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Baja California this week celebrated the constitutional assembly that wrote the state constitution by holding events in Mexicali, Tijuana and Ensenada.
Former Sen. Guilebaldo Silva Cota of Ensenada told students at the Autonomous University of Baja California in Tijuana on Wednesday how he, as a law student in Mexico City in 1951, had pushed for Baja California statehood. He did his dissertation on the subject, and said federal legislators even attended his defense of the thesis. He said he was then invited to meet with President Miguel Alemán Valdez, who he said told him that he was right and that something should be done about it. Then, on Sept. 1, 1951, the president announced in his state-of-the-nation address that he would be sending legislation to Congress to make Baja California a state. It attained statehood in 1952 and its constitution was adopted on Aug. 16, 1953.
Silva Cota, now 88, pointed out that he was but one of many Baja Californians pushing for statehood, and that many pro-statehood groups had been formed. He also said that while in Mexico City, he and other students also pushed for the creation of institutions of higher learning in Baja California, which also eventually happened.
In his written presentation, he told students that they can make a difference. "Take charge of your lives and try to save Mexico, to rescue Mexico, to reconstruct Mexico, so that it can again enjoy the order and economic stability that each day are falling out of our hands. Select an ideal and fight for it, make it your life's work, do it for Mexico," he wrote.
Silva Cota, who also served as state attorney general and as mayor of Ensenada, spoke of the seven men elected to form the constitutional assembly in 1952. He said some of them wanted the state constitution to say that anyone elected governor had to have been born in Mexico. That was dropped; if it had become part of the constitution, he said, governors Roberto de la Madrid (1977-1983) of Silva Cota's Institutional Revolutionary Party and Ernesto Ruffo Appel (1989-1995) of the National Action Party could not have become governors unless the constitution had been amended in the interim. De la Madrid, who died in 2010, was born in Calexico in 1922 and Ruffo was born in San Diego in 1952. The constitutional assembly also did not approve other strict restrictions on the ability of those born outside Baja California to become governor.
Mexicali historian Luis Razo Martínez (right) pointed out that no Baja California governor has been born in the state.
Below are the constitutional assembly members.