- Former President of the League of United Latin American Citizens
- Co-founder of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund
- Open Borders advocate
Guerra Obledo was born
in San Antonio, Texas on April 9, 1932, the son of Mexican parents
who had immigrated to the United States in 1915. Obledo enrolled
at the University
of Texas (UT) at Austin in 1949, interrupted his studies to
enlist in the Navy in 1951, and eventually returned to UT where he graduated with a degree in
pharmacy in 1957. He subsequently worked
as a pharmacist while earning a law degree from St. Mary’s
University in San Antonio in 1960.
is widely regarded as the “Godfather
of the Latino Movement” in the United States. In 1968 he and
another young lawyer, Peter Tijerina, co-founded
American Legal Defense and Educational Fund with $2.2 million
from the Ford
Foundation and guidance from the NAACP
Legal Defense and Educational Fund. “Discrimination [at that time] was so
widespread,” Obledo later recalled,
“I claimed that filing a lawsuit was like picking apples off a
In 1975 Obledo spent eight months as a teaching
fellow at Harvard
Law School. That same year, Governor Jerry Brown of California
him as his state's Secretary of Health and Welfare. Obledo held this
post for seven years, during which he dramatically increased the
number of minorities employed by the agency.
unsuccessfully for governor of California in 1982, Obledo, a lifelong Democrat, focused on
developing his law practice. He also served as president
of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) from 1983-85.
Obledo was chairman
of the National
the leftist political organization that grew out of Jesse
1984 presidential campaign. Throughout his years as an activist,
Obledo considered Jackson
to be a close ally
1994 Obledo was an endorser
of the International Peace for Cuba Appeal, which
the U.S. economic embargo against the Communist Caribbean nation.
prominent endorsers and initiators of this Appeal included Philip Agee,
June 1998 Obledo articulated
his racialist agenda by
going to take over all the political institutions of California.
California is going to be a Hispanic state and anyone who doesn’t
like it should leave. If they [whites] don’t like Mexicans, they
ought to go back to Europe.” Around
that same time period, he told
the Los Angeles Times:
“It's inevitable that
Hispanics or Mexican Americans are going to control the institutions
of the state of California in the not-too-distant future. If people
don't like that, they can leave.”
June 1998 Obledo was asked to comment on immigrant-rights activist Jose
observation that “We have an aging white America, they are dying,
[and] I love it.” Obledo responded:
“He's a good friend of mine. A very smart person.”
August 1998, Obledo and the California chapter of LULAC made national headlines when they joined forces
the Taco Bell restaurant chain's use of a chihuahua
with a stereotypical Mexican accent in its advertising. According to
Obledo, the ads were racist and offensive to Hispanics.
when the California Coalition for Immigration Reform (CCIR) in 1998
erected a billboard on the California/Arizona border reading,
“Welcome to California, the Illegal Immigration State. Don't Let
This Happen to Your State.” When Obledo issued a press release
to blow up or burn down the billboard, the company that had rented
the billboard space to CCIR refunded the organization's fee
the offending message.
In addition to his aforementioned
activities, Obledo also
the Hispanic National Bar Association and the National Coalition of
Hispanic Organizations. Moreover, he played an early leadership role with
the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, which works to
boost the number of Latino voters.
on August 18, 2010.
For additional information on Mario Obledo, click here.