Front Cover
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Author's note
 Table of Contents
 Half Title
 The cause of the revolution
 The sad story of Flor de Te
 "Citizen" Obregon
 The real author of Carranza's...
 Carranza's official family
 Condition of the country
 The generals
 The Mexican army
 Mexico's ominous silence
 Mexico and the United States

Title: Mexico in revolution
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00075966/00001
 Material Information
Title: Mexico in revolution
Physical Description: vii, 245 p. : ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Blasco Ibâaänez, Vicente, 1867-1928
Livingston, Arthur, 1883-
Padin, Josâe, 1886-
Publisher: E.P. Dutton
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: c1920
Subject: History -- Mexico -- Revolution, 1910-1920   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Mexico
Statement of Responsibility: by V. Blasco Ibaänez; tr. by Arthur Livingston and Josâe Padin.
General Note: "The various articles in this volume were written, on my return from Mexico, for the New York times, the Chicago tribune and other important newspapers in the United States."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00075966
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 00529603
lccn - 20012284

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Author's note
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
    Half Title
        Page ix
        Page x
    The cause of the revolution
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    The sad story of Flor de Te
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    "Citizen" Obregon
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
    The real author of Carranza's downfall
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
    Carranza's official family
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
    Condition of the country
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
    The generals
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
    The Mexican army
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
    Mexico's ominous silence
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
    Mexico and the United States
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
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        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
Full Text

L. F.i






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All Rights Reserved

{: 7t ~ LATIN

First printing ........June, 190
Second printing ...... June, 1920

Printed In the United States of America

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The various articles in this volume were
written, on my return from Mexico, for the New
'York Times, the Chicago Tribune and other im-
portant newspapers in the United States.
When I began my articles, the revolution
which finally overthrew Carranza had not yet
triumphed and "the old man" was still alive.
Events moved rapidly while the articles were
coming out. Carranza was assassinated and
Obregon, with the militarist party, came into
Works of the moment, these articles record
my various impressions of the days during
which they were written. They do not, in con-
sequence, show the unity and homogeneity of
a book written after the fact on events already
complete in themselves and easily appreciable
to the person observing them in perspective
and as a whole.
I might, of course, have remodeled these
articles and reduced them to chapter form. I


might have suppressed some paragraphs to
avoid repetitions and added others to fill in
the completed picture. I finally decided to
leave them exactly as they appeared in the
press, with all their spontaneity as works of
the moment.
They do not contain all that I have to say on
the Mexico of the present. They are simple
impressions, hastily and incompletely jotted
down as circumstances warranted or required.
I regard them as the first shots on the skirmish
line, before my real battle, with all my heavy
guns in action, begins.
The final results of my observation and study
on contemporary Mexico I shall give, with
greater amplitude and more attentive art, in
my forthcoming novel called "The Eagle and
the Snake."

New York, June 20, 1920.


DOWNFALL . .. 74




I AM just back from Mexico, where I spent a
month and a half. In this brief period of
time I made the acquaintance of a Government
that looked strong and seemed destined to reach
the end of its constitutional days peacefully; I
witnessed the outbreak of a revolution that in its
early stages led a languid life; I saw the de-
oisive triumph of this revolution, brought about
by the unexpected assistance of political ele-
ments that had seemed out of sympathy with it;
and I observed, finally, the flight of President
Carranza, the present uncertainty concerning
his fate, and the still greater uncertainty re-
garding the probable future of the new Gov-
ernment in process of formation.
After all, there is nothing extraordinary in
this vertiginous movement of events. Of all
things Mexican, revolutions move with the
greatest velocity.


I went to Mexico to gather material for a
novel that I intend to entitle "The Eagle and
the Snake." Among my notes there is a statis-
tical table showing the number of governments
that Mexico has had since it secured its inde-
pendence. In less than a hundred years-be-
ginning with 1821-the Republic of Mexico has
been served by seventy-two different govern-
ments. Now, with the fall of the Carranza r6-
gime, the record stands at seventy-three, with
time to spare before the century closes. Leav-
ing aside the thirty years of Porfirio Diaz's
rule we find that the average life of each gov-
ernment has been approximately one year.
In this series of articles I am going to tell
what I saw and what I heard in Mexico. I am
going to give the American public, in advance,
a small portion of the observations I made for
"The Eagle and the Snake." These will be
simply the impressions of a novelist, of an im-
partial observer. I had ample opportunity to
talk to Carranza, as well as to his bitterest ene-
mies, and I was able to get their conflicting
views. I am grateful to both sides for many
courtesies received, but I hold no brief for
either party. If there is any group that has

won my sympathy it is the Mexican people,
the eternal victim of a tragi-comedy that never
ends, the poor slave whom all pretend to re-
deem and whose lot has remained unchanged
for centuries, the everlasting dupe whom the
redeemers shower with fine phrases, never
telling him the truth because the truth is fre-
quently cruel.

Carranza's Craft Inspired Distrust
I had several fairly intimate talks with Presi-
dent Carranza and I am in a position to state
what the underlying motive of his policy was
in the last days of his regime. I am fully aware
of the fact that Carranza is not one of those
men who can be easily probed. Accustomed to
the politics of a country where dissimulation
is one of the best practical virtues, it is no easy
task to sound him. Suffice it to say that when
Don Venustiano receives a visitor, the first
thing he does, by instinct, is to back his chair
against the nearest window. By this simple
maneuver he places himself in a semi-darkness
so that his body becomes a silhouette from
which the face stands out like a faint white
spot. In this posture he cannot be observed


closely, while he, on the other hand, can scruti-
nize at pleasure the face of his visitor which
remains exposed to the full flood of light
streaming through the window. When some-
thing arrests his attention, Carranza has a way
of peering over the rim of his light blue spec-
tacles. It was this very trick which made the
rustic Pancho Villa suspicious of Carranza and
led the former to exclaim on one occasion:
"There's nothing the matter with Carranza's
eyes. He has very good sight and doesn't need
spectacles. He wears them to shade his eyes
and hide his thoughts better."
But the reader must not infer from this that
Carranza is a sort of shrewd tyrant of awe-
some aspect. Don Venustiano is an old coun-
try gentleman, a ranchman, with all the cun-
ning of rural landowners and all the shrewd-
ness of county politicians, but he is simpatico
and has a noble bearing. Despite his apparent
reserve, at times he waxes loquacious, "feels
like a student"-as he puts it-and then he
talks freely; he even laughs.


