Texas Governor Rick Perry made an unexpected visit to Chamizal National Memorial on February 24th.
With the flags of the United States and Mexico hovering above on an 82 degree afternoon in El Paso, the governor made a brief speech in front of a small group of state and local officials. Perry stated his support for Mexican President Felipe Calderonâs fight against drug cartels. The governor called on state legislatures to pass a $135 million dollar border initiative to go after âtransnational gangs, technology and aviation assets, and for 1,000 more troopsâ on the border.
Perry went further, stating that the U.S. needed to focus less on Iraq and Afghanistan and more on helping Mexico battle the warring cartels. Mexico and the U.S. âare married,â he said. The nations are trading partners, as billions of dollars travel south and north across the border annually.
There could not have been a more fitting backdrop for Governor Perryâs speech. Chamizal National Memorial promotes the fact that disputes can best be resolved through peaceful diplomacy. The Chamizal Convention of 1963 peacefully ended a century-long border dispute between the U.S. and Mexico that was caused by the shifting course of the Rio Grande.
A park built on diplomacy, Chamizal today is a place where all people, regardless of nationality or race, come together. The park has three art galleries that focus on borderland culture, a state of the art theater and outdoor amphitheater that hold cultural events most weekends of the year, and a staff dedicated to telling folks about the Chamizal Story and its happy ending of peace and diplomacy.