Origins of Mexican Anti-Americanism

Commenter Joseangel left an extremely informative comment in response to this post. I am reposting his comment in its entirety below, because I think it deserves its own post. It also relates to earlier posts (here, and especially here) here on Pinochet and his fight against socialist government in Chile.

(I have added Web links and corrected a few minor spelling errors.)

Comment on Frank Discussion of Diversity by joseangel

January 21, 2007

ElGaboGringo Says:
January 8th, 2007 at 8:05 pm

“Your second point – Are the Chinese a low or high-trust culture? The Vietnamese? I thought these were low-trust cultures, but they encourage assimilation of their youth. In my opinion, the biggest danger in current immigration isn’t societal trust, it’s anti-americanism. Mexicans (at least not the class that migrates here) are not pro-USA. They are pro-Mexico and unanimously think the USA got one over with TX/CA and that we are only rich now because illegals do all the work. If you didn’t speak Spanish, you probably wouldn’t experience this first hand, but I assure you it is the case. Combine the mexican anti-americanism with that of the left’s, throw in some “diversity” and we have a political trainwreck in the making.”

While it is true there is anti-Americanism in Mexico, it is not generalized to the whole country. In North Mexico the majority of the people do not hold the same anti-American feelings that some people in central Mexico do, although they might hold ignorant or misguided geopolitical views that resemble anti-Americanism, I cannot consider them as essentially anti-Americans.

In my opinion, Anti-Americanism in Mexico occurs mostly in Mexico City and for reasons other than territorial losses to the USA or even past interventions. One important reason being the fact that thousands of socialist Spaniards opposed to Franco’s regime and persecuted by his government found asylum in Mexico, these Spaniard immigrants were profoundly anti-American, professing a hate towards America, the likes of what we see today in Muslim fundamentalist, because of North American support for Franco and the cold war also.

These Spaniard refugees blended very well into the already Spanish rooted population of Mexico City who saw with anger how the Franco regime committed crimes and abuses in Spain, these refugees had a lot of political influence, they read Marx and Engels, and firmly believed in Communism, then they found jobs in Newspapers, Television, Universities and other institutions of Mexico, including government institutions sometimes (link).

Many of them got into movie making and helped create the Mexican movie industry, which reached its splendor in the sixties, a decade and half after their arrival. The Spanish immigration to Mexico did not stop but until the early 70s when Spain became a democracy and their economy begun to grow. But they brought their hatred towards the United States with them and spread it in Mexico City and of course it found a fertile soil in leftist movements in the city.

When Pinochet took power, many Chilean intellectuals arrived to Mexico and continued writing from here also, repeating the same process of anti Americanization, although Mexico also suffered from a dictatorial one party regime, it was considered a soft dictatorship, as opposed to the military regimes in Argentina, Chile and other south American countries. We also received many immigrants from Argentina, Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay, where military dictatorships committed crimes and were, wrongly perhaps, linked to USA interests. All these immigrants came carrying a heavy bag of anti Americanism and normally settled in Mexico City.

Then there was the Cuban revolution, which also inspired many anti American feelings in the region, and Mexicans could not be denied from this important regional events. Castro became a hero in Mexico City and was received as one whenever he visited. The anti American seeds could not have a greater soil to grow.

All of these socialist and anti American influences flourished during the 50s and 60’s and by the 80’s, there were already several communist and socialist political parties and organizations in Mexico City and Central Mexico. They joined and created what today is the PRD.

But in North Mexico, the PAN a center right and catholic party and pro American had been advancing and fighting against the one party dictatorship for decades before the PRD was even created and they had made great democratic gains in Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, Coahuila, and several other northern states.

In 2006, PAN won the most seats in Congress and the Senate, with 207 congressmen, followed by PRD with only 126 representatives. PAN has also won the last two presidential elections, the latest one very tight and controversial.

What this tells you is that Mexico can be hardly described as an anti American society. If only, we can say there are many who are and many other who are not.

Yes it is true that we have some hate spreaders in our society, La Jornada and Proceso are newspapers and magazines profoundly socialist and anti American but they are read in Mexico City, and are far from being the most read newspapers, which in Mexico City are El Universal, Reforma, and Milenio, the last two newspapers belong to corporations from north Mexico but actually dominate the newspaper industry in all Mexico and the most widely read by Mexicans in general, they are not anti American and tend to be very fair in the way they treat our relationship with the United States.

