This Go Lean blog-commentary from May 5, 2015 is re-distributed on this occasion of Cinco De Mayo 2016. As always, this year’s commemoration is a celebration of Mexican culture, more so than Mexican history.
Bienvenido Amigos …
Go Lean Commentary
Today (May 5) is Cinco De Mayo – celebrating this is a move of solidarity with Mexico; its people and culture – Enjoy the festivities!
Enjoy the Mexican food, spirits, music and culture. The country and people of Mexico have so much to offer the world – see VIDEO below – this includes the Caribbean.
One thing more that they can offer us in our region: A Lesson in History!
The summary of this celebration is simple on the surface: Mexican forces commanded by General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated the French army in the Battle of Puebla on 5 May 1862. 4 days later, on 9 May 1862, The then-President Benito Juárez declared that the anniversary of the Battle of Puebla would be a national holiday, regarded as “Battle of Puebla Day” or “Battle of Cinco de Mayo”. Although today it is recognized in some countries as a day of Mexican heritage celebration, it is not a federal holiday in Mexico.
Considering the real history of Cinco De Mayo is a really big deal. For starters, while Mexico was not the aggressor in this war, they were not exactly blameless.
The 1858 – 1860 Mexican civil war known as The Reform War had caused distress throughout Mexico’s economy. When taking office as the newly-elected president of the Republic in 1861, Juárez was forced to suspend payments of interest on foreign debts for a period of two years. At the end of October 1861 diplomats from Spain, France, and Britain met in London to form the Tripartite Alliance, with the main purpose of launching an allied invasion of Mexico, taking control of Veracruz, its major port, and forcing the Mexican government to negotiate terms for repaying its debts and for reparations for alleged harm to foreign citizens in Mexico. In December 1861, Spanish troops landed in Veracruz; British and French followed in early January. The allied forces occupied Veracruz and advanced to Orizaba. However, the Tripartite Alliance fell apart by early April 1862, when it became clear the French wanted to impose harsh demands on the Juarez government and provoke a war. The British and Spanish withdrew, leaving the French to march alone on Mexico City. French Emperor-President Napoleon III – the first democratically elected French President – wanted to set up a puppet regime, the Mexican Empire.
Thus started this French Intervention in Mexico. The effects of these 5 years were far-reaching, even to this day – consider the similarities in flags for these countries.
Title: French Intervention in Mexico 1862 – 1867
Emperor Napoleon III of France was the instigator, justifying military intervention by claiming a broad foreign policy of commitment to free trade. For him, a friendly government in Mexico would ensure European access to Latin American markets. Napoleon also wanted the silver that could be mined in Mexico to finance his empire. Napoleon built a coalition with Spain and Britain while the U.S. was deeply engaged in its own civil war from 1861 to 1865.
Here is the main timeline of this French Intervention period:
1. 1862: Arrival of the French
After the initial victory by the Mexicans at the Battle of Puebla, the war continued in a different direction. The pursuing Mexican army was contained by the French at Orizaba, Veracruz, on 14 June. More British troops arrived on 21 September, and General Bazaine arrived with French reinforcements on 16 October. The French occupied the port of Tamaulipas on 23 October, and unopposed by Mexican forces took control of Xalapa, Veracruz on 12 December.
2. 1863: The French take the capital
The French army of General François Achille Bazaine defeated the Mexican army led by General Comonfort in its campaign to relieve the siege of Puebla, at San Lorenzo, to the south of Puebla. Puebla surrendered to the French shortly afterward, on 17 May. On 31 May, President Juárez fled the capital city (Mexico City) with his cabinet, retreating northward to Paso del Norte and later to Chihuahua. Having taken the treasure of the state with them, the government-in-exile remained in Chihuahua until 1867.
French troops under Bazaine entered Mexico City on 7 June 1863. The main army entered the city three days later, led by General Forey. General Almonte was appointed the provisional President of Mexico on 16 June, by the Superior Junta (which had been appointed by Forey). The Superior Junta with its 35 members met on 21 June, and proclaimed a Catholic Empire on 10 July. The crown was offered to Austrian Prince Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, following pressures by Napoleon. Maximilian accepted the crown on 3 October.
3. 1864: Arrival of Maximilian
Further decisive French victories continued with the fall of Guadalajara, Zacatecas, Acapulco, Durango by 3 July, and the defeat of republicans in the states of Sinaloa and Jalisco in November.
Maximilian formally accepted the crown on 10 April, signing the Treaty of Miramar (between France and Mexico), and landed at Veracruz on 28 May. He was enthroned as Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico, [under French occupation].
