MEXICO: Cinco de Mayo

In a thousand dusty village squares and in the vast Zócalo before Mexico City's National Palace, crowds danced, skyrockets sizzled. In historic Puebla, where girls pelted his car with flowers as he passed, President Miguel Aleman laid a wreath at the foot of the statue of General Ignacio Zaragoza.

It was the Cinco de Mayo—the Fifth of May—and all Mexico was celebrating the victory won 86 years ago when General Zaragoza's troops drove the glittering legions of Emperor Napoleon III down the slopes of Puebla.

In 1862 Benito Juárez was president, and Mexico had just emerged from years of exhausting civil war....

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