February 27, 2006 Issue
Copyright © 2011 The American Conservative

Cesar Chavez, Minuteman PDF

The UFW leader was no friend to illegal immigration—

By Steve Sailer

In California, only three birthdays are official state holidays: Jesus Christ’s, Martin Luther King’s, and Cesar Chavez’s. Beatification as a secular saint, though, isn’t always good for the soul. A recent four-part exposé by reporter Miriam Pawel in the Los Angeles Times revealed how the labor leader turned revered ethnic icon descended into paranoia, megalomania, and general crack-pottery in the 15 years before his death in 1993.

Today, his United Farm Workers functions less as a union—it represents only 2 percent of the California agricultural workforce—than as a lucrative Latino-pride fundraising machine providing sinecures for a dozen Chavez relatives. Pawel writes, “Chavez’s heirs run a web of tax-exempt organizations that exploit his legacy and invoke the harsh lives of farm workers to raise millions of dollars in public and private money. The money does little to improve the lives of California farm workers, who still struggle with the most basic health and housing needs and try to get by on seasonal, minimum-wage jobs.