4. 1865: Beginning of Republican victories
After many more French victories, finally on 11 April, republicans defeated Imperial forces at Tacámbaro in Michoacán. In April and May the republicans had many forces in the states of Sinaloa and Chihuahua. Most towns along the Rio Grande, [(the border with the US),] were also occupied by republicans.
The decree known as the “Black Decree” was issued by Maximilian on 3 October, which threatened any Mexican captured in the war with immediate execution.
5. 1859-1867: U.S. Diplomacy and Involvement
The United States did not condone the French occupation of Mexico but it had to use its resources for the American Civil War, which lasted 1861 to 1865. Then-President Abraham Lincoln expressed his sympathy to Latin American republics against any European attempt to establish a monarchy; and the Congress passed a resolution in disgust of these French actions. In 1865, The US supported the sale of Mexican bonds by Mexican agents in the US to fund the Juarez Administration, raising up to $18-million dollars for the purchase of American war material. By 1867, American policy shifted from thinly veiled sympathy to the republican government of Juarez to open threat of war to induce a French withdrawal, invoking the Monroe Doctrine, a policy to thwart any aggression by European powers in the Americas.
6. 1866: French withdrawal and Republican victories
Choosing Franco-American relations over his Mexican monarchy ambitions, Napoleon III announced the withdrawal of French forces beginning 31 May. Taking advantage of the end of French military support to the Imperial troops, the Republicans won a series of crippling victories in Chihuahua on 25 March, Guadalajara, Matamoros, Tampico and Acapulco in July. Napoleon III urged Maximilian to abandon Mexico and evacuate with the French troops; [but he persisted]. The French evacuated Monterrey on 26 July, Saltillo on 5 August, and the whole state of Sonora in September. Maximilian’s French cabinet members resigned on 18 September. The Republicans defeated imperial troops in Oaxaca in October, occupying the whole of Oaxaca in November, as well as parts of Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí and Guanajuato.
7. 1867: Republicans take the capital
The Republicans occupied the rest of the states of Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí and Guanajuato in January. The French evacuated the capital on 5 February.
On 13 February 1867, Maximilian withdrew to Querétaro. The Republicans began a siege of the city on 9 March, and Mexico City on 12 April. On 11 May, Maximilian finally resolved to try to escape through the enemy lines. He was intercepted on 15 May. Following a court-martial, he was sentenced to death and executed on 19 June.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French intervention_in_Mexico
This subject has relevance for the Caribbean. Mexico is a stakeholder in Caribbean affairs. They have a vast coastline (Yucatan Peninsula) on the Caribbean Sea, plus a few Caribbean islands (Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Isla Contoy, and Isla Blanca). This country is also a member of the ACS – Association of Caribbean States – one of the relevant entities that must be assembled for this regional integration movement championed in the book Go Lean…Caribbean.
The underlying theme of this Lesson in Mexican History is the lack of effective security for the people and societal engines of Mexico. Now, after 150 years, this historic pattern has continued; Mexico proceeded to endure one revolution-rebellion-overthrow-coup d’etat after another until recent times.
The Caribbean cannot afford this same disposition: the dread and damage endured from decades of dysfunction.
Today, Mexico is known as a lawless society in many pockets, especially along the US border. Considering the art and science of security, it is sad that they never got it right! They resemble a Failed-State in so many perspectives. This is where their history, especially those 5 years of the Franco-Mexican War, provides lessons for the Caribbean people and institutions. But this Go Lean movement does not seek to remediate Mexico; this is out of scope. Rather the focus is strictly on the 30 Caribbean member-states: islands of the Caribbean plus the Central & South American states that caucus with the Caribbean Community (Belize, Guyana and Suriname).
This effort to elevate Caribbean society fully recognizes that security mitigations must be prioritized equally with economic and governing remediation. This is an underlying theme of the book Go Lean…Caribbean. The book declares that the region is in crisis, at the precipice of Failed-State status. This is the assertion of the Go Lean book, that the region must prepare its own security apparatus for its own security needs.
This book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). So while the CU is set to optimize Caribbean society through economic empowerment, the security dynamics will be inextricably linked to this same endeavor. Therefore the Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
- Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.
The book contends, just as the French proved to be a “bad actor” to Mexico in 1862, that new “bad actors” will emerge for the Caribbean to contend with. This will be as a by-product of new economic successes in the region. This point is pronounced early in the book with the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12) that claims:
x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety.
xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes, including piracy and other forms of terrorism, can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.
The need for the Caribbean to appoint “new guards” or a security pact to mitigate foreign and domestic threats in the region is the primary lesson to glean from the foregoing encyclopedic article – a consideration of the history of Cinco De Mayo. This security pact is to be legally constituted by a Status of Forces Agreement which would be enacted as a complement to the CU confederation treaty. The Go Lean roadmap provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn directions on how to deploy cutting-edge strategies, tactics and implementations to succeed in this goal.
