Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Goodbye, Columbus

If you're in the United States right now, you probably have no idea that there's a US-Mexico soccer match later this evening. Whereas, in Mexico, you'd be hard pressed to avoid this knowledge. The sports pages have been counting down to this all week, and as you can see here, the rhetoric has gotten a bit martial. (Those are Mexican Navy jets, but we're pretty sure they don't actually have tanks like this.) The "Mexican Invasion" article at bottom is just about fans going to the match - we wanted to clarify this so as to not inflame the nativists.

There was a pull-out section in El Universal today [sorry, no link] that finally made the connection we'd been hoping for: that the match is being held in Columbus, Ohio, which has the same name as Columbus, New Mexico, which was invaded in 1916 by none other than Pancho Villa. The writer sought to use this example to rally the troops, but Mexicans tend to forget how the raid turned out:

Villa divided his troops and attacked Columbus from the southwest at approximately 4:20 am. This attack caught the entire town, as well as the army camp, by surprise.

The Villistas concerned themselves more with raiding than killing, otherwise the town might have been erased. That morning majority of the destruction of the town came from the burning and pillaging of the business district. Surprisingly, the army camp and stables received little damage, even though the horses and armaments must have been attractive to the raiders. Alerted by the gunfire and burning buildings, many Columbus residents fled to the desert, or sought refuge in the school house, the Hoover Hotel, or private homes. The noise and fire sealed the fate of the raiding Mexican Army. U.S. Army officers and soldiers, awakened by the commotion, set up a Benet-Mercier machine gun in front of the Hoover Hotel and produced a murderous rain of bullets. Another machine gun set up on East Boundary Street fired north and caught anyone in the intersection of Broadway and East Boundary in a deadly crossfire. The raid lasted until dawn, or approximately one and a half hours. By this time, the death toll totaled 70 to 75 Villistas. In addition, during the attack on Columbus, eighteen Americans, mostly civilians, died.

Now, sure, the US went on to make an ass of itself trying to catch Villa in the Mexican desert, but we think the moral of the story here is that Columbus analogies tend not work out in Mexico's favor.

Update: US-2, Mexico-0. Presumably the voodoo dolls can be returned to Blockbuster without paying a late fee.

1 comment:

DM said...

I think I remember seeing Mexican tanks used in threatening Chiapas...