His Hostility to Militarism
Carranza's fall was due to his stubborn at-
tempt to pursue an anti-military policy.
This old chieftain of the revolutionary arm-
ies, who, though born in the country, is more
warlike than many of his Generals bred in the
cities, would never permit any one to give him
the title of General. Knowing, undoubtedly,
that the chief trouble with Mexico is the incur-
able eruption of Generals with which the re-
public is afflicted, he did not care to add an-
other boil to the diseased body of the nation
by assuming the title of General.
His followers always referred to him as the
"First Chief"; they never called him General.
During his campaigns Carranza wore the uni-
form of a buck private.
Now, on the eve of his retirement from office,
he took part more or less directly in the Presi-
dential campaign and he used his influence to
bring about the election of a civilian.
"The trouble with Mexico," he told me in an
interview, "has always been, and still is, mili-
tarism. Few of our Presidents have been men
drawn from civil life; always Generals. And


what Generals! No, this thing has got to
stop for the good of Mexico. My successor
ought to be a civilian, a man of modern views
and progressive ideas, capable of preserving
domestic peace and directing the economic de-
velopment of the nation. It is time that my
country should begin to live the healthy, normal
life which other nations enjoy."
The ideal cherished by Carranza could not
be more praiseworthy, but at the same time
nothing could be more absurd and dangerous
than the means employed by him to carry out
his plan. Therefore, while I applaud his views
on militarism, I applaud also his downfall.

For President, the Unknown Bonillas
To invest the Presidency of the republic with
the civil character that befits it, it would have
been necessary to choose a candidate of emi-
nent qualities, a man with a long record of dis-
tinguished public service, a man of unques-
tioned popularity. And what did Carranza do?
He did precisely the very opposite thing. He
selected one of the most obscure of Mexicans.
He hit upon Sefior Bonillas, his Ambassador
at Washington, a man who has spent most of

his life away from his native land and who
even married abroad.
There is another important factor in the situ-
ation: the character of the Carranza govern-
ment in the closing days of its regime.
I am well aware of the fact that when a revo-
lutionary party triumphs in a country like
Mexico dissensions are bound to occur in its
ranks eventually; these dissensions are inevit-
able. The "deserving patriots" are legion!
They all want their reward, and the country
does not have enough wealth to go around and
satisfy every appetite. The lucrative offices
are few in number and there are dozens of can-
didates who consider themselves competent to
fill them.
There is, moreover, a situation peculiar to
Mexico. In every country one can find the
disinterested revolutionary type, the ascetic
agitator who expects to get from revolu-
tion only the ideal satisfaction of victory. Of
course, in every revolutionary movement there
are shameless self-seekers, but together with
these there are noble and disinterested vision-
aries who sacrifice themselves for the common
good and who, after the triumph of their doc-

trines, continue to live like real saints, feed-
ing on the bread and water of their enthusiasm.
Among the Mexicans who occupied the high-
est public offices after the revolution I searched
in vain for the Don Quixote, for the type that
appeared in the French and Russian revolu-
tions, the disinterested patriot who thinks only
of the common weal without regard to his own
advantage. I failed to find him. Those I met
are men of hard practical sense who never lose
sight of personal profit.

Revolutionaries Usually Rich
I was surprised to see the large number of
rich revolutionaries in Mexico. There may be
some poor revolutionaries in Mexico-I hope
there are some, for in my own country I was
once a poor revolutionary-but if there are any
such in Mexico their number is so scarce that
they can be counted on the fingers of one hand,
with some fingers to spare.
The majority of those revolutionaries are
undoubtedly the sons of millionaires. They
claim that before the revolution they were sim-
ple peons, ambulant vendors, subordinate em-
ployees, or mere vagabonds. Such claims must

be forced attempts on their part to hide their
influential origin and so to flatter the popular
masses, If what they say were true, their
present wealth could be explained only by some
unexpected inheritance recently received from
relatives who had heretofore ignored them.
Otherwise it would be utterly impossible to un-
derstand how men who six or seven years ago
were ambulant milk dealers, vendors of dry
vegetables or Mexican hats, hungry rural school
teachers or mail carriers, can honestly have ac-
quired fortunes estimated at several millions of
dollars, especially since these men have wasted
considerable time in revolution. It is equally
difficult to explain how so many wives of Gen-
erals and Colonels who half a dozen years ago
were poor women of the peon class, how so
many lady friends of Generals and Colonels,
are now able to display expensive jewelry which
remind people of the gems bought years ago
by the leading Mexican families now in exile.
But let us not insist on these details. Suffice
it to say that the prominent leaders of the Mex-
ican revolution made the revolution for a fixed
purpose. They do not understand sacrifice for
the common good. Carranza had to consoli-

date his new Government. After the first few
years he was forced to limit the number of his
favorites; whereupon those who were left out-
side of the golden shower of his favors became
the bitter enemies of the First Chief.
When I observed closely the inner circle of
intimate friends who gathered around Carranza
in his Presidential palace I was struck by their
youth. The respectable Don Venustiano, with
his white beard and light blue spectacles, looked
like the head master of a boarding school for
boys. Generals of 27 and grave Ministers of
29 or 30 followed with veneration and gratitude
the old First Chief.

The Young Adonis Who Ruled
In reality, one of these youths was the real
ruler of the Mexican Republic during the last
few years, the real power behind the throne,
Juan Barragan, a General 27 years old, the
chief of Carranza's staff.
Those who had a petition to make would im-
mediately think, "I shall have to see Juanito
Barragan about this."
On account of his youth and amiable charac-
ter everybody spoke of Barragan as Juanito

("Johnny") Barragan. A simple law student
and the son of a well-to-do family, he followed
Don Venustiano when the latter rose against
Huerta. President Carranza always showed a
certain weakness for this youth, who accom-
panied him everywhere as a beautiful and deco-
rative adjunct to the Presidential entourage.
"The Handsomest Man in the World"
It has been stated recently that Barragan
was executed by the revolutionaries of Mexico
after Carranza's flight. I hope the rumor is
not true. Why kill him? He was the Apollo.
of the revolution. Tall, handsome, arrogant
despite his childlike features, the girls of Mex-
ico consider him the best looking man in the re-
public-in fact, in the entire world. He was
almost a national glory and received honors ac-
cordingly. With the bright blue of his uniform
and his gold braid he was a dazzling sight. He
seemed to have just stepped out of a toy box,
freshly varnished. He bought himself a new
uniform every week. Twenty-seven years of
age, fine health, an amiable character-and
master of Mexico!
His enemies said that he owned a whole row

of houses in the principal avenue of Mexico
City. Impossible!. He could not have had any
money left for such investments after throwing
it away by the handful as he did. During the
last few years it has been a fine business for
singers and actresses to go to Mexico I Thanks
to the amiable Chief of Staff, an actress could
visit Mexico and return to her native land with
savings amounting to one or two hundred thou-
sand dollars.
Barragan's power extended even to the uni-
versity. During my visit to Mexico the Gov-
ernment assigned me to that institution, which
was invited to entertain me and direct my ex-
cursions over the country. This courtesy did
not surprise me. "It is because I am a writer,"
I thought. But shortly before I left Mexico,
through the indiscretion of a functionary, I dis-
covered that a certain famous foreign dancer
had also been consigned to the university dur-
ing her journey in Mexico a year before. Was
I offended? Of course not! It was the doing
of the amiable Barragan. He received all pe-
titioners with a bountiful generosity, as though
he would die rather than fail to serve them. He
never said no to any one. He was capable of

surrendering Don Venustiano's head if he was
asked for it with real insistence. And Car-
ranza, plain in dress, grave in appearance, a
man of strict morals and clean life, when he
observed the elegant uniform and the gold braid
of his Chief of Staff, seemed to rejoice as
though he were contemplating his own image
in a looking-glass. On other occasions, when
the President would hear of Barragan's suc-
cesses with the ladies, he would smile with the
delight of a kindly grandfather.

