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Home BIOGRAPHIES Revolution REVOLUTION / VICTORIANO HUERTA

REVOLUTION / VICTORIANO HUERTA

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VICTORIANO HUERTA (1845-1916)

 

B
orn in Colotlán, Jalisco, Victoriano Huerta enters the Military College and distinguishes himself in mathematics and astronomy. In 1910, he fights against Zapata’s followers in the state of Morelos. The following year, after Porfirio Díaz’ resignation, he escorts him to Veracruz.

 

VICTORIANO HUERTA (1845-1916)

 

               In 1912, when Pascual Orozco rebels, Victoriano Huerta is put in charge of the column that fights him. Huerta defeats Orozco and his followers and returns to Mexico City. Madero makes him military commander of Mexico City when the rebellion erupts on February 9, 1913. After a conference with United States Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson and other opponents of the revolutionary government, Huerta joins the rebels and betrays Madero, whom he arrests along with Vice President Pino Suárez. Huerta and Félix Díaz, supervised by Wilson, sign the Pact of the Embassy, which states that Huerta will assume power.

 

               Victoriano Huerta gets both the president and the vicepresident to resign and summons Congress. The Chamber of Deputies accepts Madero’s resignation and names Pedro Lascuráin as president, who in turn makes Huerta secretary of government. Immediately thereafter, Lascuráin resigns and Huerta is made president of Mexico in a legal maneuver carried out in less than an hour on the night of February 18, 1913.

 

               On the night of February 22, 1913, Madero and Pino Suárez are assassinated as they are moved from the palace to the penitentiary. With this crime, Huerta tries to avoid a revolt against him. Of greater concern, however, is the rebellion that erupts in the north; Sonora and Coahuila rebel, and Francisco Villa enters Chihuahua to spread the revolution throughout the entire northern part of the country. In October 1913, in the midst of the revolution, Huerta dissolves Congress. Huerta runs as a candidate for the presidency and he wins, but Villa’s forces achieve many resounding victories and most of the country is in upheaval.

 

               On April 9, 1914, seven American sailors disembark in Tampico from the warship Dolphin and are arrested by Huerta’s troops for having entered an off-limits area. Although the sailors are released almost immediately, Admiral Henry T. Mayo, the commanding officer, demands that the United States’ flag be given a 21-gun salute by the Mexican troops as amends for the arrest but General Morelos Zaragoza, in charge of defending Tampico, refuses. This incident is used as a pretext to invade Mexico, and on April 21, American marines disembark in the port of Veracruz. The federal troops abandon the site, but the students of the Naval School and some army troops defend the port against orders.

 

               The federal army defending Huerta’s government suffers its final defeat at the hands of Villa’s followers in Zacatecas. Huerta resigns on July 15 and flees the country. He goes to England and then to Barcelona, Spain, and finally leaves from Cádiz on March 31, 1915 for New York, where he is received by a group of Mexicans with political and military influence who are interested in returning him to power in Mexico.

 

               While in Spain, Huerta had made contact with agents of the German government who offer him weapons and funds. In the United States, he is in close contact with the military and naval attachés at the German Embassy in Washington, Franz von Rintelen and Franz von Papenm. The U.S. government—alarmed by these contacts and by his many discussions with other Mexican military men and politicians—put Huerta under strict surveillance. Finally, when he and Pascual Orozco get off the train in Newman, New Mexico, on June 26 on their way to El Paso, Texas, they are arrested and taken to El Paso. They are released on bail, but Huerta is jailed again, first in the county jail and then in the Fort Bliss military prison. He falls seriously ill with cirrhosis while in prison and is taken to his family, who are with him when he dies on January 13, 1916. Meanwhile, the American government has compiled a voluminous file on Huerta’s activities in the United States and summons him to appear in court before the Grand Jury late in the same month in which he dies.

 


 


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