BROWNSVILLE, Texas – The Rio Grande Valley is full of heroes, unsung heroes, that went to war. Juan Alamia was one of them.
Juan Alamia was born in 1876 in Port Isabel, in the centennial of the United States. Near the turn of the century there was a skirmish going on in the Caribbean Sea that involved Spain and Cuba. This was their push for revolution for their freedom from Spain. The war that came out of this was the Spanish American war. The United States fought Spain for the freedom of Cuba.
Going up into 1898 Juan Alamia was mustered into the cavalry in San Antonio, Texas in Fort Wood. He went through basic training and was shipped out of Tampa, Florida to go into action for the battles that brought Cuban independence. His commanding officer, Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt and a future U.S. President, led the group that he was in was in; the famous Rough Riders. They went went over San Juan Hill and did all of the cavalry work that brought in the victory for the Cubans.
In the period of the Mexican Revolution Juan Alamia signed up for what was called then the army intelligence core. He was a spy for the United States against Lucio Blanco. When Blanco met Alamia he [Alamia] was in private services as a telegrapher during the beginnings of the war. Lucio Blanco asked Juan to send a message to Mexico City stating that Reynosa was calm and the go ahead was given to send forces in to ambush federal troops. Juan did not like that because he was opposed ethically, to what was going to be a slaughter for the forces coming into Reynosa.
Alamia sent a message that was to the contrary and the forces were ready for Lucio Blanco and a big skirmish ensued. Juan Alamia fortuitously met up with Lucio Blanco later on after the battle of Reynosa. It was Blanco that asked Juan and his entourage to join up with him and his forces to go into the battle of Matamoros. Juan declined and his friends did the same.
At that point Lucio Blanco did not have patience for anyone who was not going to be on his side. Blanco took all of those men and instantly executed them. He executed Juan by hanging him on a Mesquite tree, behind the ranch house. The ranch was called Los Scorpiones. The American contention in McAllen saw that Juan had not arrived back from his mission, so they sent another person from the army into Reynosa to look for him. This army officer went to Lucio Blanco not knowing how Blanco was without any kind of conscience.
This officer talked to Lucio Blanco and said that he came over here looking for some horses that belong to some Americans. Blanco told the officer he did not have any patience for Americans. He then led the officer behind the ranch house where he saw Juan Alamia hanging from a tree. The army officer was horrified to see his friend, dead. The officer went back and reported to the military base what had happened.
Juan Alamia gave his life to the service of this country. You can see what kind of valor is represented by the people from the Rio Grande Valley that went out and joined forces to combat tyranny for one form or another.