Senator Patricio Martinez of Chihuahua—a very large state that borders with Texas and New Mexico—is challenging the U.S.-Mexico borderline such that were a wall to get built, it would have to follow different lines of demarcation so as to not build the wall in Mexico which would be a violation of national sovereignty, as well perpetuate the violation of boundaries under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed in Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico in 1847, effectively ending the Mexican-American War that took place between 1846-48.
He says that the current border has has been wrong since the times of Mexico's President Porfirio Díaz who served from 1876 to 1911.
He says that if the U.S. president were to refuse to desist in building the wall on national territory, Mexico could take its case to the United Nations (UN) or to the International Court of Justice at the Hague in The Netherlands, the judicial branch of UN.
Mexico in fact did this very thing, he says, during the presidency of Benito Juarez during the 1800s. And Mexico prevailed with The Hague deciding on behalf of Mexico with Mexico subsequently recovering its lands from that border dispute along the Rio Grande (called "Rio Bravo," in Spanish).
The amount of land in question is 8,000 hectares that would go back to Chihuauhua and 75,000 hectares that would go back to Sonora. So substantial.
One can't help but imagine that Trump wanting to dismantle the United Nations is for reasons like these that make countries like the U.S. accountable to the actions of the past, including contracts of its own making.
We've always said, "We didn't cross the border. It crossed us." From the standpoint of the people of this continent, there is nowhere to go back to. We have always been here. I am one third Native American. And people like me are the majority within our national-origin group. Our ancestors never left the continent. Like a good friend and elder, Modesta Treviño, always says,
"Aquí estamos y no nos vamos." ("We are here and we are not going anywhere.")
This is not just a rhetorical statement, but a fact of our existence as mestiz@s, Mexican Americans, mixed-bloods, living in the U.S. despite profound levels of colonization among so many that are ignorant, ashamed, or reticent about this ignominious past and history to which Senator Martinez speaks.
So important this history as it follows us profoundly into the present, evidenced with ideas of a border wall matched with vitriolic, dehumanizing, anti-Mexican hatred inscribed in the policies of an ever-emergent police state. Note: Mexicans have always already had their own dedicated police force against them. It has gone by different names, including the "border patrol" and the "INS," the " Immigration and Naturalization Service." Today, it's called "ICE," the "Immigration and Customs Enforcement."
I found the maps from his presentation to be fascinating and happy to share some of these below.
If nothing else, el Senador Patricio Martinez de Chihuahua shows just how empowering and potentially transformative knowledge of one's history can be.
He underscores that this isn't simply a battle that's reducible to geopolitical boundaries and the recovery of lost lands, but something deeper that is of great value, namely, a long history of a shared, regional identity and history of constructive relationships that the building of a wall—especially on Mexican territory—violates.