"Johnny" Briefly Defends Republic
I left Mexico City without bidding adieu to
the Apollo of the revolution. His Excellency,
General Don Juan Barragan, was spending
whole days with the telephone receiver at his
ear, giving orders, with his eyes fixed on the
map of Mexico. The followers of Obregon had
already taken the field, and "the handsomest
Mexican," as the marriageable sefioritas and
visiting actresses say, had just assumed the
duties of a strategist and was busy directing
the movements of the Federal troops.
Poor and amiable boy! I can see now why
the Carranza regime collapsed so readily.


Bonillas, Carranza's Unfortunate Choice
The real and immediate cause of Carranza's
downfall was his obstinate attempt to impose
upon the country the Presidential candidacy of
Bonillas. If it had not occurred to him to in-
sist on this solution and had he allowed the
Presidential campaign to follow its natural
course, letting Generals Obregon and Pablo
Gonzalez fight it out, he might have completed
his Presidential term in peace. And he would
probably be revered as an idol to-day by his old
The reader will probably ask why Carranza
hit upon a candidacy so unpopular as that of
Seiior Bonillas. To answer this I can offer
only conjectures, or rather I must repeat what
I heard in Mexico.
As the majority of Mexicans are firmly con-
vinced that Carranza is a tricky politician, be-
cause of his reserve and deep-laid machinations,
they give the following explanation of his con-
duct in the Bonillas affair:
Bonillas was to be a mere tool in the hands of
Don Venustiano. He had selected him for his
very insignificance-because he did not belong

to any party and because he was wholly un-
known in the country. Bonillas would thus owe
his position entirely to his protector and would
not be likely to darse la vuelta contra el-
in the language of the country, or as the Eng-
lish say, to bite the hand that fed him.
This business of darse la vuelta is a Mexican
game which must be taken into account, for the
country is a famous hotbed of political treason
and there is always fear that the friend of to-
day may become the enemy of to-morrow. If
you help some one to get along in the world
in Mexico you are almost sure soon to receive
a kick from him. He will boot you to show his
self-respect and independence.
With the unknown Sefior Bonillas there was
no occasion to fear such a kick. A creature of
Carranza, he would remain faithful to his chief
and he would continue to surround himself with
a circle of friends selected by his protector to
be his advisers and guardians.
Shortsighted critics did not attribute this
purpose to Carranza. They thought that the
candidacy of Bonillas was a stratagem invented
for the occasion.
"We know the viejo barbon," they said, al-

lauding to Carranza's white beard. "He has
launched the candidacy of Bonillas for the mere
purpose of irritating Obregon. Obregon will
rise against the Government and a long war
will follow. Carranza will then declare that it
is impossible to hold elections and will continue
in the Presidency indefinitely."

Carranza as a Second Diaz
Others, more farsighted, came nearer to the
truth, in my judgment, when they discussed the
"Carranza," they said, "really wishes to be
succeeded in the Presidency by Bonillas. Un-
der the direction of Carranza and with a legis-
lature composed of Carranza deputies, Car-
ranza will see to it that the Constitution is re-
vised, eliminating the article which forbids the
reelection of the President. After the article
is eliminated Don Venustiano will become Pres-
ident again and he will get himself reflected in-
The method is not new. Porfirio Diaz did
that very thing. He began his political career
by rising against the reflection of Presidents,
and after he became the Chief Magistrate of

the republic he yielded the place for a brief
period to one of his own henchmen, had his own
Constitution amended, and thus opened the way
for his thirty-year rule.
I believe that Carranza really wanted Bo-
nillas to succeed him, but I cannot refrain from
judging that in this Don Venustiano rendered
his prot4g4 a very poor service.
Of all the personages who figure in this last
Mexican revolution Bonillas is the man who in-
spires my deepest sympathy on account of his
misfortune. His r6le has been that of certain
good though simple-minded characters of the
comedy who inevitably pay for the faults of
others, and who, despite their reluctance to get
mixed up in quarrels, receive all the blows.
Why did they not leave him alone? He was
living so peacefully in Washington as the diplo-
matic representative of Mexico! His post
seemed destined to become perpetual. If Ob-
regon were to succeed Carranza the General
would surely keep Bonillas as American Am-
bassador, because they are both from Sonora
and have been friends since their childhood.
No matter who might be elected President,
Bonillas would be kept in his post, respected as

a good man who serves his country the best he
knows how, and who, residing abroad, could
hold completely aloof from all domestic politi-
cal quarrels.
But, alas! Don Venustiano conceived the un-
happy idea of selecting Bonillas as his succes-
sor and of stirring the Ambassador's ambition,
dragging him away from the sweet environment
of his family and the noble tranquillity of

Viva Bonillas, the "Tea Flower"!
Ten months ago the Mexicans were unaware
of the existence of Bonillas. A few knew that
a gentleman by that name lived in the capital
of the United States, and they even suspected
that he had done great things for Mexico, al-
though they were not quite sure what those
things were.
And, lo! all of a sudden the Government
launches the name of this man-a name that
arouses no echo in public opinion-as if Bonil-
las were a providential personage, destined to
save the country.
The people of Mexico City have a keen sense
of humor and show a veritable genius for in-

venting nicknames. Moreover, the Spanish
zarzuela companies, the experts in light and
comic opera, play a great deal in the theaters
of the Mexican capital, so that the public of
that city has acquired the same keenness for
repartee which characterizes the people of the
popular quarters of Madrid.
Among the songs written for the zarzuela
theaters of Madrid there is one which has be-
come extremely popular and is sung in all the
theaters and music halls of the Spanish-Ameri-
can countries. The song tells the story of a
poor shepherd girl who has been abandoned and
wanders over the face of the earth, not know-
ing where she was born nor who her parents
were. She knows nothing about herself except
her nickname, which is Flor de Te, or "Tea
The malicious people of Mexico City imme-
diately rechristened the Carranza candidate
who had come from foreign parts, the candidate
who came nobody knew whence and who was
going no one knew whither.
Viva Bonillas! Viva Flor de Te! Hurray
for Bonillas! Hurray for "Tea Flower"!
And from that moment everybody lost re-

spect for Don Venustiano's whiskers and for
the terrifying face he puts on when he is in bad
In the next article I shall relate the tragi-
comic incidents through which was born, grew
and died the candidacy of "Flor de Te"-the
immediate cause of the revolution.