In addition, there are other lessons – secondary – that we learn from this consideration of the history of Cinco De Mayo:
- Bullies only acquiesced to a superior force – Only when the more powerful USA turned their attention to the Franco-Mexican War, was France willing to retreat. – There must always be monitoring, accountability and due-process to mitigate all level of bullies in society.
- ‘Other People’s Money’ is very important to ‘them’ – One of France’s motivation was the cancellation of expected interest payments – Debts to foreign parties should always be prioritized for repayment; it is better to use domestic sources.
- Self-exploit natural resources – France saw value in Mexico’s untapped natural resources; they reasoned that they could be exploited to repay debts – Local economic engines should plan for responsible management of natural resources; avoid too-much or too-little development.
- Neighbors have their own self-interest to prioritize – the US was occupied with its own domestic priorities, a Civil War – No expectation should be placed on any Super Power to come to our aid; we must be protégés not parasites.
- Alliances with others make heavy-lifting easier – France originally formed an alliance with Spain and Britain to pursue the big goal of subduing Mexico – The CU is an alliance and confederation of 30 member-states.
- There are consequences to abusing other peoples’ rights – France/Spain/Britain felt justified for their actions because of prior abuses to the rights of their citizens in Mexico – Human and Civil rights, including minorities, should always be a priority for Justice institutions.
- Image and global impressions lend value to respect and recognition – The impression of Mexico was that they were dysfunctional and a “joke” to the European world – Caribbean brand and image must be feverishly protected and promoted.
The Go Lean book details a roadmap with turn-by-turn directions for transforming the Caribbean homeland. The following is a sample of the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to impact the Caribbean region for this turnaround:
|Community Ethos – Economic Principle – Economic Systems Influence Choices||Page 21|
|Community Ethos – Economic Principle – Consequences of Choices Lie in the Future||Page 21|
|Community Ethos – Anti-Bullying and Mitigation||Page 23|
|Community Ethos – Minority Equalization||Page 24|
|Community Ethos – Cooperatives||Page 25|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing||Page 35|
|Strategy – Vision – Confederating a Non-Sovereign Union||Page 45|
|Strategy – Mission – Protect Economic Engines from threats||Page 45|
|Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy||Page 64|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers||Page 71|
|Implementation – Start-up Foreign Policy Initiatives||Page 102|
|Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up||Page 103|
|Implementation – Ways to Deliver||Page 109|
|Implementation – Ways to Better Manage Debt||Page 118|
|Implementation – Ways to Promote Independence – Interdependence||Page 120|
|Planning – 10 Big Ideas – Defense / Homeland Security Pact||Page 127|
|Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better||Page 131|
|Planning – Ways to Better Manage Image||Page 133|
|Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices||Page 134|
|Planning – Lessons from the American West||Page 142|
|Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy||Page 151|
|Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs||Page 152|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance||Page 168|
|Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract||Page 170|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Justice||Page 177|
|Advocacy – Ways to Improve Homeland Security||Page 180|
|Advocacy – Ways to Mitigate Terrorism||Page 181|
|Advocacy – Ways to Protect Human Rights||Page 220|
Mexico is a beautiful country, with a beautifully diverse population plus a lot of natural resources. They experience a vibrant tourism product where millions visit annually for Mexican hospitality – they are a fit competitor of Caribbean tourism, even for cruises. See VIDEO here:
VIDEO: Mexico: Live It to Believe It – Cultural Diversity 2015 – https://youtu.be/jciVmLL_UgY
Published on Feb 27, 2014 – A production of the Mexico Department of Tourism; commissioned for the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz from November 14 to 30, 2014.
Many people visit Mexico, but few would consider moving there permanently. In fact just the opposite occurs, the societal abandonment problem in Mexico is very pronounced. Their northern neighbor, the United States, has constant security issues of illegal Mexican migrants. Mexico has been dysfunctional for their entire history as a Republic. They must do better! While this quest is out-of-scope for the CU/Go Lean roadmap, we can learn lessons from their actions and inactions.
The Go Lean book posits (Page 3) that the Caribbean islands are among the greatest addresses in the world. But like Mexico, instead of the world “beating a path” to our doors, the people of the Caribbean have “beat down their doors” to get out; despite the absence of any war or revolution … like our Mexican neighbors. Our abandonment is inexcusable.
May we learn from this history of Mexico! Mexican culture is great! Enjoy the festivities: their people, food, drink, music and dance. But let’s do better … than they have done. Let’s make the Caribbean even better, where our citizens can prosper where they are planted; let’s make our homeland better places to live, work and play. 🙂