Mexico

Texas Standard: February 11, 2021

The second impeachment trial of Donald Trump is underway. So what have we learned and will any of it affect the chances of a conviction? We’ll explore. Also, the COVID-19 vaccine could put an end to this pandemic in the way we’ve been living it so far, but only if people get the vaccine. We’ll explore some challenges. And Mexico doesn’t get the credit it deserves when it comes to the way it’s shaped the global economy. That’s the premise behind a new book. What we could stand to learn about our neighbor to the south. And the growing backlog of unsolved murders in Texas and what it tells us about policing in the state. Plus we’ll take a break and nerd out a bit about gaming graphics. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: February 2, 2021

It was billed as a State of the State address. But a closer reading might reveal the not-to-subtle start of a new campaign season in Texas. We’ll break down governor Greg Abbott’s 5 emergency items. Also the latest on bottlenecks in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in the Lone Star State. And rural Texas, disconnected? A state lawmaker warns funding cuts could cut off internet and phone service for many sparsely populated parts of Texas. Plus a new opening for transmigrantes and how that could create new opportunities and new dangers at the border. Those stories and more today on the Texas standard:

Texas Standard: January 29, 2021

Could you draw a map of the state of Texas? Try drawing the political maps. This year, it promises to be tougher than ever. As redistricting begins in Texas, what to look for in what is likely to be another highly contentious process. Also, are you having trouble getting the COVID-19 vaccine? Many are. Our own Terri Langford set out to try to navigate the journey to get vaccinated in Texas, and it wasn’t pretty. We’ll hear what she learned firsthand. And the story of a Texas-based video game store stock that rocked Wall Street: a morality tale? The truths not quite so simple. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: December 23, 2020

Read any good books lately? We sure have. As we fast approach the end of the year, and a certain holiday known for gift giving we hit the stacks. They served on the front lines of a revolution in Mexico that revolutionized Texas, too. A new book reclaims the often overlooked stories of revolutionary women. Also, living the dream: the Texas author who’s writing the books she wished she’d been able to read as a kid. And a how-to book with a Texas twist you won’t find stashed away in the tool shed: how to be an astronaut and much more as we chat with authors about some memorable books of 2020 on todays Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: December 14, 2020

A big red letter day for Texas as the first COVID-19 vaccines roll into the Lone Star State. Where the vaccines are going and what happens next- today on the Texas Standard.
Four health care centers in Texas today set to receive the first batches of Pfizer’s just approved two-dose vaccine. How to find out who’s on top of the vaccination list and the latest on distribution.
He’s not green lighting a political career just yet, but he’s not ruling one out either. Actor and author Matthew McConaughey on the search for a middle ground. And reflections on the groundbreaking musical path of the great Charlie Pride.

Texas Standard: December 3, 2020

The countdown to the holidays: how the numbers add up in the battle against the pandemic in Texas. Another story we are tracking: a new study finds a strong correlation between cancer and living within 30 miles of an oil refinery. What this could mean for some 6 million Texans in the nation’s top oil producing state. And it was known as Mexico’s revolution, but the impact on Texas was nothing short of revolutionary, now the story of the women on the front lines. Plus it’s not just for arts and crafts anymore, many small Texas businesses find pandemic business booming online. Omar Gallaga on the Etsy effect. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 30, 2020

The timetable for COVID-19 vaccines in Texas? The first doses could be here within days, says the governor. We’ll have more on the state’s plans for a rollout of Pfizer’s Coronavirus vaccine in Texas, who gets it and when. Bob Garret of the Dallas Morning news with details. Also more on the incoming Biden administrations plans for fighting the pandemic. And contraband crossing the border: not drugs coming into the U.S., but arms going south to Mexico. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 26, 2020

It’s Thanksgiving Day and we’re re-broadcasting a special show for you. Overlooked No More: How Asian Texans shape the state. Today we’ll talk about How the Asian American community has changed since 1870, the first time the U.S. census counted people from China to today. Also, we’ll meet a group called the “Pershing Chinese” – a story of Chinese immigration through Mexico. Then we’ll travel to the border where a vibrant Filipino community settled. And is it time to re-evaluate the holidays we officially recognize in Texas? All of those stories and more on today’s special edition of the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 24, 2020

