People React

Chamizal National Memorial


Bertha Isela Chavez, Chamizal Resident "Honorable Sir: My name is Bertha Isela Chavez and I am 11 years old. I am writing this letter for my mother and father. We live in the Chamizal. My father is 54 years old and my mother is 61 years old. They are too old to start another debt. Their income is small and the house payment now is all we can pay after our living and my school expenses. Respectfully, Bertha Isela Chavez"

Francisco Ortiz, Chamizal Resident "The United States is guilty because it put up for sale Mexican land when it knew that it was Mexican territory, in the year of 1910."

Manuel Tello, Mexican Secretary for Foreign Relations 1951-1952, 1958-1964 “The problem isn't about money. The only solution that needs to happen before the end of this administration is to return those lands to Ciudad Juarez as the 1911 judgement stipulated.”

Ray Denny, El Paso Resident "I think when our government, after 99 years, takes the land that was fought for and that blood was shed for, and gives it to any other country, it's time to fight! 'El Chamizal' is U.S.A. The river was changed by an act of God."

Raymundo S. Garcia, Heir of Pedro I. Garcia “It’s only 44 acres of El Chamizal that I’m claiming as the only designated heir of my father, Pedro García, may he rest in peace. . . . I have lived without El Chamizal my whole life, and I have faith in Justice. . . .”

Bertha Trujillo, Chamizal Resident "I don't want to move. I don't know why President Kennedy had to stick his nose into it. All my neighbors feel the same way about it, and are very unhappy about it"

Tomás Valles Vivar, Senator, Chihuahua "Mexico always maintained the strong conviction that its territorial rights—which it has always defended in every place and circumstance—should be respected. And in the clear case of Chamizal, the damage had to be repaired sooner or later and the 1911 award completely carried out."

Sofia Chavez de Dominguez, Chamizal Resident "If this land rightfully belongs to Mexico, then I'm glad it is being returned. But I feel sad of having to move out and start all over again."

Francisco Ortiz, Chamizal Resident "If we property owners of Chamizal Zone are forced to move, we want not only the value of the property; we have to get three times the value, because it costs so much to build."

Ricardo Carrillo Durán, Federal Representative from Chihuahua "If our neighbors have changed their mindset that the United States has business interests, not friends, and instead they seek the goodwill of Latin Americans over dominating them politically and economically; if they are mindful of the fact that secure and long-lasting prosperity must be shared with those who participate in its increase; and if they show evidence of this—such as in the case of El Chamizal—then we can believe that the returning of Mexican land bound for a century to the other side of the river is a sure sign of better days. Kennedy, a martyr of his own beliefs, and Adolfo López Mateos, an exemplary and extraordinary Mexican, will be held ever more deeply and fervently in the hearts of all Mexicans."

Joseph F. Friedkin, US Commissioner, International Boundary and Water Commission "There were some 1,100 homes we had to purchase. Most of those we were able to negotiate fairly well. But there were some who were hurt--not so much from the property standpoint--but for the older people who had their little church, had their own friends around them, had their grocery store that they knew, this was hard. This was an uprooting."

Thomas C. Mann, US Ambassador to Mexico "We didn't get everything we wanted, and they didn't get everything they wanted. We negotiated hard on that, and I think what came out of it is something which was good for Juárez, good for El Paso, and good for Chihuahua, and the State of Texas."


People react to the terms of the Chamizal Convention at the time of its announcement and implementation.


4 minutes, 10 seconds



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