artagaveytia traveled to Europe to visit his nephew who was the head of the Uruguayan Consulate in Berlin. But before returning home, Artagaveytia decide to visit the U.S.
Two months before setting sail on the Titanic, Artagaveytia wrote in a letter to his cousin, “At last I will be able to travel and, above all, I will be able to sleep calmly. The sinking of the America was terrible!… Nightmares keep tormenting me. Even in the most quiet trips, I wake up in the middle of the night with terrible nightmares and always hearing the same fateful word: Fire! Fire! Fire!…I have even gotten to the point where I find myself standing in the deck with my lifebelt on…’” The second time, he was not as lucky.

The night of the sinking Titanic, both Artagaveytia and his fellow Uruguayan passengers, Francisco and Jose Pedro Carrau, died. A week later, Artagaveytia’s body was recovered by the MacKay-Bennett. After being transferred to New York, his body was finally laid to rest in Cemeterio Central, in Montevideo on June 18, 1912.

Spain: The Spanish represented the largest percentage of Latino’s on the Titanic voyage

Sisters Asuncion Duran y More, 27, and Florentina Duran y More, 30, boarded the ship in Cherbourg in the Normandy region of France. Both sisters were lucky enough to survive the sinking, rescued by the Carpathia in lifeboat 12. After arriving in New York City, the sisters immediately embarked on a voyage to Cuba. While Asuncion’s life after the Titanic is vague, the voyage for her sister proved to be life changing in more ways than one.

photo source: Titanic-Titanic

Florentina found love through the unfortunate event, marrying fellow second class passenger, 26-year-old Chauffeur Julian Padron Manent. The couple lived together in Cuba until Florentina’s death in 1959 at the age of 70. Following Manent’s death in 1968, the couple were buried side by side in an elaborate mausoleum in Colon Cemetery in Havana.

Chauffeur Julian Padron Manent

Speculated traveling companion to Julian Padro Manent and the Duran y More sisters, Emilio Pallas y Castello was a 29-year-old American citizen heading for Cuba. Like his friends, Castello was rescued and lived a long life until his death in 1940.

photo source: encyclopedia titanica John William Thompson, William McIntyre, Emilio Pallas y Castillo are shown in New York after the sinking. Thomas Whiteley was being treated at St. Vincent’s Hospital for a leg injury sustained during the sinking.

Spanish domestic Encarnacion Reynaldo, 28, boarded the Titanic to visit her sister in New York City. And luckily for Reynaldo, she eventually reunited with her sister after being rescued by the Carpathia in lifeboat 9.

Victor Peñasco died and was newly wed to María Josefa Pérez de Soto photo source: Gente del Pueblo

Of all 8 Spaniards aboard the titanic, only one, Victor Peñasco y Castellana, did not make it out alive. Left by himself on the ship, Castellana died in the sinking. Victor Peñasco y Castellana, along with his wife Maria Josefa Perez de Soto y Vallejo and her maid Doña Fermina Oliva y Ocana , boarded the Titanic the same day as the Duran y More sisters in Cherbourg. While all were first class passengers, only Maria and her maid were rescued as they were able to be go ashore in lifeboat 8.


Brothers Ahmed and William Ali boarded the Titanic in Southampton England. Laborers from Buenos Aires, the two purchased third-class tickets for the voyage. While both lost their lives, only William’s body was recovered. He was buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetry in Halifx, Nova Scotia on May 10, 1912.

photo source: A UMNS web-only photo collage by Kathleen Barry.
All photos are public domain.

