The Cuauhtémoc, named for the last Aztec emperor and warrior, is the Mexican Navy’s instructional tall ship for fourth-year cadets at the Heroica Escuela Naval Militar. She and her 246-member crew also are a diplomatic symbol of Mexico abroad. For eight months in 2018, the Cuauhtémoc circumnavigated South America in an event called Velas Latinoamérica together with the tall ships ARA Libertad of Argentina, Cisne Branco of Brazil, Esmeralda of Chile, ARC Gloria of Colombia, BAE Guayas of Ecuador, BAP Unión of Peru, and Simón Bolívar of Venezuela. The U.S. Coast Guard Eagle (WIX-327) joined for the port of Curaçao.
I had the opportunity to be on board the Cuauhtémoc for three months as the U.S. Navy guest officer. From my daily interactions with the crew and cadets, I left with a positive and more complete impression of Mexico and four observations:
1. “Facts for Features: Hispanic Heritage Month 2016,” census.gov, www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2016/cb16-ff16.html.
2. “Navy by Gender, Race, and Ethnicity,” Department of Defense, https://diversity.defense.gov/Portals/51/Documents/Presidential%20Memorandum/20161018%20Abbreviated%20US%20Navy%20by%20Gender,%20Race,%20and%20Ethnicity%20v1.0.pdf?ver=2017-01-04-135118-310.
3. Tim Bailey, “The Mexican-American War: Arguments for and against Going to War,” History Now, Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, www.gilderlehrman.org/content/mexican-american-war-arguments-and-against-going-war. In his memoirs, President Ulysses Grant writes of his opposition to the war, which he fought in as a lieutenant. Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs (New York: Charles L. Webster and Company, 1885), Project Gutenberg, ch. 3, “Army Life—Causes of the Mexican War—Camp Salubrity,” www.gutenberg.org/files/4367/4367-h/4367-h.htm.