Ernesto Aguilar on Sat, 14 Feb 2004 20:12:41 +0100 (CET)

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[nettime-lat] Stickers advocate "U.S. Out of Aztlan"

New spin on old debate for Latinos: Stickers advocate "U.S. Out of Aztlan"

The slogan conjures images from the 1960s, but the creators of a new 
campaign say they're aiming to launch a new discussion over land, democracy 
and America's honoring of treaties.

Hosts of the Latino-issues radio show Sexto Sol, which airs on Houston's 
Pacifica affiliate KPFT, are sending out vinyl stickers around the country, 
bearing the phrase "U.S. Out of Aztlan."

But Aztlan isn't some far-off Middle Eastern land; in the lore of the 
Chicano civil rights movement, Aztlan refers to the Southwestern United 
States, land taken over by the United States after the Mexican-American War 
of 1846.

The idea is more than just distributing insurrectionary rhetoric, but to 
open up a debate over American policy, Latino civil rights and immigration.

"Last year, the United States celebrated the 155th anniversary of the 
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, but today the agreements forged to protect 
Mexicans' ancestral and land rights have been largely forgotten," explains 
Sexto Sol co-host Ernesto Aguilar. "Mexico lost two-fifths of its land and 
America took a huge section of the Southwest, changing geography and 
history forever."

The U.S.-Mexico War, after which the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago was 
signed, brings up one of the more sordid episodes in American history.

When Texas was part of Mexico, the United States made attempts to purchase 
the land. By 1827, President John Quincy Adams offered to buy Texas from 
Mexico for $1 million, an offer that Mexico rejected. Andrew Jackson tried 
again in 1829, offering $5 million, but Mexico still refused to sell the land.

By the fall of 1835, a faction of settlers in Texas were at war with 
Mexico, claiming they constituted an independent country. The same settlers 
declared independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, declaring a boundary at 
the Rio Grande. Although settlers had lost the Battle of the Alamo the 
previous year, with American backing, they scored a surprise victory over 
the Mexican army at the Battle of San Jacinto. Mexican General Antonio 
Lopez de Santa Anna was taken prisoner, and signed the Treaty of Velasco, 
granting Texas independence and recognizing the Rio Grande as the boundary 
between Texas and Mexico. As soon as he was released, however, Santa Anna, 
who was also President, repudiated the treaty.

Later, the United States formally annexed Texas, and went to war with 
Mexico over the state. In the end, the United States seized more than 
525,000 square miles of land that would become the states of New Mexico, 
Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and part of Wyoming. America 
also took complete control of what is now Texas.

"In the process, what people conceive of in terms of borders, immigration, 
justice and the rule of law and principle have been shaped by very 
fundamental shirking of international law as well as injustice," Aguilar 
adds. "For the ancestors of Mexicans to whom the Southwest belonged, we 
didn't cross the borders, the borders crossed us."

The weekly radio show airs on Pacifica, a 50-year-old radio network known 
to promote dissident viewpoints. Stickers are being sent out free to anyone 
who sends Sexto Sol a self-addressed stamped envelope, in care of KPFT, 419 
Lovett Blvd., Houston, Texas, 77006. Sexto Sol's program website is at


Media outlets can get a high-resolution Encapsulated Postscript version of 
the sticker at 

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