allied Mexican small farmers to form a political union which resisted anddiscriminated against Texans thereby keeping many settlers away. EventuallyCortina came in conflict with an influential group of lawyers and judges of Brownsville , who were united in opposing the political bossism of Cortina. Inturn, Cortina agitated the Mexican population when he accused his opponentsof expropriating land from Mexican Texans or
, who were unfamiliar
ith the American legal system. Unflappable in his propaganda Cortinaspread hate pamphlets against Texans:
"Flocks of vampires, in the guise of men,Gringos"
he wrote, robbed Mexicans
"of their property, incarcerated, chased,urdered, and hunted them like wild beasts"
. Continuing his pre-annexationpartisan warfare, Cortina managed a carefully constructed insurgency of intimidation, assassination, propaganda, agitation, legalism, and political massaction to eliminate Texan ranchers, store owners, and other Tejanos whocollaborated with the authorities. Eventually, Cortina's clandestine activitiesand he was finally indicted twice on charges of cattle theft. However, becauseof the threat of wide spread insurgency and his own large private army he wasnot arrested. With the self-appointed purpose of defending the rights of Mexicans and Tejanos Cortina gathered, trained and armed a private armyhich interfered with the law, evicted or killed Texan ranchers and farmers,and stopped the enforcement of common law rulings against dividing his andother caudillo's large properties. Through his superb political maneuveringand his hatred of Americans, he became a popular leader among the poorerlocal population, who viewed him as a hero against the
.With outright flouting of the law, the tension between Cortina and the