B ONILLAS, the candidate picked by Car-
ranza to succeed him in the Presidency of
the Republic, is a man who has spent the great-
er part of his life away from Mexico. Early
in his youth he left his native country and wan-
dered into several of the American Southern
States, trying his hand at various jobs in an
effort to make an honest living and managing
to eke out the precarious existence of a worker
who is frequently forced to change both resi-
dence and occupation. Later, when he was no
longer in his teens, he studied engineering in
the Boston Institute of Technology. ( i.'I T '
When Carranza rose against Huerta, Bonil-
las returned to Mexico and took part in the
revolution. His record as a fighting man, how-
ever, was not brilliant. He even failed to be-
come a General. He merely served as an engi-
neer, marching in the rear of the revolution-
ary army with the obscure civilians who looked

after the administrative affairs of the new re-
After the triumph of the revolution, Car-
ranza, who needed to send to Washington a
loyal representative willing to obey instruc-
tions explicitly, selected Bonillas. The ap-
pointee knew English better than his native
tongue and he had been educated in the States
-qualifications, these, which gave him a deci-
sive advantage over all the other aspirants to
the post of Ambassador to the United States.
And he remained in this position throughout
the entire administration of Carranza, until the
latter conceived the notion of naming Bonillas
his heir to the Presidential chair.

Laughing Down the Candidate
I have told, in a preceding article, how the
people of Mexico City, surprised at the candi-
dacy of the unknown Bonillas, gave him the
nickname of "Flor de Te" (Tea Flower). At
first they called him Bonillas "Tea Flower, '
because no one knew who he was. Later on his
enemies claimed they knew his past in its mi-
nute details, and poor Sefior Bonillas became

something worse than the little shepherd girl of
the Spanish song.
A campaign of truth and falsehood was
launched by the enemies of his candidacy, with
the vociferous approval of all those who were
willing to jeer at anything to irritate Carranza.
According to them, Bonillas's name was not
Bonillas at all. He was not even a Mexican.
His real name was Stanford, and he had
been born in the United States. Bonillas was
the name of his mother, whose blood was the
only Mexican blood that ran in the candidate's
veins. And the sympathizers of Bonillas
(friends of Carranza, public employees and sol-
diers) would publish the genealogy of the Bo-
nillas family, beginning with the founder of the
line-a carpenter who came from Spain when
Mexico was still a Spanish colony.
According to his opponents, the Presidential
candidate could not speak Spanish. Every
morning the opposition press published stories
about Bonillas in which he was featured as talk-
ing Spanish and so altering the construction
and meaning of his words as to say the most
shocking things.


A Gallo for the Visitor
I myself served indirectly as a pretext for
this slanderous propaganda. When a popular
foreigner arrives in Mexico the university stu-
dents generally treat him with a gallo. A
gallo is a night procession, with torchlights,
something between a serenade and a masquer-
ade. It marches past the balcony of the house
where the honored guest is lodged; and the stu-
dents, mounted on horseback or riding in auto-
mobiles decked with flowers and flags, or on
trucks artistically converted into allegorical
chariots, sing, shout and make laudatory or
burlesque speeches to the guest of honor; and
.the public, invited by the college boys, joins
the parade, with more carriages and bands of
I was treated to several gallos. The one
given me in Mexico City was enormous, more
than 15,000 persons taking part in it. The
noisy nocturnal procession, including some
long stops took two hours to march past the
Hotel Regis, where I was stopping, occupying
a room next to that of Bonillas. The candidate
for the Presidency was not to be found in the

hotel at that time. He had decided to avoid a
face-to-face meeting with that youthful and dis-
respectful crowd, which at sight of him would
be sure to make some insulting remarks.
First came Don Quixote and his squire,
Sancho Panza; next the Four Horsemen of the
Apocalypse; and finally a large number of girls,
dressed to represent the various Spanish pro.
vincial types. But no one gave a thought to
"Flor de Te." Of course, we were in Mexico
City, and Don Venustiano was near at hand.
The horses of the mounted police kept prancing
between the carriages in the parade.

Another with a Political Turn
A few days later the students of, the Univer-
sity of Puebla gave me another gallo. Car-
ranza was not at hand there. Among the groups
of masks on horseback and the carriages with
allegories of Spain and the Spanish-American
republics there was a simple little coach, drawn
by one horse and without any decoration what-
ever. Nevertheless, it was the chief attraction
of the parade. It was occupied by a young
student attired in an extravagantly checkered
suit, the traditional costume used in all the the-

.. .. .. .' .. ...

.... ....


aters of Spanish-speaking countries to repre-
sent the conventional Englishman. The mask
that covered his face made the crowd hilarious.
"Flor de Te! Hurrah for Flor de Te!"
shouted the people, crowding around the coach.
And when the procession filed past the bal-
conies of my hotel the youth stood up, and with
great solemnity began to greet me in a nasal
tone and with the halting speech of one who is
not master of the language he is trying to use.
"Meester Bonillas," said the mask, "greets
Meester Ibanez, whose works he has read trans-
lated into English. Within a few months, per-
haps, Meester Bonillas will be able to read them
in the original, because he is now studying the
language -f the country."

Made Mme. Bonillas a Lutheran
This is not true. I chatted with Senor Bo-
nillas on more than one occasion while we were
guests together in the same hotel, and I found
that he is essentially similar to all his compatri-
ots and can speak Spanish like the rest of them.
But, of course, he could not prevent the ex-
travagant fabrications of his political adver-
saries. Every day they unearthed a new "se-
*. ... .: .