How did an agency that oversees managing office space and procuring supplies come to play such a role in the presidential transition? Gimme a T for transition: what changes and how for Team Biden with an election acknowledgement by a key government agency? Also, who Biden’s tapping for his administration and what it could mean for Texas. Plus Mexico’s president also slow to concede the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. What that could mean for relations with our crucial neighbors to the south. And before the family gatherings begin, a north Texas family offers a warning informed by experience. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Overlooked No More: How Asian Texans Shape The State

It’s Labor Day and we have a special show for you- “Overlooked No More: How Asian Texans Shape the State. Here on the Texas Standard.
We’ll talk about How the Asian American community has changed from 1870, the first time the US census counted people from China to today.
We’ll meet a group called the “Pershing Chinese”. A story of Chinese immigration through Mexico.
Then we’ll travel to the border where a vibrant Filipino community settled.
Is it time to re-evaluate the holidays we celebrate in Texas???
Plus, K-pop and activism. And the state of jobs and healthcare during COVID.

Texas Standard: September 2, 2020

It is the first detailed look at the impact of the pandemic on state services and it includes a billion dollars in cutbacks. A thick document detailing how hard COVID-19 will hit Texas’ budgetary bottom line, the biggest hit to social services. Asher Price of the Austin American Statesman got the story and he joins us. Also, a Texas state senator demanding congress step forward to help find out why so many apparent killings at Fort Hood. And does a Texas city really hold the nation’s top spot in a jump in crime? A Politifact check and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: July 7, 2020

10 out of 12 hospitals reach capacity in the Rio Grande Valley, and the top health official in Hidalgo county tests positive for COVID-19. We’ll have more on the effects of the pandemic and the strain on health care resources in Texas. Also, a new survey on conflicting attitudes about the Coronavirus in Texas and the role of politics in opinion. Plus, on the eve of the first face to face meeting between the president of the US and the president of Mexico, a look at how the crisis is playing out south of the border. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: May 25, 2020

With the unofficial start of summer in Texas, a re-evaluation of what we’ve endured and what’s ahead. We’ll take a look at the state of the fight against COVID-19. Texas based vaccine expert Dr.Peter Hotez gets us up to speed on the impact of the relaxation of stay at home guidelines in Texas. Also, why many daycares, now authorized to reopen, may not make it despite economic recovery efforts. And an update on the Coronavirus story unfolding just south of the border, and a rediscovered history of women and the high court. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

El Rio Bravo

By W.F. Strong

Ten years ago I was touring the great Catedral de Sevilla, in Spain, when I got into an unexpectedly informative conversation about Texas with an 80-year-old guide of that majestic church. When he discovered that I was from South Texas, he asked me, in perfect British English, “Did you know that your river there in Texas is named after our river, the Guadalquivir?”

I said I didn’t understand how that could be so. How do you get Rio Grande from Guadalqivir? He said, “Guadalquivir is a Spanish distortion of the Arabic, meaning “the brave river” or “the great river.”  So, when the original cowboys of Andalucia from southern Spain settled in northern Mexico, they thought the river looked like the Guadalquivir, so they called it the “Rio Bravo.”

Well, that was one more origin story to add to many others that claim to tell how the Rio Grande River, or the Rio Bravo – as it is known on the Mexican side – got its name. I can’t speak for or against the veracity of the guide’s story, but as a story, it’s interesting, which is the first rule of stories.

Some say Álvarez de Pineda first named the Rio Grande, El Rio de Las Palmas, in 1519.  But others say he was really at the mouth of the Pánuco River near Tampico – much farther south in Mexico – not the Rio Grande. But we have to consider the Pineda Stone as evidence, which was found deep in the sand near the mouth of the Rio Grande in 1974, with his name etched on, along with the number of men and ships he had with him. Many believe it is fake, but just as many feel it’s real.

We do know that explorer Juan de Oñate called the river El Rio Grande in writing in 1598. Strangely, Cabeza de Vaca crossed it 70 years earlier on his wild trek across Texas and Mexico, but never mentioned the river at all.

