The flag belonging to Mr. and Mrs. XX, believed to have been captured for the Naval Academy by U.S. Marines during the 1914 Veracruz Intervention on April 21-22.
The Story Unfolds...
Mr. XX: I think the piece you sent me is a little overboard on the anti-American angle.
El antiQuario: By the way, Mr. Jim Tuck is a long time member of ADA (Americans for Democratic Action), and was recently at a caucus in Washington DC. He has written a few books on such subjects including the McCarthy witch hunt era. He always has that liberal slant. Jim has lived in Mexico for about 30 years and loves this country as much as the US, and he writes pretty much what I ask him to. I asked for the Mexican version of the facts. (See Vol. 1, No.s 1-5 of El antiQuario for articles by Tuck.)
Mr. XX: True, the US intervention was primarily intended as meddling in Mexican internal affairs. However, Huerta was an assassin who had displaced the first freely elected Mexican president in many, many years. And there is evidence that the US Ambassador was involved in the planning of Madero's assassination.
El antiQuario: You're right, why try to dissect policies mandated by leaders long gone? 50 years from now our descendants will question Bush's reason for going after Saddam. It was to dethrone a tyrant, no' it was to squelch his nefarious arms build up, no silly' it was the oil we had to get.
Mr. XX: The US also intervened on behalf of Obregon at Agua Prieta. All US intervention in Mexico's internal affairs has not been malign the French might not have pulled out of Mexico had the US not been wrapping up its Civil War.
El antiQuario: Now you are justifying one event by citing others not as bad.
Mr. XX: The US interfered most recently by guaranteeing 20 billion dollars worth of Mexican debt.
El antiQuario: That's not an invasion. You are a good semanticist.
Mr. XX: However, the US interference was pretty mild for the times, and I think it is against the behavioral norm of the times that historic actions must be judged. The behavior of France, Belgium and Britain was the norm. The US only became an imperial power in 1898, and was just feeling its oats. The US intervention also occurred before the anti-German activities cited in the article.
El antiQuario: Certainly most of the boo-boos committed by the US can be attributed to just one bad policy maker or a small group. By and large the US flag is a banner that represents the moral majority throughout the world, and there is no other country in the world that could even remotely argue that fact.
Mr. XX: The sailors were not on liberty; they were on a US flagged vessel and performing an official duty. I am not sure how maritime law works in inland waters, but this was a no-no and the Mexican government acknowledged that it was. There was a separate arrest in Veracruz. If I recall correctly, the Mexican government apologized for the incident and the Colonel in the Tampico incident was disciplined. The real issue in my mind would revolve around the US government's refusal to accept what seems to me to have been an adequate apology.
El antiQuario: One bad leader, or ulterior motives?
Mr. XX: Oh, I think the case is pretty clear that President Wilson had ulterior motives. He wanted to make it hard for Huerta to stay in office. In this particular case, I think the motives were good. But once you cross the line to meddle in the affairs of others, you can't ever be sure the decision-makers will always be properly motivated or fully informed of the facts. I think Wilson should have stayed out. The Mexican people were fully capable and in the process of dealing with Huerta.
I think you can tell the story simply; there was an unwarranted attempt on the part of President Wilson to intervene in Mexican affairs. With debatable justification, the port of Veracruz was seized to deny the Huerta regime its main source of revenue (Editor's note: oil sales' at that time Mexico was producing 25% of the world's petroleum) and its access to arms. The reaction of the various players in the Mexican power struggle could be a paragraph. By the way, I think Huerta ordered all Mexican regular army units out of Veracruz.
El antiQuario: Yes' what a chicken shit.
Mr. XX: The meat of the story is the brave resistance by the citizens, prisoners and Naval Academy students to a foreign army trying to occupy their town. A flag was taken as a trophy by the sailors occupying the Naval Academy. After 90 years, someone wants to return the flag.
El antiQuario: Well shoot, Throw me in a briar patch!
Mr. XX: Who should get it?
El antiQuario: The Mexican people.
Mr. XX: Your readership may find the facts more interesting than all the US bashing.
El antiQuario: Two-shay (sic), and equally on both sides of the border. Remember, we have two audiences here. Sir, please re-read Not So Distant Neighbors, Vol. 1, No. 3, El antiQuario. And not to tax your linguistic ability, it would be interesting to also read the Spanish side, Las Tendencies, los Auges y las Invasiones. Maybe you could get a better picture of what I'm, ...er we, are up against. This is no easy task only about crafts and artesania and simple things like that.
Mr. XX: Don't get me wrong, I think there is a lot of truth in the Diaz quote about poor Mexico being so far from God and so close to the United States. I just don't think El antiQuario is in the business of beating that well beaten drum. You're more about crafts, antiquities, collecting and collectors. But, hey, its your magazine.
El antiQuario: Well, hey! You got me started on this. Who knows maybe we'll earn a Noble Peace prize for setting the record straight. I've never been to the White House. (Is that where they give those things out?)
Mr. XX: I think Nobel Prizes are given in Stockholm. And I fully support anything you want to do with the flag.
El antiQuario: You have no idea how much I appreciate that, and it may even garner a feather in El antiQuario's cap.
Mr. XX: I sure would like to know more about the Guadalajara connection. Why was the statue erected there? Why in 1999? What is Brigada Guadalajara? Was Azueta from Guadalajara?
El antiQuario: Boy do I got the scoop. We just took a call from the Subsecretario de la Marina Nacional, Almirante Armando Sánchez Moreno. He is getting together with the President of the Heroica Escuela Naval, Ing. Alberto Arvide Redondo and with two members of Brigada Guadalajara, Ing. Omar de la Rocha and Ing. Joel Castelú Baturoni (didn't catch the other name in my excitement), to meet with us and examine the documents to ascertain the validity of this flag. Whew, I was so moved that I had to finish this note.
Mr. XX: The unfolding story of chasing this story may well be the story. You write extremely well and can tell that story in the first person.
El antiQuario: You hit the nail square on the head.
Mr. XX: Warmest regards.
El antiQuario: Muchos like wise.
Miniature hand-embroidered silk Mexican flag.