'.. ... :..... ".:4'.

cret" from the past of the candidate supported
by Carranza.
"Bonillas has been an American citizen for
many years," they would spring one day. "Bo-
nillas, during his adventurous career in the
States bordering on the Mexican frontier, was
even the Sheriff of a small town."
The candidate's family did not escape this
hostile scrutiny. It was announced one day
that Sefior Bonillas had married a distin-
guished lady of English nationality and be-
longing to the Lutheran Church. Her daugh-
ters professed the same faith and were not
Catholics! Horrors!
We must bear in mind that the bitterest
enemies of Bonillas are men without any re-
ligious faith whatsoever. Some even distin-
guished themselves during the revolution by
unnecessary acts of cruelty against Catholic
priests. One of Obregon's Generals, perhaps
his most intimate friend, in the first days after
the triumph of the revolution, made a number
of priests and friars, whom he considered ene-
mies of the new regime, sweep the streets of the
capital. Moreover, he filled several cattle cars
with priests and sent them from Mexico City to


Vera Cruz, making them go without food dur-
ing the five days that the trip lasted. Despite
this, the loudest protests against the religious
faith of the Bonillas family came from some of
these enemies who fear neither God nor devil.
"What an insult to Mexican women, who
are all Catholics," they said. "To think of a
Protestant being the first lady of the land!"

Propaganda for Bonillas
The reader must not infer from the foregoing
that the candidate supported by Carranza and
his numerous friends did nothing to counteract
this hostile propaganda.
In reality, Bonillas himself could not do very
much. He adapted his personal conduct to the
trend of events and followed the suggestions
of his protector. But the Bonillas Campaign
Committee, composed of Carranza Generals,
Senators and Deputies loyal to the cause,
worked with an energy never equaled in Mex-
I must confess that I have rarely seen a pub-
licity campaign more enormous and better or-
ganized than that which advertised the name of
Bonillas over the whole republic.

When I reached Mexico, a few days later than
the Carranza candidate, I could not hide my
surprise as I crossed the international bridge
and entered the frontier town of Nuevo Laredo.
Low, adobe houses! Groups of men with enor-
mous hats, as broad as umbrellas, sunning
themselves with imperturbable gravity! Streets
with deep holes, over which my automobile
bounced, groaning with iron anguish! And on
this gray and monotonous background, which
has remained unaltered for fifty years, a great
variety of paper signs, of all colors and sizes,
posted on the doors, on the mud walls, and
even on the ox carts standing in the plazas.
Everywhere the portrait of a man, Bonillas,
unknown yesterday, and to-day converted over-
night into a national Messiah by the will of an-
other man living over there in a city of the
Mexican plateau! This portrait bore under-
neath it flattering promises: "Democracy,"
"Peace." No less numerous were the printed
statements couched in pompous and verbose
language to impress the gullible and supersti-
tious rural masses, a majority of whom are


Skilful Posters That Failed
Later, as I penetrated farther into the inte-
rior, I observed how the Bonillas propaganda
grew in intensity from one station to another,
until I reached Mexico City, where it became
a wild orgy of publicity. Huge posters, many
meters long, advised the people in enormous
letters to vote for Bonillas. Every open lot,
and every old house, was covered with signs:
"Bonillas represents the death of militarism!"
"If you want to see the end of revolution, vote
for Bonillas." As you walked about the streets,
your eye would be caught by large, red arrows
pointing to something farther on. And if you
followed their direction, you would meet Bonil-
las's name a few hundred yards ahead. At
night the picture of the candidate could be seen
illuminated by indirect light and smiling upon
you from some balcony.
This obsessing propaganda, which met you
everywhere, must have been the work of some
old hand at the business. Many people said
that the partisans of Bonillas had imported a
clever publicity expert from the United States.
Occasionally your attention would be arrested


by a printed bill posted on the walls with great
profusion. The casual transient, even if he did
not take sides in the political campaign, felt
drawn by the novelty of the document. "The
Defects of the Engineer Bonillas." "What the
Engineer Bonillas Lacks!"

Extravagance That Hurt Carranza
"Well," you would say, "it's high time some
one said something against this much-praised
But from the very first lines of the document
you discovered that the defects of Bonillas were
that he was not a trouble-making General like
the "others," but a man of peace and honest
labor; and the only things lacking in his record
were the executions and dragonades so numer-
ous in the history of his rivals.
This extraordinarily expensive publicity, the
like of which had never been seen in Mexico,
could not possibly have been financed by Bonil-
las. His Campaign Committee paid, but com-
posed as this committee was of men who had
always lived on the national budget, it is not
likely that the members made any personal sac-
rifices. In short, everybody believed that Car-

ranza was defraying the campaign expenses of
Bonillas and that he was doing it with public
This system of propaganda was, at the same
time, an indirect means of corruption. All the
great Mexican dailies, even those that were
hostile to the candidate, sold whole pages of
advertising space to the Bonillas committee
and the editors.thought they were saving their
consciences by inserting a line at the foot of the
page stating that it had been bought and paid
for at advertising rates by the Bonillas party.
The net result of this was that the papers car-
ried in their news columns a few brief lines of
criticism against the Government candidate and
in the rest of the edition pictures of Bonillas
and his friends and long articles praising the
candidate and his policies.
Millions Spent in Vain
How much was spent in this campaign?
The sympathizers of General Obregon and
Pablo Gonzalez state positively that Carranza
.had already used $2,000,000 popularizing his
candidate, and that he was disposed to spend a
great deal more if it became necessary.

The need of incurring these extravagant ex-
penditures is even more difficult to justify than
the merits of the candidate Bonillas.
The mountainous heaps of printed paper, the
hundreds of thousands of photographs and the
miles of advertisements were wholly useless as
aids in a Presidential election in Mexico. To
use the election methods of a modern, politi-
cally matured country in poor Mexico, the eter-
nal victim of all sorts of tyrannies, is about as
effective as importing sewing machines into a
country where cloth is unknown. What is the
use of such publicity in a country that has never
gone to the polls?
The Mexican people, in reality, does not
know what an election means. During the long
period of his rule Porfirio Diaz always re-
elected himself. Until the unfortunate Madero
turned up, no one dared to protest against the
Before Porfirio Diaz's time the way to power
led along the path of revolution, or else the
elections were so scandalously immoral that
they provoked and justified uprisings. Since
the close of the Diaz regime the present elec-
tion was the first in the history of Mexico sched-

uled to be carried on in a modern way. We have
seen how it developed into a revolution.
The great propaganda in favor of Bonillas
seemed ridiculous, and at times ironically sad,
especially when we consider the character of the
country. So much printed paper for a poor
people in great part illiterate, owing to the neg-
lect of its rulers! So much electioneering,
when every voter knew that his preference
counted for nothing and that in the end the
candidate backed by the Government would win
out! .
To vote conscientiously, the elector must have
the conviction that his vote will be respected,
that it will mean something. In Mexico the
man who cast's his ballot knows that he is exer-
cising a useless right. The result will always
be what the party in power decides. More-
over, the privilege of voting is a dangerous
function. If the man in power gets wind of the
fact that the voter is trying to be independent
and think with his own head, the voter is soon
brought to his senses!
Obregon and Gonzalez are right when they
justify their uprising with the statement that

