The Case of the Mexicans and Puerto Ricans –
Two People, One Destiny
1998 marks two infamous anniversaries for the two largest Latino groups in what is called the United States; for Mexicans, 150 years since the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and for Puerto Ricans 100 years since the US invasion of their island.
On February 2, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed; a humiliated and defeated Mexico accepted the Rio Grande as the border with Texas and ceded California, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado, Arizona, and Utah to the United States. Thus the jewel on the crown of the expansionist and imperial design known as Manifest Destiny was set in place. The country which, in 1776, had declared itself independent from colonial domination, had now become the world’s major colonizer. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, like all treaties which the United States had entered into with Native Americans, was not to be enforced as far as the native inhabitants were concerned; as the great Puerto Rican Nationalist, Pedro Albizu Campos would say, “The United States wants the cage but not the bird.” This sentiment echoed the words of the Mexican diplomat Manuel Cresción Regón, who at the time of the signing of the Treaty, who said: “our race, our unfortunate people, will have to wander in search of hospitality in a strange land, only to be ejected later. Descendants of the Indians that we are, the North Americans hate us, their spokesperson deprecates us, even if they recognize the justice of our cause, they consider us unworthy to form with them one nation and one society, they clearly manifest that their future expansion begins with the territory that they took from us and pushing (sic) aside our citizens who inhabit the land.”
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