Category Archives: Balo’s War

1915 “bandit” investigation led to surprise finding

In October 1915, 18-year-old Jesus Martinez was arrested by an Army guard at the Brownsville train station on—well there was no reason to arrest him other than he was suspected of being a bandit, perhaps involved in recent attacks against innocent “Americans”. He was a Mexican, afterall. Martinez carried with him a letter that raised suspicions even more. The investigation into the contents of the letter led authorities to a surprising conclusion. Continue reading 1915 “bandit” investigation led to surprise finding

Plan of San Diego raids prompted suspension of civil liberties

Late in the evening of Oct, 19, 1915, men believed to be rebels fighting under the flag of the Plan of San Diego attacked the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico passenger train at Olmitos, Texas six miles south of San Benito. When the smoke cleared, three people—three “Americans” as the newspapers pointed out—were dead. Continue reading Plan of San Diego raids prompted suspension of civil liberties

Cárdenas emerges as a master story teller

Scholars have found the Plan de San Diego (PSD) of great interest and for decades have produced a large body of works on the incident, in doing so expanding on fields such as Tejano history, Borderlands history, or Mexican history. Most recently, historians Charles H. Harris and Louis R. Sadler published the episode’s most comprehensive scholarly study under the title of The Plan de San Diego: Tejano Rebellion, Mexican Intrigue (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2013). What lacks at this point, however, is a source that fills the needs of the reading public and instructs it on the dimensions of this struggle that burst forth in South Texas in the year 1915. Alfredo E. Cárdenas’s Balo’s War: A Novel About the Plan of San Diego (Corpus Christi: MCM Books, 2015) addresses that call.

Continue reading Cárdenas emerges as a master story teller