May 5th for Mexico is like the Fourth of July for The Unites States.
Cinco de Mayo is when Mexico gained it’s independence from Spain.
The real history is that Cinco de Mayo is when Mexico won a battle against the French in 1862. It was called the Battle of Puebla, when the Mexican army fought against Napoleon III. Mexico had gained it’s independence from Spain 50 years prior, and had rallied as as a young nation to defeat the French army, who was considered the best army in the world at the time, having not been defeated in decades.
The victory against the French represented resistance to being assimilated by white imperialism, and a unified Mexican identity during a time when Mexico was still rife with regional differences.
They drank cerveza after the victory.
It was the Mexican population living in California (which was a free state at the time) that seized on May 5 as a reason to celebrate and turned it into a holiday. It is celebrated in Mexico (mostly in Puebla), but in America it has come to represent Mexican pride and celebration of culture, especially in the city of Los Angeles. Fiesta Broadway is the considered the largest Cinco de Mayo party in the world, and dwarfs even the Puebla party.
The unfortunate news is, the tie-in to beer is mostly just hype from a marketing department. (Odds are on Corona). In all likelihood the Mexican soldiers smoked some marijuana in preparation, application and celebration of the hard-won victory over the French. Their affinity for “locoweed” and white people’s fear of their brown skin is what triggered much of the prohibitionist and racist baloney that we are still trying to undo to this very day.
I love Hispanics
Cinco de Mayo celebrates a cultural identity that is often maligned, especially under in the current president and his supporters. Hispanics, the population of which Mexicans comprise 64%, are routinely targeted by the Republican party as being outsiders and the “other” that Americans should be scared of and rail against. The real truth is, these people have inhabited this land since before the Pilgrims showed up on the shores of Plymouth. If we want to play the “finders-keepers” game, objectively: they were here first! Telling hispanics to “go home” is absurd because this is their home. Late comer Europeans may have some cute ideas about creating laws and erecting walls that make their existence illegal. History will ultimately show this view for what it is. Pure insanity.
Marijuana possession is a HUMAN RIGHT
The Mexican supreme court ruled that smoking and consuming cannabis is your right as an autonomous human being. It is your right as a human to grow, possess and consume any substance that does not harm another. While there is still work to do in the country to make cannabis legal at the federal level, this lends huge amount of leverage in terms of whether it is viable to prosecute cannabis possession as a crime
I propose that cannabis advocates align with the spirit of Cinco de Mayo to celebrate Mexican and Hispanic pride and remember that the current prohibit of cannabis of largely due to racist policies against their culture. The “Mexican-ness” of this plant is a huge cornerstone of the campaign that was waged to make marijuana illegal. The movement for legalization is about more than just the removal of stigma from a medicinal and beneficial plant. It’s about waking up, and resisting racism, bigotry and hatred.
Happy Cinco de Mayo!