Category Archives: Joe Olvera

Barack Obama versus Herman Cain? The new reality in American politics

Joe Olvera

Joe Olvera is a long-time journalist whose latest book is - Chicano Sin Fin: Memoirs of a Chicano Journalist

© 2011 

One minority at a time, please. That must be the clarion call that’s coming out from both the Democrats and Republicans, now that Herman Cain is pushing forth with his attempt to gain the nomination as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

But, coming from one minority — namely me — ha, ha we fooled you, didn’t we? Can you imagine the historical implications of an African American running for the presidency from each party? Of course, Barack Obama broke the color line for the Demos, and, now, if things go well, the way I hope they do, we’ll have not just one, but, count them, two blacks running for this nation’s highest office.

Of course, it’s not yet a definite that the Republican Party will accept a black person as its candidate. Because, you know, hush … hush … whisper … whisper … the Republicans have not been known as being open-minded when it comes to race and ethnicity, and that’s putting it mildly.

Delta Street monument honors men of Company E

Joe Olvera

Joe Olvera is a long-time journalist whose latest book is - Chicano Sin Fin: Memoirs of a Chicano Journalist

© 2011

On Jan. 21, 1944, more than 1,700 men were ordered to cross the Rio Rapido, a treacherous river in Southern Italy to confront the German Army that lay in waiting to begin a bombardment that would waste many of those same men – 144 were from El Paso.

Despite the fact that the enemy had every advantage, picking off the men as they crossed the river, their heroism can never be forgotten.

You know you’re Mexican if … It’s to laugh and to remember

Joe Olvera

Joe Olvera is a long-time journalist whose latest book is - Chicano Sin Fin: Memoirs of a Chicano Journalist

© 2011

Here’s a little bit of good-natured cabula, so don’t take it too seriously, because it’s all tongue-in-cheek. OK? Orale!

You know you’re Mexican if…you know your mom is sneaking up on you, because you can hear her chanclas on the linoleum floor. My dear, sweet mother must’ve had the longest arms in history, because she could always find me to take the loose skin on my arm between her iron-hard fingers, to pinch me for some infraction of her rules. But, she only did that when I needed the discipline, you understand;

You know you’re Mexican if…you have plastic slipcovers on your sofas. Actually, our financial condition was such that we couldn’t buy new sofas very often. But when my mom did manage to buy new ones, we made sure to not tear, rip or dirty them. Otherwise, we were dead meat;

An open-letter to my beloved city, El Paso

Joe Olvera

Joe Olvera is a long-time journalist whose latest book is - Chicano Sin Fin: Memoirs of a Chicano Journalist

© 2011

I love you, El Paso. I love you for your longevity, for the fact that you are old world – your culture reflects your thousands of years of existence. I love and appreciate the magical way in which you accept all peoples, from far-flung shores to nearby villages and communities that – although in poverty woes – you approach with respect and admiration – even with reverence.

I love you for your amazing mountains, as their steel-blue, grayish eyes stare down on us in protection – yes, they are your sentinels of power and peace. Your mountain range, El Paso, has protected us, your faithful denizens, since time everlasting. Some say that mountains have the power to enfold us, to capture us in their spirit, and to never let us go. Your dormant volcano keeps us on our toes, because we never know when you’re going to erupt. If your power ever explodes skyward towards heaven, we’ll just sit in our chairs and muse over your pyrotechnic shower.

Juárez colonia residents suffer in winter, summer

Joe Olvera

Joe Olvera is a long-time journalist whose latest book is - Chicano Sin Fin: Memoirs of a Chicano Journalist

© 2011

So, you say you had it rough during the 2011 El Paso Freeze? You say your water pipes froze, leaving you without drinking water, that you couldn’t take a shower, couldn’t wash dishes, couldn’t wash your dirty car, couldn’t, couldn’t, couldn’t? You say the lights went out in your house, you resorted to flashlights or candles, couldn’t turn on your television, your stereo, your computer, your refrigerator went sour. You say you were without gas for several days at a time, you were cold, miserable – but you did have blankets to keep you warm, you did have a bed to sleep on?

Well, folks, count your blessings that you don’t live in one of the Juárez colonias, where amenities are nowhere to be found and where people live like this every year, every winter. Count your blessings that your house, at least, has cinder blocks or red bricks, or other means of support. And, oh yes, a roof. Count your blessings that your home is weather tight, or as tight as you can make it. Try living in a shack made out of cardboard, chicken wire, and a hope and a prayer.

Museo Mayachen needs to be improved

By Joe Olvera

© 2011

Watch me put my big foot in my big mouth in this, my column, about El Museo Mayachen, a long-needed venue where

Joe Olvera is a long-time journalist whose latest book is - Chicano Sin Fin: Memoirs of a Chicano Journalist

Chicanos who live in the Heart of El Paso, could see exhibits that would bring them closer to their roots, including samples depicting the struggles not only of La Mujer Obrera, but of Chicano workers everywhere, including Farah Manufacturing Company.

While I agree that the effort is there, what worries me is that the traffic is not what we envisioned when we first started working on getting a building where we could do this. Mexican products from throughout the Aztec Republic, and even beyond, are sold in a market-like atmosphere, but not enough people are traipsing through the stalls where these products are sold.

An open letter to Pastor Tom Brown

Joe Olvera

© 2011

Where’s your compassion Pastor Tom Brown? Or is it relegated only to those who believe as you do? If God, as you

Joe Olvera is a long-time journalist whose latest book is - "Chicano Sin Fin: Memoirs of a Chicano Journalist"

say, hates homosexuals, I’m wondering, didn’t God make them too? Or are you speaking of another God, one who can hate as much as you and other humans do? I don’t know, but, I’m confused. I thought all Christian religions carried the cross of Jesus Christ on their lips, their hearts and their beings. But, I guess I’m wrong. There’s still room for hatred, still room for confusing the faithful.

What confuses me the most are your motives for refusing to allow unmarried partners of gay people who work for the City of El Paso health insurance. First you are against taxpayers’ money being used to offer protection to such people – something like $30,000 or so. Yet, you aren’t against the city spending $150,000 to conduct a recall election, plus, if you’re successful in removing Mayor John Cook and City Council members Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega, there will be an additional cost of thousands of dollars to hold another election to replace the ousted city leaders. Doesn’t this bother you? Or don’t you care how taxpayer dollars are spent?

Mexico has its own roots in Africa with ‘negritos’

Joe Olvera

© 2011

Joe Olvera is a long-time journalist whose latest book is - Chicano Sin Fin: Memoirs of a Chicano Journalist

They were called “negritos.” I’m speaking, of course, of the black people who graced Mexico’s shores many years ago, and who, in fact, still do. Although some Mexicans eschew the fact that blacks existed in Mexico, the reality is that there is black blood flowing through Mexican veins. For some reason, many Mexicans don’t want to be identified as potentially having black blood. But, to me, it’s a non-issue. It’s there, and there’s not much we can do about it except, perhaps, to acknowledge it.

My first awareness of blacks living in Mexico was as a kid by reading a very popular Mexican comic book called “Memin Penguin,” about a little black boy and his misadventures. There was also a movie, “El Derecho de Nacer,” about a young black woman who denies her African blood and tries to be white, something she’s not. To reach her goal of being accepted by her white Mexican friends, she denies her mother, who is, of course, black and a maid at a wealthy Mexican home.

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