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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Social Bandits In The American Past: Juan Nepomuceno Cortina And Tiburcio Vasquez
Program #

Richard Goodman
Richard Goodman
Nov 5, 1976

Social bandits in the American Past: Juan Nepomuceno Cortina and Tiburcio Vasquez

Host Richard Goodman discusses the lives of two famous Chicano Bandits, Juan Nepomuceno Cortina and Tiburcio Vazquez, as examples of two Mexicans who impacted United States history. Using Rudolfo Acuña’s Occupied America, Goodman explains how many Mexican-Americans in the 1850s were very poor and oppressed by Anglo society. He explains that they revered bandits who broke Anglo laws because they attacked the same law enforcement structures that oppressed them. While Anglo historians have tried to discredit these figures, many Mexican Americans recognize them as the precursors of the Chicano Movement.

Juan Nepomuceno Cortina was an upper class Mexican landowner and cotton merchant living near Brownsville, Texas active in politics on both sides of the Rio Grande after the American civil war. One day he shot a marshal who was pistol-whipping a Mexican. From then on, he committed himself to defending Mexicans against Anglo abuses. He condemned the oppression of Mexicans and called for the extermination of their oppressors, lawyers, merchants and Anglo settlers. Only captured once for cattle rustling, he was revered as a hero on the Mexican border. Tiburcio Vazquez operated in California in the 1850, raiding towns and robbing hotels and stores during the California gold rush. Mexicans admired him for anti-establishment activities. He was captured and hung, but. Before he died, Vasquez explained that his activities were driven by the hatred and anger he felt towards the Anglos who deprived Mexicans of their rights, and took away the honor of Mexican women.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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