Another Argentine, Edgar Samuel Andrew, never intended on boarding the Titanic. Originally from Córdoba, Argentina, Andrew came to the U.S. in 1911 to visit his brother. After traveling to Bournemouth, England to study, Andrew was lured back to the states for his brother’s wedding and the promise of a job at the Harriet White Fisher company in New York. However, when the coal strike forced Andrew to change his ticket from the Oceanic to the Titanic, his future fate was sealed.

photo source: Titanic Project

In a letter to his friend Josey Cowan in Argentina, on April 8, 1912 Andrew wrote, “I am boarding the greatest steamship in the world, but I don’t really feel proud of it at all, right now I wish the ‘Titanic’ were lying at the bottom of the ocean.” Along with a suitcase that was recovered from the wreckage in 2001, Andrew’s letter to Cowan has remained in the family. Somehow foreboding the ship’s fate, Andrew died in the sinking.


Servando Jose Florentino Ovies y Rodríguez

Servando Jose Florentino Ovies y Rodríguez, was the sole Cuban aboard the Titanic. The 36-year-old worked in the import business in Havana where he lived with his wife, Eva Lopez del Vallardo and son, Ramon Servando. Although a first-class passenger, Rodríguez was not able to make it out of the sinking alive. After his body was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Nova Scotia on May 15, 1912, his wife filed a claim for $75,000 for the loss of his life and $2,800 for the loss of property.


Read more: FOX News Latino

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Mexican President Felipe Calderon (L) and his Guatemalan counterpart Alvaro Colom arrive at a joint press conference at the official residence Los Pinos, in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, on July 27, 2011. (Xinhua/David de la Paz)

Los Zetas and Guatemalan Organized Crime 

Guatemalan authorities arrested Horst Walther Overdick-Mejia, a Guatemalan drug distributor working with Los Zetas, on April 3 in San Lucas Sacatepequez, Guatemala, near Guatemala City. According to a U.S. indictment, Overdick was responsible for trafficking illicit drugs, including cocaine, via land and maritime routes into Mexico since at least 1999 and played a significant role in the establishment of trafficking routes through Guatemala for Los Zetas.

Several Mexican transnational criminal organizations, including the Gulf cartel, Sinaloa Federation and Los Zetas, employ people in Guatemala like Overdick to transport illicit drugs through the Central American country. For Mexican organized crime, these liaisons are crucial for moving illicit drugs through Guatemala. Logistical liaisons, such as Overdick, allow foreign groups to establish a presence in unfamiliar terrain and facilitate communications with Guatemalan contacts. However, for at least the last five years, Los Zetas have placed an increasing focus on expanding their operations into Guatemala. The group thus likely has alternative plans to prevent operations depending on a single point of contact.

Members of Los Zetas pose with their drugs and weapons following their arrests by Mexican special ops police. Photo credit: DEA/DoJ File Photo 04/12/12

Unlike other Mexican organized criminal groups such as the Gulf cartel and the Sinaloa Federation, Los Zetas use their characteristic violent tactics to exert influence in Guatemala. On May 15, 2011, in the Peten department of Guatemala, gunmen murdered 27 farm workers on a ranch owned by Guatemalan drug distributor Otto Salguero. A week later in Quetzaltenango, Quetzaltenango department, three Guatemalans were arrested after posting narcomantas signed Z-200 that claimed Otto Salguero was one of “the most important suppliers of cocaine” to the Gulf cartel. Los Zetas have targeted other drug trafficking organizations, which family organizations largely control in Guatemala. Los Zetas attacked one such group, Los Leones, on March 25, 2008, with gunmen killing 11 of its members including Juan Jose “Juancho” Leon, a leader in the organization.

Guatemala Blames Mexico’s Most Brutal Drug Gang For Killing And Decapitating 27 People (05-17-2011) photo source el narco blog

Given Los Zetas’ established ability to assault rival criminal groups in Guatemala and its increasingly public presence (through narcomantas appearing in Guatemala’s largest cities), it is unlikely that Overdick’s arrest would significantly hinder Los Zetas influence in, and ability to traffic drugs through, Guatemala. Los Zetas are likely to adjust to Overdick’s arrest to continue operations in Guatemala.

