Fight against Huerta's usurpation
In the second part of the Mexican Revolution, President Francisco I. Madero was betrayed and assassinated. After crushing the Orozco rebellion, Victoriano Huerta, with the federal army he commanded, held the majority of military power in Mexico. Huerta saw an opportunity to make himself the dictator of Mexico, and he began to conspire with men such asBernardo Reyes, Félix Díaz (nephew of Porfirio Díaz), and the American ambassador Henry Lane Wilson, which resulted in La decena trágica (the "Ten Tragic Days") and the assassination of President Madero.
After Madero's murder, Huerta proclaimed himself provisional president. Venustiano Carranza then proclaimed the Plan of Guadalupe to oust Huerta as an unconstitutional usurper. The politicians andgenerals (who included Pablo González, Álvaro Obregón, Emiliano Zapata and Villa) who supported Carranza's plan were collectively styled the Ejército Constitucionalista de México (Constitutionalist Army of Mexico), the constitucionalista adjective was added to stress the point that Huerta had not obtained power through methods prescribed by Mexico's Constitution of 1857.
Villa's hatred of Huertabecame more personal and intense after 7 March 1913, when Huerta ordered the murder of Villa's political mentor, Abraham González, who had worked with Madero and Villa since 1910. González had been one of Madero's political advisors. He recruited Francisco Villa in 1910 to support Madero with the Plan de San Luis which started the first part of the Mexican Revolution with the armed movement of 20November 1910. The Plan de San Luis was conceived to force Dictator Porfirio Diaz (Mexican president for 33 years) to leave the presidency and allow for a Mexican democracy. Villa later recovered González's remains and gave his friend a proper funeral in Chihuahua.
Villa joined the rebellion against Huerta, entering the valley of the Río Bravo del Norte (Rio Grande) into Ciudad Juárez initiallywith a mere 8 men, 2 pounds of coffee, 2 pounds of sugar, and 500 rounds of rifle ammunition. The new United States president, Woodrow Wilson, dismissed Ambassador Wilson, and began to support Carranza's cause. Villa's remarkable generalship and recruiting appeal, combined with ingenious fundraising methods to support his rebellion, were a key factor in forcing Huerta from office a little over ayear later, on 15 July 1914.
Pancho Villa (left) "commander of the División del Norte (Division of the North)," and Emiliano Zapata "Ejército Libertador del Sur (Liberation Army of the South).". Villa is sitting in the presidential throne in the Palacio Nacional
This was the time of Villa's greatest fame and success. He recruited soldiers and able subordinates (both Mexican and mercenary) such asFelipe Ángeles, Manuel Chao, Sam Dreben and Ivor Thord-Gray, and raised money using methods such as forced assessments on hostile hacienda owners, and train robberies. In one notable escapade, he held 122 bars of silver ingot from a train robbery (and a Wells Fargo employee) hostage and forced Wells Fargo to help him sell the bars for cash. A rapid, hard-fought series of victories at CiudadJuárez, Tierra Blanca, Chihuahua and Ojinaga followed. Villa then became provisional governor of the state of Chihuahua. According to some of the references, Villa considered Tierra Blanca his most spectacular victory. Villa's war tactics were studied by the American Army and a contract with Hollywood was made. Hollywood would be allowed to film Villa's movements and 50% of the profit would bepaid to Villa to support the Revolution.
As governor of Chihuahua, Villa raised more money for a drive to the south by printing his own currency. He decreed his paper money to be traded and accepted at par with gold Mexican pesos, then forced the wealthy to give forced loans that would allow to pay salaries to the army as well as food and clothes. He also took some of the land owned by the...
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