05 February 2014

The Chamizal Dispute

5 Feb 2014--Got a late start yesterday, so we took a ride into downtown El Paso just to see what was there, and ended up riding along the border with Juarez and visiting what is called the Chamizal National Memorial.

This is one of the main roads into the city, and basically at the end of this road you hit the border.  Driving along the border highway we were surprised to see that a total of 3, count them...3...barbed wire fences separate us from Mexico at this area of the border, with a lot of "no-man's land" in between each fence.  (Having been stationed in Berlin during the Cold War, I can't help but think of the Berlin Wall...almost feels un-American, if you ask me.)

We saw a sign pointing us in the direction of a National Park Service site called the Chamizal National Memorial, and not having any idea what it might be, we headed there.

So here is the story: for over 100 years, going back to the mid-1800s, we had a big dispute with Mexico as to where our borders actually were in this area.  The Rio Grande itself was the border between the 2 countries, but because it would swell and shrink and change shape due to heavy rains and the like, people and property would end up on the wrong side of the border...where Americans were suddenly inside Mexico, and vice versa. The video below gives a very good visual and verbal explanation of what was happening with the river, and it's short so check it out.


Initiated by President Kennedy, but signed and implemented by President Johnson, the dispute was resolved with a treaty that led to the Rio Grande being funneled into a 4.3 mile concrete channel built just to keep the border constant.

So this is the only National Memorial in the country that flies 2 flags, and that is me and Cathy outside the building where they have the original border post of the 1800s...Cathy on the US side, me on the Mexico side.

So that was short, but informative I hope.  We thought the video and concrete channel were pretty interesting...hope you did, too!  haha


  1. couldn't hear the video, but tried to read when you hand was not shaking!
    Also how did you get on the Mexican side?

    1. I don't know why you couldn't hear it...I just checked and I could hear it fine on this end. And I wasn't on the Mexican side...that was just the other side of the post.