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Majority Leader Hoyer Statement Celebrating Cinco de Mayo
WASHINGTON – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today commemorating Cinco de Mayo, which will be celebrated tomorrow:
"On the morning of May 5, 1862, 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeated the invading French Army at the Battle of Puebla - and in so doing, they struck a blow for liberty and freedom that was felt throughout the world. And while the battle that we commemorate on Cinco de Mayo is widely recognized as a key victory in maintaining Mexican independence and strength, few Americans realize just how important it was to the survival of our own country as well.
"When Emperor Napoleon III made the decision to invade Mexico - along with English and Spanish forces that were seeking to collect on Mexican debts incurred by the new government of democratic President Benito Juarez - he did so with the intention of establishing a base from which France could support Confederate rebels in the American Civil War. And when the French troops were all but routed on Cinco de Mayo, the Confederacy lost an important supply line and it was not long before the Union Army gained the upper hand and succeeded in preventing our young nation from being torn apart at the seams.
"Shortly after Union forces won a major victory at the Battle of Gettysburg - just 14 months after the Battle of Puebla - the United States sent American forces to help Mexico expel the last of the French invaders. And when the Mexican Army finally triumphed, they invited their American allies to march along side them in the Victory Parade in Mexico City - marking an historic moment in the partnership that now exists between our two countries.
"Today, the friendship between Mexico and the United States is one of the strongest alliances in the world. And it gives me great pride to join with my friends in Mexico - and the United States - in marking the 145th Anniversary of a victory that meant so much to everyone on the North American continent."