July 6, 2011 – Guatemala, Guatemala – FILE: A picture dated 31 may 2011 shows Agents of the National Civil Police of Guatemala seizes 336 kilos of cocaine after a fight against drug traffickers in Rancho de Progreso, 80 kilometers north of Guatemala city. The group Los Zetas, one of the most violent organizations of organized crime, supplied drug from Guatemala and not direcly in Colombia, as revealed by number three in the group, jesus Enrique Rejon arrested in Mexico on July 3, 2011. Photo: Jesus Alfonso/dpa.

Turf War Hits Cancun

Spring Break in Cancun, in the narco era, via FP. March 2009

Gunmen shot and killed a 21-year-old man in front of the Hotel Ibis in Cancun, Quintana Roo state, on March 27. Authorities said they were looking for a missing taxi driver in connection with the murder. On April 2, authorities discovered the bodies of three males along the Cancun-Leona Vicario highway with two vehicles, one of which was registered as a taxi vehicle. According to authorities, the murders probably were linked to the March 27 killing. Two days later, authorities arrested seven members of the Los Pelones gang in Cancun in connection with the murders. After interrogating the suspects, authorities said the March 27 victim was killed for belonging to Los Zetas. Five members of Los Zetas were arrested April 5 in the district where the March 27 murder happened. Those arrested said they had arrived in Cancun 10 days before to carry out several assassinations.

The hotel is located in a high commercial traffic area at the intersection of Tulum and la Nichupté avenues.

Though Cancun does not typically see violence related to the drug war, violence may erupt without notice in any part of Mexico. At present Los Zetas and Los Pelones, a name historically associated with the Sinaloa Federation but not necessarily the same gang in Cancun, are attacking each another in Cancun. How far the violence could escalate remains unknown, but travelers to the resort town should pay attention to the security situation given the March 27 killing, which occurred in the area where numerous travelers will stay. Collateral damage easily could result from violence between the organizations.

April 3

  • Authorities discovered three bodies — two male and one female — at a ranch in Brisenas, Michoacan state, near the Jalisco state border.

April 4

  • Four gunmen were killed in Ario de Rosales, Michoacan state, when they opened fire on a military patrol. No military casualties were reported.
  • Authorities discovered the bodies of four executed individuals, two of whom were decapitated, in three different municipalities of Morelos state.
  • Francisco Medina Mejia “El Comandante Quemado,” the reported mastermind of the Casino Royale fire that killed 52 individuals in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, was killed by Mexican military in a firefight on the Nuevo Laredo-Piedra Negras highway. Three other gunmen were also killed.

April 5

  • At least seven individuals were murdered in separate incidences in Acapulco, Guerrero state.

April 6

  • Gunmen arrived at a residence in a vehicle and kidnapped four police officers before shooting and killing them in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state.

April 7

  • Authorities discovered the body of a woman in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state. The victim’s eyes were taped shut and there were signs of torture on the body.
  • Three individuals were killed in Acapulco, Guerrero state. Two of the victims were decapitated, and their heads were left in an ice cooler inside a vehicle. The third victim was a taxi driver, and his body was left in a taxicab.
  • In Arriaga, Chiapas state, two narcomantas were placed along bridges. The first stated that “Los Z” has arrived and warned that 100 people would die. The other stated that “La Familia” did not kill women, children or innocent and that justice begins.

April 8

  • The Mexican army with municipal police seized 844 kilograms (1,860 pounds) of marijuana from a residence in Tijuana, Baja California state.
  • Authorities discovered four decomposing bodies in a well in Rioverde, San Luis Potosi state.
  • Gunmen killed three men who had arrived at a car wash in Chihuahua city, Chihuahua state.

April 9

  • Gunmen kidnapped a man in La Trinidad, Sinaloa state. Authorities later discovered the decapitated body with the hand placed in the mouth.
  • Gunmen opened fire in a bar in the center of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, killing a waiter and a patron.
Read more: Stratfor

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LULAC founded

On this day in 1929, the League of United Latin American Citizens, originally called the United Latin American Citizens, was founded at Salón Obreros y Obreras in Corpus Christi, Texas. LULAC is the oldest and largest continually active Latino political association in the United States and was the first nationwide Mexican-American civil-rights organization. It grew out of the rising Texas-Mexican middle class and resistance to racial discrimination. The strength of the organization has historically been in Texas. Over the years LULAC has been a multi-issue organization. It was organized in response to political disfranchisement, racial segregation, and racial discrimination. It responded to bossism, the lack of political representation, the lack of a sizable independent Mexican-American vote, jury exclusion of Mexican-Americans, and white primaries. It also dealt with the segregation of public schools, housing, and public accommodations. The organization has attempted to solve the problems of poverty among Mexican Americans and has sought to build a substantial Mexican-American middle class.

1756 — Lt. Gov. Bernardo de Miranda y Flores of Spanish Texas set out from San Antonio to search for mineral deposits and discovered the Los Almagres silver mine in Llano.


Longoria given hero’s burial

On this day in 1949, the body of Private Felix Longoria of Three Rivers, Texas, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Longoria had died in the Philippines near the end of World War II. When his recovered remains were sent to Three Rivers for burial, the funeral director refused the use of his chapel for a “Mexican.” After action by the American G.I. Forum and Lyndon Johnson, Longoria was buried in Arlington. The affair provided a model case in the Mexican-American struggle for civil rights.

Lone survivor of Bonilla expedition found

On this day in 1599, Jusepe Guitiérrez, the lone survivor of the Bonilla expedition, was found by Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate. Francisco Leyva de Bonilla, a Portuguese captain in the service of Spain, was dispatched in 1594 by Governor Diego de Velasco of Nueva Vizcaya to pursue beyond the frontiers of that state a rebellious band of Indians that had committed acts of theft. Once across the border, Bonilla and his party determined to explore New Mexico and the plains beyond and to search for the fabled treasure of Quivira. They spent about a year at the upper Rio Grande pueblos, making Bove (San Ildefonso) their principal headquarters. They then explored into Arkansas and Nebraska. According to the statement of Gutiérrez, a Mexican Indian who was with the party, Bonilla was stabbed to death after a quarrel with his lieutenant, Antonio Gutiérrez de Humaña, who then assumed command. Sometime after the murder, Jusepe and five other Indians deserted the party and retraced their steps toward New Mexico. On the way, four were lost and a fifth was killed. Jusepe was taken captive by Apache and Vaquero Indians and kept for a year. At the end of that period, he made his way to Cicuyé and in 1599 was found at Picuris by Oñate, who secured his services as a guide and interpreter. When Oñate arrived at Quivira in the summer of 1601, he learned that hostile Indians had attacked and wiped out Humaña and nearly all his followers on their return journey, by setting fire to the grass at a place on the High Plains subsequently called La Matanza.

GUTIÉRREZ, JUSEPE (ca. 1572-?). Jusepe Gutiérrez (Jusephe, José, Joseph), a native of Culhuacan, a short distance north of Mexico City, was a Mexican Indian servant of Antonio Gutiérrez de Humaña,qv a lieutenant in the illegal expedition of Francisco Leyva de Bonilla.qv Following the murder of Bonilla by Humaña, Jusepe, along with five other Mexican Indians deserted the expedition somewhere on the high plains. Jusepe was captured by a wandering band of Apache Indians and held prisoner for a year. On hearing of the Spaniards in New Mexico he escaped to the Pecos pueblos, where he was found by Juan de Oñateqv at Picuries on February 16, 1599. He guided Oñate to Quiviraqv in 1601. Jusepe was the only known survivor of the Bonilla expedition.

1959: Fidel Castro became the president of Cuba.


