Back to Index

Texan-Mexican border - Chihuahua

Elias Castillo from Mexico writes: "It seems very likely that the state of Chihuahua is heading for a severe clash with Mexico's federal government [over the distribution of Rio Grande water]. The statement that Chihuahua does not have to honor a Mexican federal treaty (to which, obviously, all Mexican states must adhere) is empty blustering. It should be extremely interesting to observe how the Mexican federal government will force Chihuahua to adhere to the treaty.

It's not the first time that Chihuahua has clashed with the federal government. Sometime in the 1980s, Chihuahua demanded that the federal government pay taxes on folkware products that it was bringing in to the state for sale. The federal government refused, saying that because it was using federal highways, the state had no right to impose state taxes on the products because they were never on state land and went directly to a federally owned facility for sale.

Chihuahua refused to accept the explanation and warned the federal government it would seize the folkware the next time a shipment entered state land. The federal government then assigned an escort of federal police to the next convoy. It was promptly stopped by state police once it entered Chihuahua. Somehow, somebody fired a shot at the tense highway standoff. A hail of bullets was exchanged between the federal and state police (luckily, no one was wounded or killed). The federal police, outnumbered, quickly surrendered and were arrested and jailed in Chihuahua, charged with attempted murder, obstruction of justice, vandalism to state property (the bullet riddled state cars), conspiracy, and a number of other charges. Federal officials and attorneys flew immediately to Chihuahua and reached agreement with Chihuahua on paying the state taxes. The federal police were also released.

It was an example of the fierce independence that Chihuahua maintains toward the federal government and the arrogance that the federal government maintains toward the Mexican states".

My question: Is this why Mexicans say "Ay ¡Chihuahua!"?

Ronald Hilton - 6/8/02