Today the Financial Times published a mysterious map purporting to show Mexican-American border disputes, according to Senator Patricio Martínez. I am more than slightly surprised that the newspaper is giving such credence to the Senator’s bizarro-world claims with no further fact-checking.
It is a very nice map, except that we do not have the foggiest idea where it comes from, save perhaps the febrile imagination of Senator Martínez.
Article I of the Gadsden Purchase Treaty lays out the border pretty specifically. Martínez seems to be suggesting that nobody noticed that Nogales lies entirely inside Mexico. He also seems to be suggesting that the Gadsden Purchase Treaty said that the line west from El Paso should have run 115 miles instead of 100. Which would be fine, if the treaty didn’t, you know, say “one hundred miles.”
The story in the FT piece about the Mexican government discovering that the stone cairns marking the border had been destroyed is true. The problem with the story is that the U.S. and Mexican governments spent six years resurveying and delineating the border in 1891-96. The Barlow-Blanco resurvey went over the whole damn thing and replaced all the missing border markers. You can read the whole report here.
As for the 1897 note from the Mexican foreign minister, I have no idea. I do know that Matías Romero signed a border convention in October, so his objections, whatever they were, did not seem to be major.
To conclude: the newspaper should report that a Mexican senator is claiming that the border is in the wrong place! But I would think that maybe, you know, they might also at least hint that there is pretty much nothing behind those claims.