Archive for August, 2011

To many, history can overwhelm, and in the information age of instant news and events, history can crush you quicker than a tweet. Yet, ironically, as we speed through our daily lives, the appreciation to slow down one’s pace and actually pause to study, breathe, and absorb history has never been more gratifying.

With a renewed interest in the 150th anniversary of The Civil War and the countless of books that chronicle and dissect it, another 19th century war —the Mexican American War (or the  First American Intervention)— has begun to gain more scholarly attention. The reasons for this are simple: as the United States of the 21st century grapples with a nation that is clearly getting more Latino and more Spanish-speaking, learning more about the Mexican American War could provide a better historical perspective of our country’s complex relationship with our southern neighbor.

Michael Hogan, author of the exceptional THE IRISH SOLDIERS OF MEXICO —a 1998 edition that is now available in a 2011 e-book and paperback formats— and a foremost expert on the US-Mexico conflict, achieves what very few scholarly historians can accomplish: examine historical events and seamlessly synthesize those events into a prose that is readable, informative, thought-provocative, and perspective-changing.

Hogan’s chronicles of the famed San Patricios, a battalion of mostly Irish Catholic soldiers who deserted the US Army to fight for Catholic Mexico, with an attention to fact and historical detail. Yet at the same time that the reader learns of this heroic group of fighters who valiantly defended the Mexican side even during defeat, Hogan weaves some of the most concise and comprehensive history of the war, from its origins of new Texans rebelling against the Mexican government and exploiting the United States’ belief in expansion to the chronicles of a bloody struggle that claimed thousands of lives.

Not only do we learn of how the San Patricios were seen as heroes to the Mexican forces but betrayers and traitors by the United States (leading to the execution of most San Patricio survivors), we are treated to a glimpse of a time when pre-Cvil Wat America was at a crossroads.

Hogan’ style is direct and to the point. Although he writes like a history professor (just the facts, please, then we can analyze the what), his story does not drown in a wave of references and theories. Instead, Hogan just tells the story and respects his readers to think about those facts. As this paragraph suggests:

Thus it is that little is known in the United States about the group of Irish soldiers who fought for the Mexicans during this war. Shadowy and obscure figures, a barely legible footnote in American history, they enjoy widespread acclaim as heroes in Mexico. They were known as the San Patricio Battalion and they carried in battle a green banner with the Mexican eagle on one side and the image of St. Patrick and “Erin Go Bragh” on the other. These “Soldiers of St. Patrick” were decorated for valor after capturing American cannon at the Battle of Buena Vista, and for a last ditch defense of the Convent of Churubusco in Central Mexico in the final days of the War.

With paragraphs like these, Hogan leads the reader to explore the overarching themes he covers so eloquently in such a brief book (268 pages, notes including): religion, culture, allegiances, politics, ambition (see Santa Anna), anti-war sentiment (see Abraham Lincoln), and loyalty. And his reasons to write about Los San Patricios couldn’t be any clearer:

While the unit was not exclusively Irish nor Catholic, its distinctive flag, its name, the idealism of the group and its esprit de corps was central to the values of both Catholic and Irish which included among others: (a) defending a weaker country against a powerful aggressor; (b) defending a Catholic nation against a Protestant invader; (c) feeling comfortable in the ritual and symbolism of Catholicism as expressed in Mexico; (d) inspired by shared values to transcend whatever individual weaknesses they exhibited prior to their acceptance in the group; (e) willing to fight to the death for what was obviously the losing side.

Hogan delivers with a historical masterpiece, one of the best books about US-Mexican History since John Womack’s ZAPATA AND THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION.

The affinity between Mexico and Ireland is a special one. Just ask The Chieftains and Los Tigres del Norte.

THE IRISH SOLDIERS OF MEXICO can be found on the Condor Books Bookstore.

This post is an official stop during the Irish Soldiers of Mexico Condor Book Tour from Condor Book Tours. Visit Condor at  http://condorbooktours.com  

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review from Condor Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Comedian Katt Williams, who made a name for himself on BET and movies, faced a heckler last night at a comedy show in Phoenix. When he confronted the heckler, Williams found out the person was of Mexican descent and began to get out of the comedy and go into a racist rant that is hard to describe.

While Williams’ racist insults continue as the crowd eggs him on, he is heard saying, “”Motherfucker thinks you can live in this country and still be allegience to another country. You know how white people said to us [blacks], ‘Go Back to Africa’ and we didn’t want to? Well, if you love Mexico, bitch, get the fuck over there.”

Here is the video of the performance.

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This morning, we received this private Facebook message from Tequila Party founder, Dee Dee García Blase (who btw the has blocked us from all her Facebook pages and isn’t even a Facebook friend of us:). A FACEBOOK TIP TO DEE DEE: we received your comments from anonymous sources. Just being good reporters, we guess.