The river has also been called Rio Grande del Norte and Rio Bravo del Norte. Today, we know for sure that it is called the Rio Grande on the Texas side, and the Rio Bravo on the Mexican side. At one time it was certainly brave and grand, with steamboats piloted by Texas legends like Richard King and his business partner Mifflin Kenedy, who traveled 130 miles inland all the way to Rio Grande City, and in a rare case, all the way to Laredo.

Though the river, once half-a-mile wide at some points, certainly earned its name, now we might call it El Arroyo Valiente, or Courageous Creek, because, along its 2,000-mile journey from Colorado to the Gulf, it’s often no bigger than a creek. So, many cities and towns along its bank pull water from it that is a mere trickle of its former self.

No wonder Will Rogers once said that the Rio Grande is the only river he “ever saw that needed irrigation.”

And down toward the mouth, the river is incredibly crooked, like an enormous water moccasin sunning itself in lazy loops and curls. Gen. Zachary Taylor said his soldiers believed it was so crooked there seemed to be only one shore. I can attest to this myself. I once rode my motorcycle along the northern trails that follow the curves of the riverside, but my eyes told me otherwise. It’s terribly disorienting. Riverboat pilots said it was 100 horse miles from Brownsville to Rio Grande City, but 175 river miles.

The river is to Texas and northern Mexico what the Nile is to Egypt. It is quite simply life itself, and always has been. And there are still quiet, isolated spots along the river. Ones where I found myself looking north across the water, even though I was not on the Mexican side where enormous canyon walls rise toward the heavens 2,000 feet overhead. Where exotic parrots fly in screeching flocks through the wild palm orchards – places you can sit and channel the words author John Graves wrote about a different Texas river: “If you are lucky and reverent, and hush for a moment the doubts in your head, sometimes God will whisper in your ear.”

The Hero Of Cinco De Mayo Was A Texan

My wife Lupita and I were celebrating Cinco de Mayo at home Tuesday. We had a couple – or so – margaritas in honor of General Zaragoza’s victory at the Battle of Puebla. Lupita said, “I wonder if Texans know what they’re celebrating when they party on Cinco de Mayo.”

She’s originally from Mexico and, though she knows the history well, she also knows that most Mexicans outside of Puebla don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo as much as people do in Texas.

“I think many people treat it like they do St. Patrick’s Day, a fun theme party of dressing green, drinking green – a good reason to party without knowing much about the real St. Patrick,” she said. “To many, Cinco de Mayo is Mexican food, margaritas and tequila shots, and I’m totally down for that, but I bet some Texans would be surprised to know that General Zaragoza was a Texan, and 500 of the men at the battle were Tejanos.”

Now on a mission, she downed her margarita and whipped out her cell to Google it right quick.

“Ah ha, mira, right as usual.”

She showed me a survey that said only one in ten Americans know Cinco de Mayo’s true meaning: 39% think it’s Mexican Independence Day – it isn’t, 26% say it’s a celebration of Mexican culture and 13% of the exceptionally honest say it’s a good reason to drink. Most planned to celebrate by eating Mexican food, drinking margaritas or Mexican beer or having a Cinco de Mayo party at home.

Interesting. I was more focused on the Texas connection myself. I was not surprised by the poor familiarity with the meaning of the date, or troubled by the faux association of Cinco de Mayo with “Three Amigos” and their saving of Santo Poco from El Guapo. People gotta have fun.

I knew about General Zaragoza being a Texan, but I didn’t know how deep his Texas roots went until I did some digging – pun thoroughly intended. He was born in Goliad in 1829, when Texas was part of Mexico, and only a few years before Texas Independence. If we look at his full name, Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, we learn something. That last name, Seguin, was his mother’s name. She was from San Antonio and a cousin of Juan Seguin who fought Santa Anna in the Texas Revolution and for whom the city of Seguin is named. Ignacio’s father owned 11 leagues of land along the Red River, or about 50,000 acres, according to the Texas Land Office. He bought it for 100 pesos a league. That’s mind-blowing. You couldn’t even buy a square foot of that land today for 100 pesos. All this proves General Zaragoza’s Texas bonafides.

