Diaz & Pulido, Two sides, Same Coin

Mayor Miguel Pulido

Gustavo Arellano has a recent post on Navel Gazing detailing the historical parallels between Mexico in 1910 under Porfirio Diaz and Santa Ana in 2010 under Miguel Pulido. He cites a New York Times article written shortly before the beginning of the Mexican Revolution which lumps nothing but praise on the longtime dictator, Diaz, but many of the passages truly apply to Miguel Pulido today.

Porfirio Diaz

Both got their beginnings in politics under very idealistic circumstances. For Diaz, is was being a colonel in the battle of Puebla which led to Cinco de Mayo and fighting the French and reactionary Mexicans for a more liberal and equal Mexico with Benito Juarez. For Pulido, he entered politics in a idealistic fight to save the family business which was threatened by a government out of control who felt they could dictate a better use of the property than the Pulido family had for it. They started off with the right goals, and somehow got lost along the way and became the very symbol of what they originally fought against.
 
Yet the most glaring similarity is embedded in the NY Times article. It showed the undying admiration the Caucasian world (USA and Western Europe) had for Don Porfirio. This is very similar to the way most Caucasian Democratic bigwigs outside of the City of Santa Ana feel about Miguel Pulido. I can personally attest to their undying devotion and their utter self-denial  as to just how neglected the populace of Santa Ana, primarily the working class Latinos they claim to champion, really is.
 
Much of the “gabacho” world turned a blind eye to Diaz’ brutal rule. They turned a blind eye to the seizure of the Ejido lands and the Feudal system developed to force the Amerind population into slavery on the Haciendas. They turned a blind eye to the removal, deportation and ethnic cleansing of the Yaqui Nation and other indigenous groups in the Sonora region. They turned a blind eye to the blatant kidnapping of poor Mexicans who were then pressed into slavery in the very factories owned by many of these foreigners. Whenever the Flores-Magon Brothers or other Diaz critics tried to force them to see the crimes  if the Porfiriato, they were met with a simple “lets change the subject.”
 
The Caucasian world only wanted to see the “great leader” who had “modernized” Mexico by literally selling the country to them. They had the best land, the best factories, they controlled the banks, they controlled the natural resources, the commerce, you name it. It was not Mexicans who benefitted from Mexico’s “modernization” it was rich, Caucasian businessmen. They even turned a blind eye to Porfirio Diaz’ lightening skin. Unlike Michael Jackson, who had a skin disease and could not help it, Diaz was known to powder his skin in order to truly appear lighter than he really was, he was actually quite dark skinned being of primarily of Mixtec descent.
 
Not unlike Diaz, you speak to some of the Democratic and progressive big money folks from South Orange County or Anaheim Hills and you will get the same treatment. I have heard many of them in speeches introducing Mayor Pulido as a “fantastic mayor” who “get’s things done.”Pulido evenly openly backed anti-immigrant activist Lupe Moreno or  Rosemarie Avila(who supports gay genocide via AIDS) for office, and yet, the Caucasian big money Democratic community chose to turn a blind eye. There was a point where I spotted the Mayor more often in an issue of Orange Coast Magazine than in the City of Santa Ana.
 
When I began blogging for the blog that shall remain unnamed, I was immediately critical of Mayor Pulido. I was critical at his handling of the immigration protests, I was critical at the poor service our residents were receiving, I was critical of the contracts being handed out to his friends, such as the $500,000 for flat screen TV’s while we our street’s decayed and our park space dwindled. During that time I also worked for Planned Parenthood as the Political Coordinator. Some of the very big money folks I mentioned earlier were major donors and regulars at PPOSBC’s fundraisers. I too got along with many of these people and find them to all be pleasant individuals. Some would approach me and, looking truly perplexed, asked how anyone in their right mind would NOT like Miguel Pulido. When I challenged them to name what he has done, the answer I often got was , HE IS A GREAT GUY.
 
Another incident that comes to mind, was at the 2007 OCYD William Jefferson Clinton Awards Dinner. Gustavo Arellano was the keynote speaker and I felt he gave a well-written speech warning our generation against falling into the trap of supporting Democrats simply because they are registered Democrat. He took a couple of swipes at Mayor Pulido which led to audible gasps by some of the “old guard” sitting near the table I was at. There were mumbles of how it was “bad form” for Gustavo Areallano to criticize the Mayor in his own city, even though the Mayor was not present for the dinner. I spoke up and said it was great form, and asked what the Mayor had done. I was met with the line I had heard every time I began to cite the Mayor’s neglect of the working class Latinos. The line would be “Let’s change the subject” or “How bout that scumbag Mike Carona” or “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
 
Not to different from the answer much of the Caucasian world gave regarding Porfirio Diaz, they thought he was a “great guy.” Today in 2010, these people, who are leaders in the political party that is supposed to champion the rights of the working class Latino, turn a blind eye to Pulido being out of touch with the community. They turn a blind eye to blatant efforts to shut down successful businesses on 4th St. They turn a blind eye to the fact that there is rougly one acre of parkland per 12,000 people in the very area some of these developers seek to build 10,000 more housing units with no real guarantee for more parks. I expect Republicans to actively work to screw over working class Latinos, but to have insiders in the party who supposedly champions our cause completely turn on us when it comes to Mayor Pulido, well it just makes me sick to my stomach.
 