The problem is many Americans come to Mexico City and get to think it is the same all over the country, but I assure you it is not.

To end my point I would like to add that while there are some Chicano organizations that have repeatedly stated their radical ideas of returning CA/TX to Mexico, these are considered ridiculous in Mexico and have absolutely no ties just like the Black Panthers and the Black Nation ideas had no correspondence in Africa, the same occurs with these Chicano radical movements, they originated there and belong to a process of problems of immigrants in adapting to a new country.

Mexicans don’t even talk about those issues. It is history and our history books describe these states as part of the United States of America, holding no ridiculous claim whatsoever upon them.

For the most part, having many relatives in the USA who already proudly consider themselves Americans and having nephews and nieces participating in the armed forces of that great country, I cannot but reject the notion that Mexicans hold on to their national flags and state, but why would they? If my country did not give my brother or sister the opportunity to work and to live in dignity, why would I deny them their right to love and to adhere to great nation that has PROVIDED as our country hasn’t?

UPDATE: Joseangel provides additional information in the comments.

14 thoughts on “Origins of Mexican Anti-Americanism”

  1. Thanks for the post and the comments.

    Here is another link to information about the Spaniard refugees who found asylum in Mexico during Franco’s regime.,9171,776121,00.html

    Why do I think they are an important factor (one of many) to explain Mexican Anti-Americanism? Because almost every one of these refugees was very politically educated and they became professors, writers, journalists, film directors and had a strong influence in what was once a very conservative society. They transformed Mexico City into a leftist stronghold in Latin America. In the Dominican Republic, the conservative dictator Trujillo made the mistake of accepting thousands of refugees, who could not abstain from participating in politics and spreading their communist ideas there and being as how they did not share the same political conservative views and positions of the local dictator, they created some political problems for him there and most of them were later expelled from the island by the same dictator who had opened the island for them before.

    About PAN, conservative, Christian, pro business and pro American political party.

    About PRD, socialist political party.

    About the 2006 Mexican Elections

    Political divisions in Mexican electors

  2. I wouldn’t believe a guy who writes for a perniciously racist website like “” if he told me the sun rose in the East. I’d double-check.

    Which “President of Mexico” is Sailer referring to. In 1915, both the Consititutionalist and Conventionalist forces claimed to be the legitimate government. Or, perhaps, Sailer is thinking of Victoriano Huerta, in exile at the time, but still supported by the Germans, who were trying to stir up trouble on the U.S. border, mostly to keep the Americans from intervening in the European War.

    And… which of the several different documents supposedly called the “Plan of San Diego” would he be referring to? At least one was drafted by bored convicts in the Monterrey jail.

    More importantly, why would an otherwise reputable website give space to this kind of garbage?

  3. I am Mexican, went to a Mexican University and I’ve never heard of such a thing as a San Diego plan in my life and I believe those stories are not to be taken seriously. I don’t believe I could seriously ask any Mexican scholar about this story without producing a laugh at it.
    What I could put together after a little research on this San Diego plan was that sometime way back in 1915 or so, some fellow jailed in Monterrey drafted some plan to stir trouble in the Mexican communities living at border towns and tried to carry it out in Texas and was later detained and declared a lunatic by a certain judge somewhere in Texas.
    No doubt there were some problems at the border back in those days, after all Mexico was undergoing a revolution at the time but those events could not be construed as part of a greater Mexican conspiracy.
    At first I thought of recommending to double check on the sources of this and other stories of strange Mexican conspiracy theories lasting 100s of years in the USA and being revived and continued by persistent poor Mexican immigrants from different states who cross rivers and deserts to go over there to cook, clean backyards, look after little kids, work in factories and do dirty work regular Americans refuse to do, but then I found out there are also some Chicano radicals in the USA, and they also talk about some very weird Aztec and Aztlan stuff that seems to have been taking out of a Gary Jennings novel.
    Apparently, they read his books with care and his conspicuous romanticism for the Aztecs seems to have trickled down to these untutored radicals. They have developed this Aztlan stuff into some kind of Mexican Holy Grail, somehow unknown to the rest of us back in Mexico who have studied ancient Mexican history.

