The Reconquista of California

Letter From California

On February 6, 1998, the Mexican consul general in California, Jose Angel Pescador Osuna, spoke at the Southwestern School of Law in Los Angeles as part of a symposium on the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which gave the Southwest to the United States. Osuna proclaimed, "And even though I am saying this part serious, part joking, I think we are practicing La Reconquista in California." It was an astonishing admission for a career diplomat to make. But he was only admitting what has been a policy of the Mexican government for more than three decades: Surplus people are encouraged to immigrate, legally or illegally, to the United States, California in particular, and to maintain their Mexican identity and loyalty.

Ernesto Zedillo, then president of Mexico, admitted as much when he spoke before the National Council of La Raza in Chicago on July 23, 1997. Said Zedillo, "I have proudly proclaimed that the Mexican nation extends beyond the territory enclosed by its borders and that Mexican migrants are an important, a very important part of it."

That the Mexican nation extends beyond the territory' enclosed by its borders has been clear to anyone living in Southern California during the past ?0 years. The Hispanicization of the population, schools, and culture has been dramatic and stunning. The process was well described by Carlos Loret de Mola in the Mexico City newspaper Excelsior....

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