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Rogues gallery

10 June 2018



James Knox Polk.. 1846-1848.

The less said, the better.

Rutherford B. Hayes.  1877-1880.

According to Ari Hoogenboom (Rutherford B. Hayes: Foreign Affairs, UVA Miller Center)

Three months after his inauguration, Hayes on June 1, 1877, ordered the Army to keep “lawless bands” from invading the United States, even if it had to cross into Mexico to punish these outlaws. Porfirio Diaz, who had assumed the Mexican presidency a month earlier (and would remain dictator until overthrown in 1911), protested and sent troops to the border to protect Mexico’s sovereignty. Despite some bombastic talk, Diaz agreed to pursue bandits jointly with American troops; however, Mexico did not restore order on the border until three years later. With the incursions stopped, Hayes, on February 24, 1880, revoked his 1877 order permitting the army to follow outlaws into Mexico.

What Professor Hoogenboom overlooks is that the “bandits” were mostly dissidents fighting a losing battle against the imposition of Díaz’ regime, and the “bombastic talk” was just that. Hayes withdrew the troops, mostly because resistence to Dias had ended.

Benjamin Harrison. 1891-92.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (yeah… that guy), in his biography of democratic revolutionary Catarino Garza Rodríguez recounts (pages 80-81, ff) the Harrison Administration’s attempts to capture the Mexican born Texas newspaper editor and radical mutualist, who had gained supporters on both sides of the Rio Grande, especially from small ranchers and businessmen, in his quixotic quest to overthrow Don Porfirio.  As happened when a later US military entered Mexico to capture the “bandit” Pancho Villa (with, like in 1892, tacit approval from the government), the gringos found the locals less than cooperative.  Catarino, incidentally, would eventually be forced into exile, for a time working as a police chief in Costa Rica, before he joined with other Latin exiles in a failed attempt (somewhat reminiscent of Ché Guevara’s in Bolivia about 75 years later) to bring THE revolution to one country, in the hope it would spread to the rest of Latin America.  Like Ché, he was shot.

Woodrow Wilson (1914, 1916).

Gee, we just didn’t “get it” when he said he’d teach us to elect good men.


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