Yet in reading the history of Porfirio Diaz, I see things were not too much different. It seems, no matter what, many upper class Caucasians (no matter their political leanings) are easily impressed by a smooth talking Latino who speaks French. This year is no different, as the same usual suspects and even a new batch of Democratic “activists” sell out their values to support a man who does nothing to improve the lives of the working class of Santa Ana, just like 1910 was no different when Francisco Madero spoke out against the injustices. Madero lost, and was actually jailed by Diaz on election day. Just two months later the people of Mexico rose up in Revolution and overthrew Diaz, and when that happened, the entire world was in disbelief as they were now forced to see with their own eyes that he was not the man they made him out to be in their mind.
 
On November 2nd, I truly hope the people of Santa Ana have a revolution at the ballot booth and boot Pulido from office. Then, and only then, will many of the South County and Hills Democrats open their eyes and see for themselves the real Pulido, a man more concerned with the perks of office and impressing his buddies in South County and The Hills than taking care of the people he was entrusted to care for. What I find most ironic is I keep hearing from these Democrats that Alfredo Amezcua has no chance, that Pulido would never lose. I encourage you all to read the New York Times article, it also says that there will NEVER be a revolution in Mexico while Porfirio Diaz was in charge. Were they ever wrong.

  6 comments for “Diaz & Pulido, Two sides, Same Coin

  1. September 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    BRAVO. And not just because you seem to be the only person who enjoyed that speech…

  2. foraveragejoe
    September 22, 2010 at 6:56 am

    Claudio:

    Good reading!

    Please elaborate on HOW “they turn a blind eye to blatant efforts to shut down successful businesses on 4th St.”
    WHO has been shutting these businesses?
    WHICH businesses have been shutdown?
    WHAT was the reason given to you for the business by shutdown if any, and by WHOM?
    HOW was this accomplished?

    Also you spend considerable time writing an analogy to Porfirio Diaz that may or may not apply, and then you end by “On November 2nd, I truly hope the people of Santa Ana have a revolution at the ballot booth and boot Pulido from office . . . What I find most ironic is I keep hearing from these Democrats that Alfredo Amezcua has no chance, that Pulido would never lose.”

    You ask that Pulido get booted out, and that people vote for Amezcua.
    Why Alfredo Amezcua?
    What about the other choices?
    What distinguishes Amezcua from the others, and how is he better?
    What are Alfredo’s ideas and how do they differ from Pulido and the other Mayoral candidates?

    Alfredo homepage has the following:
    “I seek to be a mayor who ensures:

    * economic prosperity
    * public safety
    * educational opportunity”

    HOW will he ensure Economy prosperity?
    HOW will he ensure Public Safety?
    HOW will he ensure Educational Opportunity?

    Also WHAT do you think of Pulido’s recent “transformation”?
    HOW credible is this and how long-lasting?

    Whomever wins this Mayoral race will have to be able to work with the majority of City Council Members to be EFFECTIVE.

    Is it clear or not that Alfredo Amezcua has built a relationship with the current City Council members that shows that they are Looking forward to working with him, or not?
    HOW do we know this?

    OR is it the case that Pulido has the better relationship which makes him more effective?

    Elaborating or answering this would be helpful to Santa Ana voters.

    Thanks! Merci! Gracias!

  3. gabriel san roman
    September 22, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Pulido is, as Pulido does..

  4. gabriel san roman
    September 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    …And elections are not the sole space of contest. Claudio, you often ask who else and what views. I say there are already people creating a “New” Santa Ana with or without the help of elected officials. (usually without)

    There are those who are turning out successful businesses on 4th street. There are those creating homegrown, grassroots culture in the city, not imported, subsidized pendejadas. There are those who are organizing and advocating for parks in Santa Ana even if the lips of power are incapable of mouthing such.

    The city is rich with non-profit and volunteer organizations creating its own civil society. Sure, shifting out people in City Hall would be nice and helpful, but if the normative political establishment is incapable of doing so with worthy candidates, then the work of creating the New Santa Ana within the shell of the old continues…

  5. art lomeli
    September 23, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Community organizing is important but ultimately ineffective with out the leadership in city government.

    GROUPS WANTING AND WORKING FOR CHANGE HAVE BEEN AROUND AND WORKING IN THE CITY FOR THE LAST 16 YEARS WITH LIMITED SUCCESS. JUST LOOK AROUND VISUALY AROUND THE CITY.

    Santa Ana is perceived by many within and out side Santa Ana as the worst city in Orange County in every sense. This is so because of a lack of leadership(Pulido) with in the last 16 years that through mismanagement, for economic and political manipulation, has impeded the evolution of the tremendous potential Santa Ana Possesses.

    This some will argue is arguable. I say take a ride around the city and see the neglected infrastructure, talk to the residents about the mismanaged education , crime, gangs, gang murders, poor economic and unfriendly business situation.

    They will give you there life experience on these issues, not the political pundit and blogger perception.

  6. Northcountystorm
    September 23, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    Claudio, If you think Pulido is Diaz, is Amezcua Pancho Villa? Or, in your land of analogy, would Amezcua be Francisco Madero who actually overthrew Diaz/

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