Texas adopts constitution

On this day in 1876, citizens of Texas adopted the Constitution of 1876. They ratified it by a vote of 136,606 to 56,652. The document is the sixth constitution by which Texas has been governed since declaring independence from Mexico. Among the longest of U.S. state constitutions, the Constitution of 1876 reflects the earlier influences of Spanish and Mexican rule, the state’s predominantly agrarian nature in the late nineteenth century, and a resurgent Democratic party determined to undo many of the measures implemented by Republican administrations during Reconstruction. Despite having been amended more than 230 times, it remains the basic law of Texas today.

Texas has had six constitutions: the 1836 Constitution of the Republic of Texas, and the state constitutions of 1845, 1861, 1866, 1869, and 1876.

The 1876 constitution, which took effect on February 15, is the current constitution of Texas. Texas’ Constitution is the one of the longest state constitutions in the United States, and one of the oldest still in effect.

Texas (Hispanic) rancher murdered by Mexican troops

Slater, H. D., editor. El Paso Herald (El Paso, Tex.), Ed. 1, Wednesday, February 25, 1914, Newspaper, February 25, 1914; digital images, (http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth138070/ : accessed February 17, 2012), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, http://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries, Denton, Texas.

On this day in 1914, the body of South Texas rancher Clemente Vergara was found hanging from a tree. Vergara owned a ranch near Palafox. He allowed his horses to graze on an island in the Rio Grande, land that was disputed by the United States and Mexico. Vergara suspected that Mexican soldiers had stolen eleven of his horses from the island. He and a nephew crossed the Rio Grande to meet with several soldiers who called the two men over. Vergara was struck on the head and carried to the Hidalgo garrison, while his nephew escaped and returned to the United States. Vergara’s wife and daughter crossed into Mexico on February 14 and found him severely beaten and jailed in the Hidalgo garrison. The following morning soldiers told the women that he had been taken to Piedras Negras. Texas governor Oscar B. Colquitt and President Woodrow Wilson‘s administration disagreed on how to deal with the situation, with the former advocating the use of Texas Rangers to extradite Vergara’s kidnappers if necessary. On February 16 the commander at Piedras Negras reported that he had ordered Vergara’s release and the return of his horses; however, on February 25 witnesses told American officials that they had seen Vergara’s body hanging from a tree near Hidalgo, and that it had been there since February 15. Vergara’s body was finally “delivered” to his relatives in Texas on March 7. Vergara’s murder outraged Texans and increased tension between Mexico and the United States.


Arizona’s Federico José María Ronstadt Big Businessman

George Wiley Paul Hunt walked from his Phoenix hotel to the Capitol on Feb. 14, 1912 to be sworn in as Arizona’s first governor. The F. Ronstadt Co., Tucson’s leading wagon maker, was so buoyed by the economic prosperity it expected to follow statehood that it announced plans that February to build a new 4,000-square-foot shop. The company’s namesake, Federico José María Ronstadt, had arrived 30 years earlier. His father brought the 14-year old from Mexico to apprentice at a blacksmith shop. Hunt and Ronstadt were among the 200,000 people living in Arizona on that Valentine’s Day 1912 when it became the 48th state. It was a prize Arizonans had hoped for since shortly after President Abraham Lincoln declared Arizona a territory, separate from New Mexico, in 1863. Arizona celebrated its centennial on Feb. 14, 2012. Ronstadt remained both a business and community leader until his death in 1954, and descendants continue that tradition to this day.

Spanish nobleman calls for settlement of Texas

On this day in 1729, the Marqués de Aguayo proposed to the king of Spain that 400 families be transported from the Canary Islands, Galicia, or Havana to populate the province of Texas. Eventually some fifteen families from the Canary Islands came to Texas. The first of the Canary Islanders arrived at Presidio San Antonio de Béxar on March 9, 1731. The immigrants formed the nucleus of the villa of San Fernando de Béxar, the first regularly organized civil government in Texas. Several of the old families of San Antonio trace their descent from the Canary Island colonists.


