‘Cesar Chavez’, a movie about the late leader of the United Farm Workers opened nationwide in theaters Friday.
Chavez is worshiped by white liberals and the Latino community. He has been compared to Gandhi and has been anointed as a saint by the mass media. However, Chavez was no Gandhi. And he was definitely no saint!
There is no question but that the farmers of California exploited, and in some cases mistreated, migrant farm laborers, most of which were Mexican-Americans. The farm workers were paid measly wages and in many instances they were packed into squalor housing facilities like sardines. They deserved much better pay and living conditions.
In 1962, Chavez organized the National Farm Workers Association which became the United Farm Workers. That was a good thing. Chavez led a strike against California grape farmers that lasted five years. He called on Americans to boycott California grapes. That too was a good thing.
However, the striking farm workers took their grievances out on the farmers by destroying farm crops and sabotaging costly farm machinery. Chavez was well aware of these criminal activities. While he piously told the media he opposed these illegal acts, he never actually made any effort to stop them. That made him just as guilty as his law-breaking followers. And that is why Cesar Chavez was no saint.