A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012

Calderón delivers grito in rain; magazine asks whether independence date should be 1810 or 1821

Ensenada police aggressively detain #YoSoy132 protesters, photographers during independence celebration

Ensenada #YoSoy132 leader who disappeared Sept. 20 later found in La Paz

By David Gaddis Smith,

Mexican President Felipe Calderón delivered the traditional cry for independence (grito) at Mexico City's Zócalo in the rain at 11 p.m. Saturday night. He stayed relatively dry, standing on a balcony at the National Palace.

Afterward, concerts were held in Mexico and in various locations in the United States to celebrate Mexican independence.

But is Sept. 16 the right date to observe Mexican independence?

Historian Jesús Hernández Jaimes has reopened the discussion of what date should be celebrated for Mexican independence in an essay entitled "1810 or 1821? The Absurd relatos e historias coverand Interminable Dispute for Independence." The essay appeared in the September issue of "Relatos e historias en México."

Hernández points out that since Mexico won its independence in 1821, Mexicans have argued whether the independence date should be 1810 or 1821. Those who argue for Sept, 28, 1821, say independence from Spain came about as a reaction to French intervention in Spain, not as a result of Father Miguel Hidalgo's Sept. 16 cry (grito) for independence in Dolores in 1810. Hidalgo and other leaders who sought independence in 1810 were captured and executed. And the man who eventually brought independence agustin de iturbideto Mexico, Agustín Iturbide, actually fought against those seeking independence until turning to the independence cause late in the game. Iturbide and other privileged criollo leaders were repelled by the popular insurgency, Hernández writes. The historian says many historians and noted Mexican figures have sought to give Iturbide all the credit for independence.

Hernández concludes that although those favoring 1821 as the date to celebrate independence see no link to the insurgency beginning in 1810, there is such a link. Hernández notes that on Sept. 16, 1812, insurgent leader Ignacio López Rayón held a ceremony in Huichapan to observe the "Grito de Dolores" two years before. Hernández also links independence to the Congress of Anáhuac in Chilpancingo in 1813.

Hernández concludes by writing about Iturbide and his followers' actions in 1821: "Ten years of war, the inability to defeat the rebels and political instability in Spain must have convinced them that independence was the most convenient route. Nevertheless, they took pains to avoid the radicalism of the popular insurgency, above all that practiced by Hidalgo's followers. In sume, the events of 1821 cannot be understood without analyzing the armed fight that began in 1810.... Iturbide was not the only forger of independence nor can his role be seen out of context, but you also cannot conceal the important part he played."

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Stories on 2012 Mexican independence celebrations, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Rosarito's celebration (PDF). José Vasconcelos school celebrates grito (PDF).
Story in Monday's Frontera (PDF). Story on parade (PDF).

In Ensenada, police detain #YoSoy132 protesters, photographers during independence celebrations

Story, photo, Frontera (PDF). Story, photos, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Full-page ad from Ensenada mayor discusses incident (PDF).
Update, Sept. 18: Mayor Enrique Pelayo apologizes for rough treatment, offers to pay compensation. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Sept. 19: #YoSoy132 group holds media conference to outline their version of events Saturday. State human rights agency decries treatment of protesters Saturday. Stories, Frontera (PDF).
A #YoSoy132 protester carried a poster at Monday's ceremony observing 470th anniversary of Ensenada bay by explorer Juan Cabrillo Rodríguez Cabrillo decrying how police roughed up and detained other #YoSoy132 protesters at Saturday's event.
Update, Sept. 20: People who were roughed up tell their stories. Story, Frontera (PDF).
                           Firing of police chief Alfredo Rosales Green sought. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Sept. 22: Disappearance of #YoSoy132 leader Aleph Jiménez Domínguez reported. Story, Frontera (PDF).
Update, Sept. 25: Disappearance causes national uproar; missing man then found in La Paz.                              

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Last year's MexicoPerspective story on Mexican independence: "Mexico's convoluted war for independence may have lessons for today".

Mexican Consulate in San Diego, as part of 202nd anniversary of independence, names 22 remarkable Mexican-Americans who have helped change San Diego.

Grito de Dolores cartoon, related to heat wave (PDF).