When Ignacio was in his early twenties, he joined the revolutionary army of Benito Juárez and eventually led an army of volunteers in defeating Santa Anna. Yes, that same Santa Anna. Zaragoza’s victory effectively removed Santa Anna as dictator of Mexico. That’s another reason we should recognize Zaragoza. Like all good Texans, he despised Santa Anna and wanted him dead so democracy could live. It is astonishing that Santa Anna was in power again 20 years after his humiliating loss at San Jacinto. But that man had more political lives than a cat. He was president of Mexico 11 times. No one man ever failed so often and so badly and still managed to claw his way back into power as Santa Anna did.

Now, on to Puebla. The French, under Napoleon III, wanted to make Mexico their own colony in the Americas. They sent a large force of crack troops – 8,000 men – to take Mexico by storm. Juarez sent General Zaragoza to Puebla to defend Mexico from the Imperialist Invasion. This was Mexico’s San Jacinto moment. Zaragoza had half as many men as the French army. He was definitely the underdog in this fight and was expected to lose badly. The French army’s commander had the same haughty attitude that Santa Anna had about the Texans. He saw them as riffraff, as commoners, low-bred men without discipline. The French commander, Ferdinand Letrille, wrote that the Mexicans he faced “were of a lower race, poorly organized, poorly disciplined, of low morals” and in a uniquely French insult of a military force, said that they “lacked good taste.”

General Zaragoza enjoyed a stunning victory over those crack troops of good taste that day. The French lost 500 men at the Battle of Puebla: the Mexicans lost 100 and sent the French back to the coast, licking their wounds. The French hadn’t lost a battle in 50 years, so this was a demoralizing defeat and a victory of national pride for the Mexicans that cannot be overstated.

Sadly, General Zaragoza died four months later of typhoid fever. He was just 33.

So we raise our margarita glasses on Cinco de Mayo to salute native Texan, General Zaragoza Seguin, for removing Santa Anna from power – forever – and for his San Jacinto-like victory at Puebla.

Texas Standard: March 13, 2020

This is not a test. As Texas responds to a pandemic, health officials struggle to find ways to deal with a lag in Coronavirus testing, we’ll have the latest. Plus in major cities across the Lone Star State, city streets, schools and universities and office buildings getting empty. Events from rodeos to concerts and games all cancelled or in the process of. So what comes next? Our conversation with the top official of the most populous county in Texas, judge Lina Hidalgo…Plus the politics of quarantine and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: March 9, 2020

SXSW’s cancellation may be just the tip of the iceberg. The warning from economists: the world’s 10th largest economy should brace for impact, we’ll have the latest. Also, a discovery in Dallas county brings demands for a Super Tuesday recount. And a new state law designates all common spaces on public universities as public forums for free speech. Critics blame the new law for campus violence, we’ll have details. Plus acts of dissent south of the border over the weekend as millions of women declare a feminist spring. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: February 3, 2020

Bloomberg delivers a surprise in Texas. We’ll look at why the former New York mayor and billionaire is scoring so highly in a new survey. Also, Texans don’t often express an interest in doing things like they do it in California, but firefighters in central Texas are eager to make an exception right now: we’ll hear why. And amid record setting violence in Mexico, reasons for optimism? A security expert in Mexico city says yes. Plus a super bowl win for Texas last night? Maybe more than many in the Lone Star state realize. All those stories and then some today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: January 24, 2020

Houstonians shaken overnight by an explosion. We’ll explore the details. Also, we remember PBS host Jim Lehrer, the national star who spent years in the Lone star state died Thursday. Plus perceptions of U.S. troops stationed in Ukraine amid the president’s impeachment trial. And is this hemp or is it marijuana? Well, if in Austin there’s no need to fret if carrying small amounts. Also, adding and subtracting with Texas Instruments, the brand that brought us the calculators of the past is making news. All of those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: January 20, 2020

The star of the show or a bit player? What’s likely to be a major role for a former heard of Baylor university in the upcoming impeachment trial, we’ll have details. Also, the proliferation of so called sanctuary cities for the unborn across Texas. And temperatures plummet across Texas… are natural gas bills skyrocket? Not so much! What’s keeping the cap on heating. Plus, Texas public colleges and universities getting graded on how well they help first generation, low income students. Who makes the grade and more today on the Texas Standard: