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Not exactly a gulag

9 February 2023

I have never denied that the Cristero Revolt of 1928-29 was avoidable, when that counter-revolution did take hold, the state had no choice but to ruthlessly supress it. There were atrocities on both sides, but it has to be noted that Cristeros were not as harshly punished as was the standard for rebels and dissidents in the early 20th century. If anything, offenders were often treated as well as, or better, than your average decent criminal.

In April 1929, 60 Cristero women from the country’s capital and Jalisco were deported to the Islas Marias (prison colony), accused of rebellion and of providing food and weapons to the Cristeros.

General Múgica informed President Portes Gil: “I am honored to communicate to you that the female element has been installed taking advantage of some private residences, material for the camp has not yet having arrived.” Days later, he reported again that “the main group of ladies is in charge of preparing food for themselves and for a group of co-religionists,” while other groups found jobs in offices, as nurses, or domestics, with some supporting themselves making handicrafts and embroidering.

“To make you laugh a little, I’ll tell you that they are already divided among themselves and have begun demanding special treatment, even asking for sun parasols. I’ve given them straw combreros, the most they can hope for with their pretentions.

Women convicts, Islas Marias, 1940
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