the Government had denied their candidacies
the guarantees of security and fair play. It
istrue. Carranza, who is a stubborn man, in-
capable of budging an inch after he has once
made up his mind, had decided that Bonillas
should win, and Bonillas would have been the
next President of Mexico, if the revolution had
not broken out. All the States that had Car-
ranza Governors would have voted en masse for
Bonillas, as though there were no followers of
the other candidates there at all.
But Obregon and Gonzalez are no saints;
they were not born yesterday, and they cer-
tainly are not political infants. Their record
is almost as long and brilliant as that of Don
Venustiano and no one knows what they will
each cook up when the elections are announced
What can we expect from a country when it
has never had an electoral body considered and
respected as a vital and permanent institution?
What can we expect from a country where the
defeated candidate always resorts to arms,
claiming that he has been defrauded?
If the elections prepared by Carranza had

taken place Bonillas would have won in all the
Carranza States. But Obregon, for instance,
who controlled the Government of the State of
Sonora, would have received every single vote
cast there, and Bonillas, who was also born in
that State, would not have received a ballot.
It is possible that real elections may be held
in Mexico in the future. Why should we not
be optimistic about it? But up to the present
time no candidate has ever failed to coerce the
national will by voting the people in his own
favor wherever and whenever he has had a
chance. And his opponents have done the same
thing, under similar conditions.

The Leper and the Flies
The candidacy of Bonillas, however, had a
strength of its own, aside from that received
from the Government. This strength was the
war-weariness of a certain class of people-per-
haps the class most worthy of sympathy-the
small merchants and poorer landowners, the
lower middle class, which has been suffering the
effects of an endless revolution for ten years.
I heard the complaints of this class. I visited
some Mexican cities where this element is pre-

ponderant and saw its efforts to live in peace
and keep out of the everlasting turmoil.
Elections had come again to disturb the rela-
tive quiet to which these people had recently
become accustomed.
"Why should we hold elections?" some one
would ask me. "It would be better to have Don
Venustiano continue in office. I don't like him.
But he is in already and that is preferable to
starting all over again with a new one."
Many of these people told the old story of the
leper which some of my American readers, per-
haps, do not know.
A good Mussulman takes pity on a leper
whom he sees sitting motionless on the ground
with his sores covered with flies. To alleviate
the suffering of the stricken man, the good Sa-
maritan drives away the parasites. But the
leper, instead of thanking his benefactor, goes
into a rage and heaps abuse upon him for his
"Why art thou treating me as if I were the
worst of thine enemies ?" the leper cries. "The
flies thou hast driven away were already satis-
fied. They were full of my substance and I
could endure them. But now they will be suc-

ceeded by other flies of ravenous appetite and
my torments will begin again. Curses upon
thine head!"
A portion of the Mexican people had resigned
themselves to endure the torment of the well-
fed Carranza flies. These people did not like
Carranza, but they accepted the successor
picked by him because they knew that Carran-
za's successor and his friends would prove less
voracious than the flies of any opposing party.
"If the old man has to go," these people
would say, "we'll take Bonillas. He hasn't
done anything worth while, but neither has he
done anything bad and, at any rate, he is
not a General."
This business of being a General considerably
worries every Mexican who has witnessed a
revolution without being in it.

When Bonillas Returned
The entry of Bonillas into Mexico when he
returned from Washington as the candidate of
the Civil Party made many people predict the
revolution which broke out a month later. Never
was the homecoming of conquering hero pre-
pared with greater care than that of the ob-


secure Mexican-American engineer, converted
by the revolution first into a diplomatic agent
and later into a Presidential candidate. A spe-
cial train full of admirers (many of whom had
never seen him before, but who, nevertheless,
already worshiped him) was dispatched by the
Government to meet him at the frontier. Two
boys with the rank of General had charge of all
the arrangements, relieving Don Venustiano of
this petty labor. General Montes-about 30-
perhaps the only one among the revolutionaries
who hails from a military school, was the Pres-
ident of the Comit6 Civilista assigned to re-
ceive Bonillas, to accompany him, and fre-
quently, to speak for him. General Barragan,
chief of the President's staff, organized the fes-
tivities in Mexico City. He requisitioned all
private automobiles not in use and mobilized all
the officials and friends of the Government, con-
centrating them in the capital.
I heard protests from certain men of the rank
and file of the Carranza forces about this tri-
umphal reception. "They ordered me," one
said, "to fill twenty automobiles with sympa-
thizers of Bonillas. I signed a receipt for
twenty cars, and when the time came for the

parade they sent me only two. What became
of the other eighteen, which, undoubtedly, will
appear as paid for, I don't know."
Despite these insignificant slips the parade
was splendid. An interminable line of carriages
extended from the station to the lodgings of the
candidate. There were hurrahs for Bonillas,
vociferous vivas from members of the police
force who appeared disguised in civilian clothes
the better to hide the nature of their enthusi-
asm. There were manifestations of approval
and sympathy from all the humbler employees.
Flowers were thrown by the basketful by the
sefioritas who were daughters of the function-
aries. In short, there was a general stirring of
the masses, who are always moved by the sound
of music and the sight of unfurled flags, irre-
spective of what the music and the flags stand

Fiesta Spoiled by Obregon's Men
But the followers of Obregon decided to take
part in the fiesta. A group of Generals and
Colonels who sympathize with the General went
to meet the parade.
These Mexican Generals created by the revo-

lution are a set of aggressive, harebrained
boys, brought into prominence by the abnormal
condition of civil war; boys who, to go from the
parlor to the dining room of their homes, deem
it necessary to put on a cartridge belt and a
couple of automatic pistols. In a future article
entitled "The Generals" I shall describe this
original and dangerous type.
These warriors of the Obregon camp dis-
turbed the triumphant entry of Bonillas with
pranks worthy of college boys celebrating a
great athletic victory. First they scattered
handfuls of nails along the streets, which caused
many a blowout and much delay. Then they
pelted the solemn personages who rode in the
carriages with sticky, ill-smelling projectiles.
And when Bonillas and his staff appeared on
the balcony to address the multitude the Obre-
gonists threw balls of asafoetida and worse,
which made the speakers cough and hem and
even brought tears to the eyes of Flor de Te
and his panegyrists.
The Bonillas party found it a difficult task to
address the people. The orators had to hold
their nodes with one hand, while they fanned
the air with gestures from the other. And


when, under this handicap, General Candido
Aguilar, the son-in-law of Carranza, began to
expound, with military eloquence, the superi-
ority of civilian rule and the necessity of sup-
pressing militarism, his hostile brothers-in-
arms gave up the offensive they had begun with
ill-smelling ammunition and started another
with foul language.
In loud exclamations they inveighed against
the virtue of the mothers of the men in Bo-
nillas's party-ladies whom they had never
seen-and finally the candidate and his parti-
sans, tired of hearing themselves called sons of
this and sons of that, appealed to the police,
who were anxiously waiting for the word. And
the disturbers of the meeting were hurried off
to jail.

