For the first time since 1846 a mexican military presence will be officially operating in US territory. Contrary to the gloom, doom, and corruption
news we get about mexico daily, their purpose is not the historical raiding or aiding smugglers but helping victims of Katrina.
An army aid convoy headed toward the US border on yesterday was due to become the first Mexican military unit to operate on US soil since 1846. It
carried water treatment plants, mobile kitchens and supplies to feed the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Large Mexican flags were proudly taped to many of the 35 olive-green Mexican Army trucks and tractor trailers as they rumbled northward out of Mexico
City on Tuesday morning.
The office of Mexican President Vicente Fox said the convoy was due to cross into Laredo, Texas, early today.
Radio talk shows and newspapers buzzed with excitement at this turning of the tables for Mexico, which has long been on the receiving end of US
disaster relief, and which lost half its territory to the US in the 1846-'48 Mexican American War.
"This is the first time that the United States has accepted a military mission from Mexico" for such work, said Javier Ibarrola, a newspaper columnist
who writes about military affairs in Mexico. "This is something that's never happened before."
The convoy had "a very high symbolic content," said Javier Oliva, a political scientist at Mexico's National Autonomous University. "This is a very
sensitive subject, for historic and political reasons," he said.
The trucks, carrying 195 unarmed soldiers, officers and specialists, are to proceed to Houston, Texas where they will apparently be used to produce
water and hot meals for people evacuated from the New Orleans area.
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I am sure some on both sides will see this as an affront to national pride. Others in political circles will see it as another bargaining chip in the
contentious subject of immigration by mexicans nationals. However I would hope to see at least some truly grateful at the spirit of giving, no matter
what the underlying political reason is.