    I believe this San Diego Plan belongs into that ongoing and groundless discussion between misguided radical groups opposed to each other and having to share the same country.

    But I can say we Mexicans have absolutely no business with that kind of stuff.

  4. very weird Aztec and Aztlan stuff: it says something about American education that those who argued this (at least during the early 70’s & in Texas) were not “untutored” (well without having spent many years in the educational system & establishment).

    This was the argument of a guest lecturer in the old, unlamented “American Experience” class for which I t.a.ed. This is not to contradict you, of course: no one seemed to take them seriously but the professor and themselves.

  5. “…why would an otherwise reputable website give space to this kind of garbage?”

    We don’t “give space” to anything in the comments if by that you mean “endorse it”.

    Commenters are pretty much free to say what they want, so long as they are civil about it.

    The proper response to speech you don’t agree with, or know is mistaken, is to respond to it, to rebut it.

    I disagree with Mr. Sailer about 80% of the time. But he can comment here. Our many other readers are free to disagree with him and say why. He has from time to time referred to the “plan of San Diego”, which I have never heard of from anybody else. If someone has superior information about it, feel free to put it here.

  6. Mr. Grabman called V-Dare “… a perniciously racist website … .”

    I say merely: Caveat lector. Judge for yourself.

  7. Leftism thrives in cultures with a long history of deep and ridged class hierarchy. In such cultures, merit counts for little. Instead patronage and cronyism govern the success of individuals and groups. People at the bottom of such a hierarchy come to believe (perhaps correctly) that their only hope for bettering themselves lies in altering the hierarchy in their favor. Various forms of socialism purport to do just that.

    In America, the culture of the Deep South fits this pattern and the economic politics of poor southerners, black or white, tilts strongly to the Left. (Check out the economic beliefs of the KKK or Neo-Nazis for an extreme example.) African-Americans carried such beliefs with them when they emigrated to other regions of the country. In the north, Unionism only caught on after immigration shifted from middle-class members of developed nations to the peasant class of underdeveloped regions like Ireland and Eastern Europe. In both cases, people projected the realities of there society of origin onto America in general.

    I think immigrants from Mexico fit this long standing pattern. They tilt to the Left not from any intrinsic anti-Americanism but from a lack of any experience with a merit driven society with a shallow and flexible class structure. Overtime, such beliefs will weaken.

    I do concur with ElGaboGringo assertion that Leftist immigrants to Mexico drove most anti-Americanism there. Mexico was a refuge for Leftist throughout the 20th century. Trotsky didn’t hide out there because he liked Tequila.

    I’ve never heard of the “Plan of San Diego” but I can state categorically that no one in Mexico circa 1915 could have carried out wide spread coordinated raids into the US. Mexico at the time was what we call today a “failed state” with many pretender governments. Bandits of all persuasions and origins took advantage of this lawlessness to use northern Mexico as a hideout and escape route after committing crimes in the US. This problem persisted into the mid 1920’s.

  8. Shannon… Jose Angel made the assertion you refer to, not me. I’m only quoted at the beginning.

    While I agree that Euro’s certainly fueled leftism in the mexico city area, it would be hard to argue that Spanish civil war refugees were the source of Mexico’s leftism. There were many native leftists involved in Mexico’s own civil war and the unionism, nationalization of industries and anti-clerical laws that resulted from it. These pre-dated or coincided with the Spanish Civil War, so it would be hard to blame this socialism on leftists who at the time were still in Spain fighting Franco.

    I also disagree that anti-american sentiment is found only in DF (Mexico City.) I’d say leftist anti-american sentiment is mostly in DF, but you don’t have to be a card-carrying leftist to hate, or at least dislike, the USA.

    Folks from places like Monterrey, especially the upper-middle and wealthy classes, are very pro-US. When you get down into the “middle-class” and the poor there that actually emigrate here I don’t think you see outright anti-americanism, but there certainly is some envy.

