STATESIDE STORIES: Cinco de Mayo, Raul Castro, and the Pope

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Blog by Mary Foran

 

Cinco de Mayo Celebration

Mexicans celebrate the routing at Puebla with pride and patriotism, and everything Mexican

 

Charge of the Mexican Cavalry at the Battle of Puebla

Charge of the Mexican Cavalry at the Battle of Puebla

Most Americans think that the Mexican celebration of Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican Independence Day Holiday. But that is on September 16th. The fifth of May is really a celebration of the Mexicans’ brave defeat of the French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862.

What happened was that the French occupied Mexico after the Mexican-American war of 1846-48 and the 1858-61 Reform War which was a civil war. The Mexican Treasury was left nearly bankrupt and the then Mexican President Benito Juarez imposed a 2 year moratorium on foreign debt payments. and repayment. Britain and Spain negotiated with Mexico and withdrew, but France was ruled by Napoleon III who decided to use this opportunity to establish an empire in Mexico that would favor French interests.

A 19th century oil painting of Pres. Benito Juarez

A 19th century oil painting of Pres. Benito Juarez

In late 1861, the French landed a decisive force in Veracruz and pushed President Benito Juarez and his government back. Moving toward Mexico City, the French army met considerable resistance from the Mexicans near Puebla. The poorly equipped 2000 Mexican soldiers defeated the 6000 or so French army in an amazing turn of events that is celebrated with pride even today. On June 5th, 1867, Benito Juarez finally reestablished his government in Mexico City after much back and forth with the French.

Now Mexicans celebrate the routing at Puebla with pride and patriotism, and everything Mexican: pinatas, guacamole, negra modelo beer and of course tacos and burritos and enchiladas. Americans join in the celebration all over the country which has a truly Mexican flair now.

Tacos

Tacos

Guacamole

Guacamole

 

 

 

 

 

 

Negro Modelo

Negra Modelo

 

Enchilada mexicana stuffed with chjicken. served with rice

Enchilada mexicana served with rice

 

 

 

 

 

Images:
>Featured image: Cinco de Mayo at the White House (Official White House photo)
>Charge of the Mexican Cavalry at the Battle of Puebla by Mike Manning. Uploaded by Jamuki (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Jamuki), CC BY-SA 3.0
>Oil painting of President Benito Juarez, PD
>Guacamole:  https://www.flickr.com/people/35034346243@N01. PD
>Enchilada mexicana by http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Lameirasb, CC BY-SA 4.0
>Negra Modelo Beer – Grupo Modelo S.A.B. de C.V., Mexico (from Grupo Modelo’s official website)
>Tacos by jeffreyw (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreyww/), CC BY SA2.0

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Pope Francis Inspires Raul Castro of Cuba 

Castro praised the Argentine Pontiff for helping set up the diplomatic breakthrough between Cuba and the United States

"Welcome to the Vatican!"

On the left, the Pope: “Welcome to the Vatican!”

After his meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican in Rome, President Raul Castro of Cuba made comments which had the news media buzzing. Castro commented in a televised news conference about how impressed he was with Pope Francis’ teachings, saying he may even go back to the Roman Catholic Church and pray again as he did at the Jesuit schools of his youth.

Castro praised the Argentine Pontiff for helping set up the diplomatic breakthrough between Cuba and the United States, along with the help of the Canadian government.

Pope & Raul Castro - Pope and Castro 1Castro and the Pope met for about an hour privately speaking in Spanish, until the Cuban leader left to meet with the Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi.

Pope Francis plans to visit Cuba before his visit to the U.S. in September.

In a televised news conference, Castro said, “I promise to go to all of his Masses, and with satisfaction,” adding “I read all the speeches of the pope, his commentaries, and if the pope continues this way, I will go back to praying and go back to the Church. I’m not joking,” he concluded.

Pope and Raul Casteo - Pope and Castro 3

“If the pope continues this way, I will go back to praying”

Castro explained, “I am from the Cuban Communist Party, that doesn’t allow believers, but now we are allowing it. It’s an important step.”

Castro commented that he hopes the U.S. Senate will take Cuba off the roster of terrorist-supporting countries.

 

 

 

Images
All three photos: YVKE Radio Mundial, Ministerio del Poder Popular, Gobierno Bolivariano de Venezuella (http://www.radiomundial.com.ve/article/papa-francisco-recibi%C3%B3-al-presidente-ra%C3%BAl-castro-en-el-vaticano-fotos) , via Creative Commons–GNU/GPL license