Spanish language newspaper debuts in San Antonio

On this day in 1913, Ignacio E. Lozano founded La Prensa, a Spanish-language daily newspaper published in San Antonio to address the needs of Mexicans residing temporarily in the United States who wished to follow events in Mexico, which was engulfed in the Mexican Revolution. As the voice of “el Mexico de Afuera” (“Mexico Abroad”), La Prensa linked that community of Mexicans on the outside with the homeland. It provided coverage of Mexican national political events an well as analysis and criticism; it announced activities of Mexican and Mexican-American organizations; and it always reflected admiration and even reverence for Mexico and its people. It sometimes defended Mexicans and Mexican Americans from abuse. Above all, La Prensa promoted and expressed patriotic fervor for the homeland.The paper was sold all over South Texas and in communities of Mexican emigrés elsewhere in the United States and Central and South America.The last issue of La Prensa, by now a bilingual tabloid, was published on January 31, 1963, just two weeks short of the paper’s fiftieth anniversary. 


“Madam Candelaria” dies at age 113

On this day in 1899, Andrea Castañón Villanueva (Madam Candelaria), who claimed to be a survivor of the battle of the Alamo, died at age 113 in San Antonio. She said she had been born in Laredo in 1785, though other sources say she was born at Presidio del Río Grande. She came to San Antonio when she was about twenty-five and married Candelario Villanueva, who she said was her second husband; thereafter she became known as Madam or Señora Candelaria. She was the mother of four children and raised twenty-two orphans. She nursed the sick and aided the poor. She claimed to have been in the Alamo during the 1836 battle and to have nursed the ailing Jim Bowie. Since evidence of survivors is sparse, her claims may never be confirmed, but in 1891 the Texas legislature granted her a pension of twelve dollars a month for being an Alamo survivor and for her work with smallpox victims in San Antonio. Madam Candelaria is buried in San Fernando Cemetery.

Legislature confirms South Texas land grants

On this day in 1852, the Texas legislature confirmed the work of the Bourland Commission, a group of three officials appointed to investigate land claims after the Mexican War. The war’s outcome had brought into question the validity of numerous Spanish and Mexican land grants north of the Rio Grande. Against a complex backdrop that included agitation for making trans-Nueces Texas a separate country, Governor Peter Bell recommended that the legislature appoint a commission to investigate claims. The commission began its business in Laredo in mid-1850 and in February 1852 confirmed 234 grants in five South Texas counties to the original Spanish and Mexican grantees.


Cleveland signs the Dawes Severalty Act

On this day in 1887, in a well-meaning but ultimately flawed attempt to assimilate Native Americans, President Grover Cleveland signs an act to end tribal control of reservations and divide their land into individual holdings.

Named for its chief author, Senator Henry Laurens Dawes from Massachusetts, the Dawes Severalty Act reversed the long-standing American policy of allowing Indian tribes to maintain their traditional practice of communal use and control of their lands.  Instead, the Dawes Act gave the president the power to divide Indian reservations into individual, privately owned plots.  The act dictated that men with families would receive 160 acres, single adult men were given 80 acres, and boys received 40 acres.  Women received no land.

photo of Senator Henry Laurens Dawes

The most important motivation for the Dawes Act was Anglo-American hunger for Indian lands.  The act provided that after the government had doled out land allotments to the Indians, the sizeable remainder of the reservation properties would be opened for sale to whites.  Consequently, Indians eventually lost 86 million acres of land, or 62 percent of their total pre-1887 holdings.

Still, the Dawes Act was not solely a product of greed.  Many religious and humanitarian “friends of the Indian” supported the act as a necessary step toward fully assimilating the Indians into American culture.  Reformers believed that Indians would never bridge the chasm between “barbarism and civilization” if they maintained their tribal cohesion and traditional ways. J.D.C. Atkins, commissioner of Indian affairs, argued that the Dawes Act was the first step toward transforming, “Idleness, improvidence, ignorance, and superstition… into industry, thrift, intelligence, and Christianity.”