    Go further south and there is certainly an undercurrent of anti-american feeling as I mentioned above. They don’t have to be leftists to think the Gringo is getting one over on them. I get alot of this attitude from the people I have met in and from the states of Jalisco (Guadalajara) and Guanajuato. These people aren’t chilango’s and they certainly aren’t leftists, but they have no love for the USA.

  9. Here are some examples of the anti-american sentiment I was talking about. Not leftist in nature, really just nationalistic:

    Mexican politicians since before Santa Ana have always used nationalism to keep the people’s allegiance (they certainly couldn’t point to any sound policy as reason to retain power.) I think over time the US has developed into a scapegoat for Mexican politicians and this distaste for the US has taken hold with an already skeptical, cynical populace.

    I think you’ll see this cynicism and disregard on display in the way Mexican migrants think nothing of crossing the border, working, using fake social security #’s – all illegally – then feeling like they’ve done us a favor rather than the other way around (which was certainly the attitude they had during their marches last spring.)

    You’ll also see it in the support the Mexican government gives to this migration phenomena, whether it’s in passing out maps and instructions to prospective migrants or in their presidents lobbying the US government for things like Amnesty and Social Security payments to illegals.

  10. I had no intention of blaming the anti-Franco immigrants for the current anti Americanism found in Mexican society, nor was my intention to justify it or even to apology for it.
    But I believe Anti Americanism exists in Mexico in the same way it exists almost all over the world and that was perhaps my point in my original comment, although I might have not explained it clearly.

    I believe there is probably more anti Americanism in North America and I don’t think I need to mention any names or examples here.
    I believe however most Americans have learned to deal with it one way or another, at home and abroad the same, and actually do it very warmheartedly bending themselves over backwards to welcome the very people who spread hate against them, oftentimes those hate spreaders go over there to pick up awards from respectable and very politically correct American institutions for their relentless “straightforwardness”.
    Jean-Francois Revel even refers to anti Americanism as “another important world religion”.
    So why wouldn’t anti Americanism occurs in Mexico? The question for me is: Why isn’t there more of it?

    I guess it is because we have our own world here to ourselves in our Mexico, with many social, economical and political problems it is true, but there is a majority of Mexicans, those who choose to stay, who have got to be optimistic about who we are and where we are going and so we don’t see everything that bad, we can’t. We are at a loss for those who chose to leave but the rest of us do not sit down and cry. We have to live and we try to pursue happiness here with what we have and many of us are indeed happy although we wouldn’t necessarily call ourselves “upper middle class” and when compared to other nations in the world, we don’t do that bad.

    I didn’t grow up in an anti American society. As a child, as a young man, the United States was there next us. It was neither something to hate nor something to love, it just simply was there. A place somewhere north where we had some relatives who visited in Christmas and gladly showed off their nice brand new pick-up trucks and brought many presents and gadgets and clothes and sometimes even food, they made us happy, they were openhanded and bountiful, and we knew it could only be so because they came from a bountiful and caring country.

    I remember a talk in my university in Monterrey where I was taking some business workshops after work; it was about the free trade agreement with the United States and Canada. There were many post graduate students from several countries in South America. Somehow the talk got into a discussion about whether the Mexicans where enslaving themselves and surrendering their sovereignty to the United States in this trade agreement (so as to enrich the discussion, somebody threw in the famous phrase from Al Gore in his debate with Perot about how the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico was probably the most important event since the acquisition of Alaska). Our Mexican nationalism came forth in front of the insinuations of our south Americans guests that we had surrendered our sovereignty and we were all of a sudden defending our right to build a healthy and prosperous and friendly relationship with the United States and even went on to defend the United States foreign policies in Central and South America and also American values and freedoms. The south american fellows could not believe what they were hearing.

    I guess I am of an optimistic nature and cannot imagine our two countries hating each other. So I cannot agree with someone saying Mexicans are anti Americans.

  11. Well, from what you say I’m guessing you are a Regio too, so you should know that the cultural elements of your points of view, your upbringing, your worth ethic, they are all very different from people in the rest of Mexico.

    If all of Mexico was like Nuevo Leon illegal immigration would be a small percentage of what it is now. Alas, most of Mexico is very different and that’s why over a million mexicans a year are coming here illegally.

Comments are closed.