Open Breach with Carranza
From that moment things happened with
great rapidity. Obregon, infected with an ora-
torical fever, started through the States in a
whirlwind campaign in favor of his candidacy.
He did not mince words. "If I am not elected
President," he said, "it will be because Don
Venustiano has decided to block me at all costs.

But before I let that viejo barbon trick me out
of the Presidency, I shall take the field against
him. "
And the bewhiskered old gentleman, who has
a temper of his own, retaliated by sending the
police to break up the meetings of the Obregon-
istas and beat up their followers. Moreover,
Carranza got hold of certain letters in which
it appeared that Obregon was in alliance with
the chiefs of certain bandit bands which had
been defying the constituted authorities. Tak-
ing these as evidence, Carranza issued an order
to have Obregon brought to the capital and
court-martialed. He was on the point of send-
ing him to jail when Obregon escaped.
I believe that in the last days of his rule, Car-
ranza took special pains to harass Obregon
for the purpose of precipitating the revolution
which the latter was preparing. His policy
was to provoke an abortion. "If they intend
to rise against me," Carranza figured, "the
best thing I can do is to drive them to it at once.
They will be less prepared to fight."


Bonillas Put in Danger
During the electoral struggle between Obre-
gon and Carranza, Sefior Bonillas, the innocent
cause of the political duel, kept in the back-
ground, limiting himself to obeying the instruc-
tions of Montes, the President of the Campaign
Committee, who, in his turn, took orders from
Don Venustiano.
The ill-starred candidate! On many an occa-
sion I saw him in the hotel at luncheon, sur-
rounded by crowds of "enthusiastic admirers"
who came from the provinces to get their first
glimpse of him. At other times I found him
alone with his son, a young student, whom Bo-
nillas's wife and daughters had undoubtedly
ordered to accompany his papa in this adven-
Exhausted by the campaign activities, which
were a novel experience to him, Bonillas used to
go out on some afternoons for an automobile
ride in the vicinity of Mexico City. One day
at dusk a group of mounted Obregonistas, hard-
ened old guerrilleros, tried to kidnap him, to
put him away until after the elections. A bat-
tle fit for the movies ensued for the moment be-

tween the would-be kidnapers and the police
who were escorting Bonillas in other automo-
biles. In the ml6ee an Obregonist General was
captured, an old ranchman who happened to
find himself "by accident" on the scene of the
"You were attempting to kidnap Ambassador
Bonillas," the Chief of Police told the Obre-
gonist General.
"Kidnap that poor devils" the rural chief
replied. "What for? What could I do with
him? .. If it had been Don Venustiano! ... "
From that day on, I never saw Bonillas again.
His partisans feared for his life. The hotel
was not a safe place, and, therefore, his Cam-
paign Committee, laying hands again on the
public funds at their disposal, installed him in
a private house.
The candidate, showing praiseworthy cool-
ness in the presence of dangers which his fol-
lowers probably exaggerated, gave constant
proof of great loyalty and obedience to Car-
"Where are you taking me to-day? Where
does Don Venustiano wish me to go?" he would


Perils of Campaign Tour
At first he attended several meetings in Mex-
ico City, packed with well-trained adherents of
the Government. Later on, he was obliged to
go to the capitals of several States to counter-
act with his presence the effects of Obregon's
campaign. And here was where his real suf-
ferings and dangers began.
It seems that the personnel of the railways is
largely Obregonista. Moreover, Mexicans do
not need to belong to the Railway Union to learn
how to cut a railway line. To blow up a train
with dynamite or to destroy in short order a
dozen miles or so of railroad track, has come to
be a national art within the reach of everybody.
Ten years of revolution have provided ample
schooling for the purpose.
The Bonillas train endured the most romantic
trials and tribulations on its journey over the
interior States. In one place the locomotive
would come to a stop barely in time to avoid
rushing over a section of vanished track; at an-
other point, the train would narrowly escape
plunging into a pit; later still, it would be totally

wrecked, with loss of lives among the military
Finally, the Obregon coup surprised Bonillas
while he was conducting his campaign in the
State of Jalisco. The enemy cut off the retreat
of the train by lifting a few rails, and the Car-
ranza candidate had to return over the rough
country to the capital in an automobile.
After this Bonillas disappeared entirely from
the public eye. He continued to reside in Mex-
ico City, but who had time to think of him?
The attention of the entire country was now
fixed on Carranza and Obregon. War had
broken out. Montes, the President of the Cam-
paign Committee, had taken command of a
body of troops. Candido Aguilar, Bonillas's
war-like orator, had gone to Vera Cruz to re-
cruit forces for his father-in-law, Carranza.

And Where Is Bonillas Now?
Nothing more has been heard about Sefior
Bonillas. As he was in Mexico City, it is cer-
tain that unless he got out with Carranza he has
fallen into the hands of his triumphant enemies.
He lived so happily in Washington before

Carranza singled him out for the honor of run-
ning for President! How he and his family
must miss those happy days which now seem so
far off and which, nevertheless, were passing
only a few months ago!
His life is not in danger; he does not run
the slightest risk. The successful revolution-
aries, if they have captured him in Mexico City,
must have thoughts about their prisoner simi-
lar to those expressed by the rustic General
arrested by the police at the time of the at-
tempted kidnapping. "What can we do with
this poor devil? ... If we had Don Venu-
Moreover, Bonillas and Obregon hail from
the same State, Sonora, and they have known
each other since they were boys. I know that
Obregon likes Bonillas, but I don't think that
Obregon's affection can be flattering to the
vanity of Bonillas.
"A nice fellow, my friend Bonillas," said
Obregon to me one day. "He is reliable, con-
scientious and hard-working. The world has
lost a first-class bookkeeper. ... If I ever be-
come President of the Republio I shall make
him cashier in some bank."


I MET Obregon two days before he fled from
Mexico City, declaring himself in open re-
bellion against the authority of President Car-
At the time of my arrival in Mexico Obre-
gon was campaigning for his election in distant
States of the republic. Several friends of mine,
who are enthusiastic followers of the General,
were anxious to have me meet and hear their
idol. "As soon as Obregon comes back," they
said, "we'll arrange a luncheon or dinner so
that you two men may meet and know each
As a matter of fact, Obregon did not return;
he was forcibly brought back to the capital by
Carranza, who decided to try him for complicity
with the rebels who had been in arms for some
time against the Government. This was an
effective means of putting an end to the cam-
paign of insults and threats that Obregon had
been conducting in various States.