In reality, the Dawes Severalty Act proved a very effective tool for taking lands from Indians and giving it to Anglos, but the promised benefits to the Indians never materialized.  Racism, bureaucratic bungling, and inherent weaknesses in the law deprived the Indians of the strengths of tribal ownership, while severely limiting the economic viability of individual ownership.  Many tribes also deeply resented and resisted the government’s heavy-handed attempt to destroy their traditional cultures.

Despite these flaws, the Dawes Severalty Act remained in force for more than four decades.  In 1934, the Wheeler-Howard Act repudiated the policy and attempted to revive the centrality of tribal control and cultural autonomy on the reservations.  The Wheeler-Howard Act ended further transfer of Indian lands to Anglos and provided for a return to voluntary communal Indian ownership, but considerable damage had already been done.


Seguin Incorporates

On this day in 1853, the town of Seguin was officially incorporated. This South Texas seat of Guadalupe County saw settlement as early as the 1830s, and founders originally called the site Walnut Springs before changing the name to Seguin in honor of Tejano revolutionary and Texas Republic senator Juan Nepomuceno Seguín in 1839. The town enjoyed a rich agricultural landscape and ample water resources thanks to the nearby Guadalupe and San Marcos rivers and Cibolo and Geronimo creeks. Its original schoolhouse, built in 1850, was still used for educational purposes well over 100 years later, when the state recognized the structure as the oldest continuously used school building in Texas. Texas Lutheran College relocated to Seguin in 1912, and the town’s economy experienced a major upswing with the discovery of oil in the nearby Darst Creek fields in the late 1920s. Throughout the twentieth century the community supported agricultural, oil-based, and manufacturing interests. In 2000 Seguin had a population of 22,011.

1883 — Birthday of Jessie Marion Koogler McNay, whose willed her estate and Spanish colonial mansion to found the first modern art museum in San Antonio.

1959: The United States recognizes Fidel Castro as head of Cuba


Frenchman, considered a troublemaker by the Spanish, dies in prison

On this day in 1756, Joseph Blancpain, a French trader whose activities in Texas heightened bad feeling between France and Spain in the middle of the eighteenth century, died in prison in Mexico City. Blancpain had been arrested in 1754 by Spanish army lieutenant Marcos Ruiz for unauthorized trading with Indians, to whom he was evidently furnishing firearms. The Spanish authorities believed him to be an agent for the French government. As a result of Blancpain’s activities the king of Spain ordered that any Frenchman found in Spanish territory would be imprisoned.

1899: US Congress ratified the treaty that ended the Spanish-American War

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Latino advocate Morrow dies at age 34

Warren Morrow, an advocate for Latino businesses who founded a Clive company that helps credit unions attract Hispanic members, died early Wednesday, his wife, Christina Fernandez-Morrow, said.

Morrow, a graduate of Grinnell College, was chief executive of Coopera Consulting, a firm built on the belief that by targeting Latino customers, financial institutions can both make money and help improve quality of life for the population.

He died suddenly Wednesday morning, just as his efforts in Iowa and around the country were beginning to bear fruit. A valve in his heart malfunctioned and his heart stopped, his wife said. He was 34.

Morrow was born in Mexico City to an American father and Mexican mother, and moved to Tucson, Ariz., in elementary school. His mother, a well-educated woman, struggled with the transition to American life and felt she had to work her way up from the bottom, leaving a strong impression on Morrow as he went off to college.

While at Grinnell, he founded a nonprofit called the Latino Leadership Project to help young Hispanics go to college. He eventually realized that the problem he was trying to address was at its root caused by financial instability in the Latino community. For instance, his wife said, a young Latino might forgo college to work and help pay the family’s bills.

“I came to realize that the disparity in education was a symptom of a larger problem,” Warren Morrow told the Register in 2011. “The root issues are the disparities in access to assets, access to wealth, economic stability in the household.”

Read More: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120216/BUSINESS/302160052/1030/BUSINESS01/?odyssey=nav%7Chead

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