“Seeing Sediciosos Where There Aren’t Any: U.S. State Violence against Smugglers Before and After the Plan de San Diego”
In Américo Parades’s classic novel George Washington Gómez, we meet Feliciano García, a former sedicioso who survives the violence of the era and settles down to a quiet life caring for the family of his murdered brother. Reading of Feliciano’s life as a stepfather working a bar made me wonder what happened to the sediciosos who survived the state attacks that crushed the rebellion. Were they, as Parades depicts, able to live the rest of their lives in peace?
Because we don’t know the identity of many of the raiders, it is difficult to determine what happened to them afterward. What is certain is that area law enforcement perceived sediciosos in many of their subsequent engagements. The Texas Rangers, U.S. Customs agents, county law enforcement personnel, and soldiers [who ethnic Mexicans collectively called rinches] didn’t hang up their guns in 1916. Many continued to serve and believed that alleged local law breakers were former sediciosos regardless if their offense bore little resemblance to the targeted raids attributed to the Plan de San Diego uprising. Smugglers, in particular, bore the brunt of officers’ attacks.
Smuggling across the Rio Grande is as old as the border itself. In the 19th century, both Mexico and the United States…