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From Madero to Maduro in Latin America

Photograph Source: Government of Venezuela – CC BY 3.0

A little more than 100 years ago, Mexico had a very popular president who was well-loved and had been democratically-elected, named Francisco Madero.

Determined to reduce foreign influence and the obscene profits that were extracted from the country, Madero wanted to raise the standard of living of his people.

The financial interests of Wall Street rejected such projects by the president of a country that was within its hegemonic sphere. It then orchestrated a military coup against him and made sure that he was brutally murdered.

Journalist and researcher Martin Sieff — in the January 21 edition Strategic Culture Foundation (Fundación de Cultura Estratégica)website– starting from the orthographic similarity of the surnames Madero and Maduro, clarifies that the president of Mexico to whom he refers is not in any way related to the Bolivarian and Chavista leader Nicolás Maduro, President of Venezuela, but the parallels and contrasts between the two men motivate consideration.

Francisco Madero, the idealistic reformist leader who ruled Mexico as President from 1911 to 1913, did not have the political acumen and common sense shown by the Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro.

Madero naively relied on the commander in chief of the army, General Victoriano Huerta, whom he had inherited from his predecessor, President Porfirio Diaz,. Throughout the 35 years of Diaz’s government, from 1876 to 1911, Huerta had carried out a series of genocidal campaigns against the Yaqui and Mayan natives.

In 1913, Wall Street interests enthusiastically supported Huerta when he carried out a coup against Francisco Madero. The US president at the time, Woodrow Wilson, was a recalcitrant racist who despised the Mexican people, initially supported Huerta’s coup from the start.

The huge financial and mining interests of New York were anxious to continue plundering Mexico’s resources. Those were times when more than 90% of its population lived in virtual slavery in the frightful poverty that Diaz had represented and defended.

In the last decade of Porfirio Diaz’s government  –supported by the financial bandits of Wall Street and by the complacent administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft– at least 600,000 people were worked to the death as rural slaves in the properties of Diaz’s supporters.

In Washington, there was not a whisper of disapproval toward Huerta’s coup d’état, who ruled with his usual thuggish brutality for less than a year and a half until he was expelled after a brief but bloody civil war.

Huerta fled to the United States, of course, but then made the mistake of encouraging American business and military leaders alike to openly embrace imperial Germany in order to plan his militaristic return to Mexico.

Huerta died in U.S. military custody in 1916 after a night of binge drinking. Poisoning by his American captors was widely suspected, but the cause could have been simply excessive intake of alcohol. His autopsy revealed terminal liver cirrhosis.

To this day, Huerta is vilified as the mass murderer and cowardly tool of the cynical foreign interests he was, while the well-intentioned, but the ineffective Madero is loved by the Mexican people.

The days elapsed since the beginning of Huerta’s coup and the execution of the president –along with his own brother and vice-president– by an improvised firing squad are remembered as The Tragic Ten Days.

In the following years, Mexico endured all the horrors of a collapsed State with rival gangs slaughtering each other and whoever stood in their way.

The country’s population plummeted from 15 million, in 1910, to 11.6 million a decade later. More than 25 % of the country’s population died in the years of anarchic violence brought about after the murder of President Madero by the hated Huerta.

The tragic decade continues to resonate in Mexico to this day when the current president Andrés Manuel López  Obrador resists enormous pressure from the Trump administration to force Mexico into recognizing their puppet, Juan Guaido, as president of Venezuela.

At the same time, Lopez  Obrador reveres the martyred president Madero, and painfully remembers  the bloodbaths and chaos that the hated Huerta unleashed after toppling him.

Madero naively trusted the honor of the man who had been his army commander, the murderer Huerta. On the contrary, Nicolas Maduro as President of Venezuela, just like his predecessor and political mentor Hugo Chavez, has always made sure of having a high command of the army loyal to the democratically-elected national civilian leaders.

A CubaNews translation by Walter Lippmann.

 

More articles by:

Manuel E. Yepe is a lawyer, economist and journalist. He is a professor at the Higher Institute of International Relations in Havana.

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