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A quicky

19 February 2010

Let us now praise obscure men.

On 19 February 1913, at 10:34 AM, Pedro Lascuráin Paredes took the Oath of Office beginning his tenure as President of Mexico.  By 11 AM, he had named Victoriano Huerta his Secretaria de Gobernacion.  By 11:30 at the latest, Lascuráin’s  resignation was accepted.

There was a lot of nonsense during the Honduran coup about how it was “constitutional”.  Lascuráin’s grand Presidential reign was also “constitutional”, which is a different thing than legit.

U.S. Ambassador Wilson wanted to be able to pretend the whole plot to overthrow Madero was a perfectly normal political transition and not a U.S. engineered coup.  So, President Madero and Vice President Pino Suarez were “convinced” to resign at some point on the night of the 18th or the the morning of the 19th (just to make sure the Apostle of Democracy got the hint, Madero’s brother Gustavo was stomped to death after his one good eye was gouged out).  Lascuráin, the Foreign Minister was next in line for the Presidency (actually, the Secretaría de Gobernacion was, but he’d taken the hint when Madero and Pino Suarez were locked up and had already resigned, leaving the office vacant) so was sworn in, “constitutionally”, after which he named Victoriano Huerta his Secretaria de Gobernacion and … with no Vice President (which was still an office in those days)… you can guess the rest.  All very proper.

The  Lascuráin Administration  should be acknowledged for its rarity among Mexican governments in avoiding major financial irregularities in its budget.  And for its uncanny knack, never seen in governments anywhere at anytime for managing to not get  bogged down in bureaucratic infighting or cabinet disputes.

Lascuráin was something of a model ex-President, living rather moderately, neither soliciting funds for a presidential library or Lascuráin Center, nor letting his name and status as an ex-president become attached to dubious enterprises.   And, he never demanded a high advance for his presidential memoirs.  Instead, sharing the wisdom and insight only a former president can provide, he entered academia, teaching civil and commercial law.

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