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The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez

       The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez is a story about a Mexican man who lived in Texas and the consequences of a misunderstanding that made him kill someone.

       In Texas, 1901, Romaldo Cortez, who was Gregorio Cortez’s brother, traded a horse with an Anglo. Days after the trade, Sheriff Morris and his deputy, who was a translator, were visiting and questioning Gregorio about the trade from couple days ago. Morris asked his deputy to translate what Cortez was saying to him. Cortez said that it wasn’t a horse his brother traded; it was a” yegua” (female horse.) Morris, with a pistol in his hands, tried to detain Gregorio, but something went wrong. Morris killed Romaldo, and Gregorio killed Morris in self-defense.

       Cortez fled to the north while Mike, the nephew of Morris, and almost 600 Rangers looked for him in the south. One night, these men entered someone’s house because they thought that Cortez was there. It was dark, and they started to shoot. Mike found someone dead on the floor, and he noticed that this man was one of his men.

       There were issues against Mexicans during Cortez’s capture. According to the deputy, he spoke “Mexican”, and referred to Mexican people as “The Mexicans.” He almost hung a Mexican kid trying to find out where Gregorio Cortez was.

       Cortez suffered when he fled north. Cortez and his horse called “Mija” (honey or sweetie) were hungry and thirsty. One day, Cortez found a ranch hand who had a campfire. This guy offered him food and coffee. Cortez, in gratitude, gave his knife to this man. There was something these two had in common, they were lonely and far from their families.

       Cortez turned himself in. Cortez knew that there was a reward of $1000 for his capture, and he also knew that his family was in prison. He turned himself in because the most important thing for him was his family. Cortez was found guilty of killing two men and was sent to prison for the rest of his life. Cortez argued that he only killed one man, and it was in self- defense. In 1913, the governor of Texas pardoned Cortez, and everyone knew what the real crime was.

       Today, we still have racism and have miscommunication among people. When someone needs to be translated and the other person doesn’t know the words very well, it can be a big problem.

       This was a story about Gregorio Cortez, who as a result of a miscommunication was accused of a crime and found guilty.