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CDIR -People's CORE Statement of the Cinco De Mayo, 2006: Que Viva La Raza!

by Al P. Garcia Saturday, May. 06, 2006 at 11:27 AM
apg_pcore@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles,CA 90026

The Coalition in Defense of Immigrant Rights (CDIR) and all its allied organizations in the United States send its most militant greetings to our Chicano Brothers and sisters and to the Mexican people in their celebration of Cinco De Mayo.The Cinco De Mayo, 2006 takes a significant feature this year with the success of the Greta American Boycott last May 1 and the series of immigrant mass actions from March 25 to may 1. The unity and the outpouring of the immigrant workers of all nationalities especially the Chicano people are tremendous and awesome.

CDIR -People's CORE Statement of the Cinco De Mayo, 2006: Que Viva La Raza!

The Coalition in Defense of Immigrant Rights (CDIR) and all its allied organizations in the United States send its most militant greetings to our Chicano Brothers and sisters and to the Mexican people in their celebration of Cinco De Mayo.

Cinco De Mayo (May 5th) is a date of great importance for the Mexican and Chicano communities. It marks the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla. Although the Mexican army was eventually defeated, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. With this victory, Mexico demonstrated to the world that Mexico and all of Latin America were willing to defend themselves of any foreign intervention. Especially those from imperialist states bent on world conquest.

Cinco de Mayo's history has its roots in the French Occupation of Mexico. The French occupation took shape in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War of 1846-48. With this war, Mexico entered a period of national crisis during the 1850's. Years of not only fighting the Americans but also a Civil War, had left Mexico devastated and bankrupt. On July 17, 1861, President Benito Juarez issued a moratorium in which all foreign debt payments would be suspended for a brief period of two years, with the promise that after this period, payments would resume.

The English, Spanish and French refused to allow president Juarez to do this, and instead decided to invade Mexico and get payments by whatever means necessary. The Spanish and English eventually withdrew, but the French refused to leave. Their intention was to create an Empire in Mexico under Napoleon III. Some have argued that the true French occupation was a response to growing American power and to the Monroe Doctrine (America for the Americans). Napoleon III believed that if the United States were allowed to prosper indiscriminately, it would eventually become a power in and of itself.

In 1862, the French army began its advance. Under General Ignacio Zaragoza, 5,000 ill-equipped Mestizo and Zapotec Indians defeated the French army in what came to be known as the "Batalla de Puebla" on the fifth of May.

In the United States, the "Batalla de Puebla" came to be known as simply "5 de Mayo" and unfortunately, many people wrongly equate it with Mexican Independence which was on September 16, 1810, nearly a fifty year difference. But still it is a source of Chicano pride, Latino Power that was forged in bitter struggle.

Cinco De Mayo’s significance for Filipinos

The Cinco De Mayo, 2006 takes a significant feature this year with the success of the Greta American Boycott last May 1 and the series of immigrant mass actions from March 25 to may 1. The unity and the outpouring of the immigrant workers of all nationalities especially the Chicano people are tremendous and awesome.

While the Filipinos celebrate June 12 as its Independence Day- the day of its declaration of Independence while the rest of the country was is still in the rage of battle for independence from colonial power, Spain, most of the celebration amounts to lip service. For the ruling class this day amounts to grand balls and grandstanding.

For progressive Filipinos it will be a day of protest and defiance, calling for the completion of the unfinished revolution of 1896. The US occupation forces terminated the independence of the Philippines in August 13, 1898 and waged a war for colonialism from February 4, 1899 until 1916.

Filipinos in the United States and the homeland have a lot to learn about Cinco De Mayo. Filipino victories during Filipino-American War is not duly remembered except in the provinces like Pulang Lupa, Marinduque where the local people have longer and well kept memories of their victories against the imperialist invaders.

It is sad that even the Philippine military do not remember nor study the military history of the Filipino-American War as a source of knowledge and as an inspiration although many of its military camps are named after Filipino generals like Fort Del Pilar.

The Fort housed the Philippine Military Academy ( colonialy kown as the Wst Point of Asia) was named after General Gregorio Del Pilar who died fighting the Americans.

We sincerely hope that the progressive military officers in the Makabayan Kawal ng Pilipino (KMP) who now are fighting the fascist US-Arroto Regime would be proud of their fighting heritage like the Chicanos about Cinco De Mayo.

Worse, the Philippine government chose to have amnesia and kowtow to their US masters and act as spokespersons like in the celebrated rape case of a Filipina by four US marines in November 2005. The Department of Justice does injustice by downgrading the charges against some of the marines and act like the lawyer of the rapists as it does with impunity and barefaced callousness.

In the United States, our struggle for Philipine Studies in American schools should be intensified. We should emulate how the Chicanos fought for their Chicano Studies. the atrocities and the study of the Filipino American War should be pursued with more interest and keen. The US “first Vietnam” must be thoroughly exposed. The US Philippine genocide must be documented and brought to public attention. Most of all, Filipino victories like the Battle of Pulang Lupa in Marinduque, the Battle of Mabitac, Laguna, the Battle of Quinqua(Plaridel), Bulacan must be studied and commemorated like the Cinco De Mayo..

They might have not changed the outcome of the war but these battles must be a source of Filipino pride. On June 14, 2006, the Filipino American Veterans will celebrate the Filipino American veterans victory at Bessang Pass over the Japanese fascist in World War II. This is a right step in reclaiming our history like what the Mexicans did to Cinco De Mayo.

Que Viva Cinco de Mayo!

Long Live International Solidarity!



Coalition in Defense of Immigrant Rights (CDIR)

Cinco De Mayo, 2006



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