Guess Dee Dee doesn’t like us that much:

Please contact our lawyer and civil rights attorney Shirl Mora James of Nebraska for the Tequila Party if you have any issues. You have slandered me from the beginning. What I say on my own facebook page is my business. You use your venues to cry, and I won’t give you any attention that you seek. What I write on my facebook is my business, and indeed you take issue with the name because you questioned me on the name from the get go and asked me why not the “Rum Party”. As I have told you before, start an Lemonada Party, DO SOMETHING instead of complaining about my efforts. Learn from Puerto Rican Luis Gutierrez who knows and respects Mexican-Americans. You have a lot of growing up to do and I wish you the best. This will be my last response to you.

 Love you too, Dee Dee.

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So, we must be doing right about our distaste for the silly name of the Tequila Party, since it appears that Dee-Dee García Blasé —the founder of the 2,000-member Tequila Party and the self-proclaimed Voice of All Latinos— is starting to share her thoughts about this blog and our positions.

In a message we received today, Dee-Dee’s true colors show in her criticism of this blog and LatinoRebels.com. Here is what she wrote:

For the record, the owner of the Latino Rebels who is against the name of the Tequila Party is Puerto Rican (Julio) , and we all know PR’s get automatic citizenship. I don’t think that Latino Rebels really feel what people of Mexican descent are going through right now and we have to be creative and controversial in a good way to get people to think about the importance of the latino vote to promote for pro immigration politicians. It’s too bad Latino Rebels wasn’t more like Rep. Luis Gutierrez for Illinois. Julio (Latino Rebels) asked me why we didn’t name the movement “rum party”, and I think it has something to do with PR’s and Cubanos liking ‘rum’ more so than the ‘tequila’.

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In an interview today with The Wall Street Journal, actress Zoe Saldana discussed the recent #ColombiaIsBeautiful campaign being waged to call attention to the movie COLOMBIANA. Por Colombia Nacional, an organization formed to educate people about Colombia’s history and culture, has appeared in several news stories about the campaign, and the WSJ now has Saldana on record discussing her thoughts about #ColombiaIsBeautiful. Saldana, who is Puerto Rican and Dominican, is a rising Latina Hollywood star.

WSJ: The nonprofit group PorColombia has launched a campaign against “Colombiana,” saying it portrays Latinos in a negative light. How do you respond?

ZS: Shame on them? I don’t know, I wish I knew how to address stupid unintelligent comments but I don’t, I’m not a stupid person. I’m sorry, I never like to get political but it’s just a shame that there are so many people out there that think so ignorantly. She could have been from Puerto Rico, she could have been from Goa, she could have been from China. But Luc Besson just wanted her to be from Colombia. Once you watch the movie, it has nothing to do with drugs, it has to do with violence. But violence lives in every city in every corner in every part of the world. So that said, PorColombia, are you kidding me? I’ve been trying to be diplomatic about it because I don’t want to be bitter. Why would you think that this was made in such a simple fashion?

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This post is dedicated to the executives of Sony Pictures, who chose not talk to us about the boycott of the film COLOMBIANA, a boycott formed by the fabulous group POR COLOMBIA NACIONAL. Although we have no problem with the lead actress of the film, the Puerto Rican Dominican Zoe Saldana, we do have problems with the movie’s directors, producers, and distributors.


We thought the era of SCARFACE (Latino criminals, cocaine, stereotypes, and a horrible accent from Al Pacino) was over (yes, Richard Rodriguez, you’re a little guilty too), but it seems that it continues to be promoted in Hollywoodlandia. COLOMBIANA is a problematic film for this simple reason: its lack of authenticity, honesty, and its promotion of the tired and stale image of the violent Colombian narco. ENOUGH.

Colombia is a beautiful country, a place with decent and very friendly people. The Colombians we known are intelligent, hard-working, and full of love. As they say in Puerto Rico, Sony Pictures, we will send you to EL CARAJO. But it doesn’t matter, you doesn’t respect us. You won’t even answer our calls or reply to our emails for a statement about the movie. We know that the global companies of the world regard us as garbage or rather, a mosquito. Well, this mosquito (and other mosquitos) are angry. ENOUGH WITH THE MOVIES THAT PROMOTE TIRED AND OFFENSIVE STEREOTYPES OF ANY GROUP OR CULTURE. And another question: Where are the Latino writers, directors, and producers of COLOMBIANA? They are all French. Screw that.

So Sony Pictures, we send you this song:

And we will support the Colombians and other Latinos who want to say WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT.

Today, here are the true COLOMBIANOS and COLOMBIANAS that would be very movie-worthy:

  1. GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ: one of the best writers in the history of the world. EL GABO!!!!
  2. JUANES: a huge star who has never forgotten his roots
  3. SHAKIRA: because she is beautiful and fantastic
  4. FERNANDO BOTERO: for giving us your artistic gifts
  5. CARLOS VIVES: fresh fruit!
  6. RODOLFO LLINÁS: winner of UNESCO’s Einstein Medal
  8. ANGELA BECERRA: award-winning writer
  9. CAMILO VILLEGAS: breaking down the stereotypes in golf
  10. and, of course, VALDERRAMA!: with his orange curly hair

QUE VIVA COLOMBIA, the birthplace of Hispanic freedom!


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This is a very interesting and revealing infographic about social media use in India

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