When the Aztlan took over the southern tip of California, the Latino population of the area was ecstatic. What they didn’t count on is that being a part of a semi-socialist society does not allow for nearly as much freedom as a decadent capitalist one does. Luckily, politics and conquest in the twenty first century is never a simple proposition.
During the last decade of the twentieth century and for most of the first fifty of the next, San Diego was the biomedical research territory. The University of California in San Diego (UCSD), Scripps institute, Salk laboratories, Mass Bio-Systems, and SAIC were all on the cutting edge of cybertechnology and bioengineering for the US military as well as the multinationals. When Aztlan moved into the neighborhood, they were faced with an interesting situation. On the one hand, they had a huge population to deal with and little or no available support. On the other, they had learned earlier in the century that nationalization of high tech resources did not produce good results. The lesson of Ensenada was still fresh in the minds of Aztlan beauracrats and nationalists alike. Though many of the hot heads in the area would have relished a tangle with their more ‘anglo’ oppressors, the Aztlan military was less than interested in the prospect and the upper echelons of Aztlan command weren’t comvinced it would accomplish anything desirable. Many of the larger biotechnical companies from both Japan and Europe had interests in San Diego. Lucrative interests that they were not at all happy about losing.
The solution was creative to say the least. The moment Aztlan military units moved north into Camp Pendleton, Aztlan negotiators were already meeting with local interests to insure a peaceful change of command. In what has to be one of the great economic skin jobs of all time, San Diego was rested from the hands of the CFS and turned into the California Free Trade Zone.
Using China’s strategic non-absorption of Hong Kong as a model, the Aztlan government created what was, in essence, a protectorate that existed outside the Aztlan economic and governmental system in order to preserve the lucrative trade connections that existed there. San Diego became a city-state with it’s own government and legal system under the protection of Aztlan.
Basically, Aztlan did it’s best to maintain the status quo. When the CFS cut off water from northern california, the life blood of San Diego, the Aztlan negotiated water rights from the UTE nation and updated the colorado aqueduct to allow for the greater demands placed on it. Tijuana blossomed under Aztlan rule, becoming in essence an extension of the prosperity that had once stayed north of the border. Baja’s agricultural community became the new garden of southern california, developing a character unique in this part of the world. In many ways, Aztlan succeeded in it’s goal. The CAFTZ did, indeed, become an economic spring from which it could skim immense benefits. The exchange was simple. To do it, Aztlan threw the old San Diego to the corps like a piece of meat.