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18 Febrero 1913

18 February 2010

Today is the anniversary of the “Embassy Pact” — when U.S. Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson met with Victorianao Huerta, to hammer out the details for a “regime change” that allowed the U.S. to claim the violent coup (and subsequent murder of President Madero and Vice President Pino Suarez) was a “constitutional process”.

Victoriano Huerta (with those shades, the very model of the modern Latin American dictator)…

… who was in charge of defending the governemt and the president, holded up in the National Palace. The rebels captured la Ciudadela — the Mexico City military headquarters — and bombarded the National Palace, mostly hitting civilians in betweens the two. Huerta was crude — a sadist and an alcoholic — but he was no fool. While civilian bodies were piling up in the streets, Huerta, Felix Díaz and Ambassador Wilson struck a bargain. They even signed a contract: Huerta would switch sides and become interim president…

(Gods, Gachupines and Gringos, © 2008)

Results were not quite as expected. The reason, given by Wilson at the time was that he wanted to prevent “more bloodshed” (and, also prevent a higher mineral extraction tax from going into effect, as well as labor reforms that would have forced landowners like William Randolf Hearst to spend more on workers). The result was another ten years of warfare in Mexico, massive immigration by Mexican farmworkers to the United States, the eventual expropriation of the oil industry and strict labor laws, as well as restrictions on the ownership of property by foreigners in Mexico.

Expats who want to whine about having to pay their maids a decent income, or complain about the restrictions on land ownership can spend the day cursing the U.S. State Department and Henry Lane Wilson.

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