|Backgrounder: Nation of Aztlan|
The Nation of Aztlan (NOA), first organized in the early 1990s, is a California-based Hispanic nationalist organization that claims to represent the desires and aspirations of the Hispanic community. The organization calls for the United States to return "Aztlan" territory - Aztlan being the mythic homeland of the Mexican people, or Aztecs, which according to legend is found in the American Southwest or Northern Mexico. The group's nationalist message is blurred by frequent appeals anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, homophobia and other expressions of hatred.Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism
The NOA has posted numerous anti-Semitic articles and editorials on its Web site, La Voz de Aztlan. Many of these articles allege Jewish control of the U.S. government (one described the Monica Lewinsky affair as a plot involving the Mossad and, by extention, Israel.) The NOA has exploited the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to further extend its anti-Semitic and anti-Israel conspiracy theories.
On September 13, 2001, Hector Carreon, NOA founder and editor of La Voz de Aztlan, which the NOA describes as an online news service, wrote: "There is no doubt that our foreign policy in the Middle East has contributed to the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Is not our support of Zionism too high a price to pay? Why are we supporting an Israeli apartheid policy that has made all of Islam our mortal enemy?"
Carreon published an essay on Oct. 9, 2001 titled "Anthrax Terrorists May Be Zionists," in which he claimed that the anthrax outbreak in Florida may have been the work of Jews. Carreon claimed that in July 2001 he received an anonymous letter containing a "small amount of a yellowish white substance" and text claiming that "Jews had an illustrious history in biological research." Carreon claimed he developed "flu like symptoms" after receiving that letter. This made him suspicious of the Boca Raton anthrax case; Carreon claims that "the laboratory engineered Anthrax spores came in the mail in an envelope that included a 'Star of David' charm." Carreon wrote, "We believe that the terrorists are actually Zionists." Everyone assumes that "the dangers we face" come from Islamic terrorists, stated Carreon, "but our experience has been different. We fear Zionist terrorists more. They have been trying to take away our constitutional right of freedom of political expression through acts of terrorism."
The Syria Times Daily Politic News Online (Oct. 16, 2001) reprinted the article under its original headline, "Anthrax Terrorists May Be Zionists."
Another essay in La Voz de Aztlan titled "Anthrax Letter Messages Seem Contrived" suggested that anthrax-laced letters addressed to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw and U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle were possibly sent by "Zionists." According to the essay, "Zionists have been worried because they perceive that the American public is wavering in their support of Zionist racist polices against the Palestinians. They are desperate and will do anything to manipulate U.S. public opinion. This is one of their favorite tactics."
Ernesto Cienfuegos, La Voz de Aztlan staff writer, suggested that Zionists were responsible for the October 2001 assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi, claiming that Israelis were attempting to "frame" the terrorist group that immediately accepted responsibility for the killing, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. According to Cienfuegos, "The Zionists needed to create a situation in order to relieve the great pressure and to find a new excuse to attack the Palestinians. This has now happened."
The NOA is sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, often likening the Palestinians’ goals with their own: "La Raza's struggle for the land and for political and economic self-determination is not different from the struggle of the Palestinian people in Zionist Israel. We live in Aztlan under Anglo domination as the Palestinians live under Jewish domination."
"La Raza," meaning "the nation" or "the race," is a term used by some mainstream Hispanic organizations like the National Council of La Raza, which the NOA is not affiliated with and does not represent.Current Leadership
Hector Carreon is the head of the NOA and founder/editor of La Voz de Aztlan ("The Voice of Aztlan"), an Internet "news service" which debuted in January 2000. According to the La Voz de Aztlan, "Hector is a graduate in Civil Engineering from California State University at Long Beach where he was a founding member of the Society of Mexican-American Engineers and Scientists (MAES). He served honorably for two year [sic] as a Vietnam-era soldier in the U.S Army's 2nd Armored Division and is a graduate of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund's Advanced Leadership Program."
Carreon may have been introduced to Hispanic nationalism during his time with the Brown Berets, a group that came into existence in 1967 in Los Angeles soon after the Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland, California. Similar to the Panthers in organization and ideology, the Brown Berets focused on the mobilization and unification of "Chicanos for Self Defense" against police brutality, with a strong emphasis on youth in the "Barrios" and on education.
La Voz de Aztlan and the group’s e-mail service are published from Los Angeles; staff writers include Miroslava Flores and Ernesto Cienfuegos. In fall 2001, the group described plans to improve its Web site: "Shortly we will be implementing more advanced Internet technologies that will enable us to reach more people in a more efficient way. We also plan to add more sophisticated audio and video capabilities to the website." In addition to the anti-Semitic nature of NOA, the group has posted several virulently homophobic articles editorials and articles on its Web site.Recent Activity and Background
Prior to the September 11 attacks, the NOA announced that it created a "La Raza Education Project on Palestine" and that it was forming an alliance with the "international community that is seeking peace and justice in Palestine." Despite such pronouncements, the level of the NOA’s non-Internet based activity remains unclear.
In 1998, a group of ten people wearing masks, including Juan "Ralphy" Avitia, a spokesman for the Nation of Aztlan at the time, burned a U.S. flag in front of city hall in Fresno, California. In 1999 Carreon’s Imapcto2000, which calls itself "a web site dedicated to the political and economic empowerment of La Raza through the effective use of the World Wide Web," sent an anti-Semitic e-mail to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Hispanic rights activists revived the story of Aztlan in the 1960s. Beyond a mere physical site, Aztlan has become a metaphor for the geographic, historical and spiritual home of many indigenous people in the Southwest. The NOA seeks to create a separate nation in the area now "occupied" roughly by California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.Common Ground With Extremists
Some white supremacist movements have provided a degree of aid and comfort to the NOA by endorsing its material and publishing statements seemingly sympathetic to its positions. Several white supremacist Web sites include links to the NOA.
White Aryan Resistance (WAR), led by white supremacist Tom Metzger, posted articles by the NOA on its e-mail list service. The anti-Semitic and racist hate group World Church of the Creator has showcased NOA anti-Jewish articles on Chandra Levy and the Mossad on its e-mail list. The neo-Nazi National Alliance says that the NOA "publish a lot of truth about our common E. [enemy]." Another National Alliance message says, "Everyone should check out this site. There are several articles which speak truthfully about the Jews. Yes, Aztlan would kill or deport all Europeans, but they would kill or deport all Jews, too." The white supremacist site vanguardnewsnetwork and the Nation of Islam Student Association feature links to the NOA Web site.
Meanwhile, anti-immigration groups such as American Patrol have pilloried the NOA with equally charged rhetoric, claiming the group is part of a Hispanic plot to "invade" or "conquer" the Southwestern U.S.The Nation of Aztlan: In Their Own Words
[Article by Ernesto Cienfuegos]
July 24, 2001 – "Powerful Jewish interests in Hollywood, television and other media promote the idea that it is ‘politically correct’ to accept the gay lifestyle…"
|© 2001 Anti-Defamation League|