?IA\( ITA Under Surveillance 8}’Jose Angel Gutierrez RECENT INFORMATION released under the Freedom of vides irrefutable evidence that, at least since the 1930s, various agencies of the United States government have targeted the lawful activities of individuals and organizations in the Chicano community for surveillance. The spying on Chicanos and Mexicans involves many government agencies, federal and local, and includes a broad range of local, regional. and national organizations and leaders as targets. That Chicanos and Mexicans were targets for surveillance by the U.S. government should not surprise anyone. The current literature on government surveillance of domestic groups and persons, however, contains little, if any, information that applies to Chicanos. According to the literature, government spying in recent decades has been limited to militant blacks, New Left radicals, anti-war protestors, white-hate supremacist groups, and old guard communist and socialist groups. This is an incomplete picture. According to evidence never before collected \(most of which was provided by files obtained through Freedom of Information requests from various local offices of eral, state, and local agencies of government also acted to monitor, thwart, subvert, destroy, harass, and discredit a great many Mexicans and Chicanos. The surveillance of Mexicans and Chicanos has a long history. While the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the formal violence of the American military forces against the Mexican population, the rights of Mexicans remaining in the ceded territory became a matter of immediate concern. Those remaining Jose Angel Gutierrez, former Zavala County Judge and Raza Unida party founder, is director of the Texas Rural Legal Foundation. This article is taken from an article, complete with annotated documentation, delivered as part of the Renato Rosaldo Lecture Series and published by the Mexican American Studies and Research Center of the University of Arizona and is reprinted by permission. in the newly occupied territory of the West and Southwest continued to suffer froni an informal and non-military, but no less violent, repression. Civilian authorities and local police personnel assumed the traditional peacekeeping role of an army of occupation. Surveillance of this hostage population began in earnest. Chicanos, descendants of those Mexicans, have been and continue to be suspected of being agents and conduits of a foreign government Mexico. Agencies of the government maintain intelligence-gathering programs to look for indications of potential or actual subversion. The political opinions and actions of individual Mexicans and Chicanos remain under official scrutiny by local, state, and federal agencies, particularly if these opinions or actions are in protest of an injustice. The FBI and LULAC THE OUTBREAK of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 caused authorities to take a closer look at the activities of persons of Mexican and Spanish ancestry residing in this country. The Federal Bureau of Investigation ment in Spain and its possible links to groups in the United States, such as the Union Nacional Sinarquista, which was founded in Mexico in 1937 and claimed 700 members in this country. The specter of a Fifth Column among U.S. residents of Mexican ancestry was used by J. Edgar Hoover to order a national mobilization of intelligence gathering and surveillance of this community. During the 1940s, the FBI instructed its agents in the field offices to report on the size of the Mexican population, its leaders, its organizations, its businesses, and on the activities of the Spanish language media outlets in the community. The FBI agents in California, for example, examined the 1930 and 1940 census tracts of the major cities in the state, particularly Los Angeles, to develop a demographic view of the Mexican and Chicano community. In order to cross-check their population figures, the agents examined records of the Office of Price Administration for food ration book registrations, of the Housing Authority for rent receipts, and of the Los Angeles County Probation Department for criminal records. Their -list for Los Angeles included the 65 Catholic churches with Spanish or Mexican priests in the area, ten Spanish language newspapers, six magazines, four radio stations, nine theaters, and fifteen Mexican or Chicano-owned businesses. The list also noted various major employers of this population Lemonari Company, Los Angeles County Civil Service Commission, Lockheed Aircraft Company, Consolidated Vulter Aircraft Corporation, North American Aviation, Douglas Aircraft Company, Northrup Aircraft, Consolidated Steel Corporation, Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Protection Department, as well as farm labor programs, i.e. braceros, and the various railroad companies. The FBI field offices also identified leaders and organizations in the Spanishspeaking community throughout California. They listed 92 organizations in Los Angeles, eight in the Fresno area of the San Joaquin Valley, seven in Long Beach, and a few others in San Bernadino, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Santa Clara, and Santa Barbara counties. During the 1943 assaults by police and military personnel on Chicanos wearing zoot suits, FBI and military intelligence on this community increased. Informants were recruited and organizations infiltrated. For example, meetings of the Los Angeles Committee for American Unity, organized for the purpose of combatting discrimination against persons of Mexican ancestry and lar, were infiltrated and monitored. Among those attending the meetings of this organization were Carey McWilFay Allen \(Los Angeles Board of War Quevedo \(Coordinating Council for report on the meetings alleges that some of those in attendance were “closely identified with the Communist party and many of its front organizations.” In Texas, there was a similar pattern of FBI activity during the late 1930s. In 1938, Director Hoover received intelligence information from the San Antonio and Dallas field offices on the League of United Latin American 8 JANUARY 9,
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