The forcible return of Obregon to Mexico
City caused great excitement among the people
of the capital and stirred their curiosity even
"What next?" they asked. "Will the old
man have courage enough to send Obregon to
jail and put him out of the running in that way?
Will Obregon start a revolution to preserve his
personal liberty ?"
And when many were asking themselves these
questions with a certain anxiety, fearing the
consequences of a final break between the mas-
ter Carranza and his old pupil Obregon, my
Obregonista friends came to notify me that they
had arranged my interview with their hero.
"The General expects you to take luncheon
with him to-morrow," they told me.

Luncheon with the National Hero
I had insisted that the luncheon take place in
a public restaurant, in full view of everybody,
to avoid the possibility of false interpretations.
If the luncheon were given in a private house
to many people it might seem that I had a cer-
tain predilection for Obregon. There was no
reason whatever why I should figure as a Car-


ranzista or an Obregonista. My wishes were
more than amply fulfilled. The luncheon was
held in the Bac, the most centrally located res-
taurant in the capital. To make it even less
secret, it was decided to have it in the main
dining room, near the orchestra platform, rath-
er than in a private room.
Obregon was at that time a personage in dis-
grace. It was true that he might rise again at
any moment, but it was equally possible that he
might be down for the full count. He had en-
thusiastic friends, but he had also against him
"old man" Carranza, an enemy of tenacious
hatreds and indomitable energy. The mysteri-
ous hour when public opinion shakes off its in-
ertia and swings unexpectedly to one side or
the other had not yet struck. The timid were
still holding aloof; the crafty were making their
calculations, but had not yet succeeded in dis-
pelling their own doubts.
Obregon was still an unknown quantity. If
you sided with him you might climb to a posi-
tion in the Cabinet, but you also might walk to
a place in front of the firing squad. The shrewd
ones were waiting for the atmosphere to clear
a little, and Obregon could count only on his

personal following, the friends who had been
faithful to him through thick and thin. The
men who watch the trend of events from a point
of vantage and eagerly await the psychological
moment to rush to the succor of the sure winner
had not yet heard the call.

The Disconcerting Obregon
When I entered the restaurant I saw Obre-
gon sitting at a table with a friend to whom he
was explaining the fine points of a cocktail
which the General himself had invented. The
reader must not jump at conclusions and infer
that Obregon is a drunkard because I found
him so engaged. I believe he drinks very little.
During the luncheon he took beer in preference
to wine, and on several occasions he called for
water. But as a warrior who has lived in the
open air, suffering the rigor of inclement
weather and spending whole nights without
sleep, he likes to take a casual drink from time
to time to tune up his nervous system.
It would be equally erroneous to imagine him
as a Mexican chieftain of the type which we
so frequently see in the movies and vaudevilles
-a copper-colored personage with slanting

eyes and thick, stiff hair, sharp as an awl; in
short, an Indian dressed up like a comic-opera
General. Obregon is nothing of the sort; he is
white, so positively white that it is difficult to
conceive his having a single drop of Indian
blood in his veins. He is so distinctively Span-
ish that he could walk in the streets of Madrid
without any one guessing that he hailed from
the American hemisphere.
"My grandparents came from Spain," he
told me. "I don't know from which province.
Other people bother their heads a great deal
about their ancestors. They imagine they come
from noble stock and claim descent from Span-
ish Dukes and Marquises. I know only that
my people came from Spain. They must have
been poor folk driven to emigrate by sheer hun-
The personage began to reveal himself. Ob-
regon is a man who is always trying to amaze
his hearer, now with explosions of pride, now
with strokes of unexpected humility. The im-
portant thing for him is to be disconcerting, to
say something that his listeners are not expect-
ing to hear.


Close-Up of the Idol
He is still young-not quite 40. He has a
strong and exuberant constitution. You can
see at once that the man is brimming over with
vitality. A slight varicosis has colored his
cheeks with a number of slender, red veins,
which give a reddish tint to his complexion.
His enemy Don Venustiano suffers also from
varicosis of the face, but his nose is the only
feature that shows it prominently. It is fur-
rowed by a series of red, blue and green veins
that remind you of the wavy lines on a hydro-
graphic map. All aggressive men have a more
or less close resemblance to birds and animals
of prey. Some are thin and sharp beaked, like
hawks. Others have the mane and the arro-
gance of the lion. A few are lithe and myste-
rious, like the tiger. Obregon, with his short,
thick neck, broad shoulders and small, sharp
eyes, which on occasion emit fierce glints, re-
minds you of a wild boar.
Obregon is single and lives the life of a sol-
dier, attended by one aid, an ex-ranchman who
is even rougher than he. As Obregon has only
one arm, and, consequently, cannot devote more


than one hand to the care of his person, the
"hero of Celaya"-as he is frequently called-
is rather slovenly in appearance. In his mili-
tary uniform he may look better. The man I
met wore a dirty and much-worn Panama hat,
baggy trousers and a shabby coat, one of whose
sleeves hung empty, showing that the arm had
been amputated near the shoulder.
Obregon's apparent contempt for all person-
al adornment is characteristic of the man. An-
other reason for his carelessness in matters of
dress is his desire to flatter the Mexican popu-
lace, who consider that his slovenly garb brings
him closer to them.
The missing arm enables the people to recog-
nize Obregon at a distance. They greet him
enthusiastically whenever they see him. Obre-
gon is the conqueror of Pancho Villa; he is
the man who broke up the military power that
came near placing that old cattle rustler in
the Presidential chair of the republic.

Villa, Defeated, Almost Forgotten
Villa is almost forgotten in Mexico. He is
talked about more in the United States than
in his own country. A few years ago he was

"The General" among all Generals, and many
even spoke enthusiastically of his military tal-
ent, seeing in him the man who would take it
upon himself to exterminate any foreigner dar-
ing to invade the soil of the nation. Now he
is nothing but a bandit and people avoid all
reference to him. He will continue to make
trouble, but his star has surely set. Obregon
defeated him in ten bloody skirmishes, mis-
named battles, and this was sufficient to make
Obregon the hero of the hour. Moreover, Pan-
cho Villa has escaped bodily injury; he has
all his limbs. With insolent good luck he has
kept out of the way of bullets. Obregon, on
the contrary, has only one arm, thus adding
to his heroic record the sympathy that the
martyr arouses.
I sat down and the luncheon began, a lunch-
eon that started at noon and lasted until 4.
Don Venustiano, always suspicious, as is nat-
ural in the head of a nation where every one
is likely to darse la vuelta -to betray-and
no one knows with certainty who is his friend
and who is his enemy, spoke to me a few days
later about this luncheon. I was the one to

broach the subject. I told him frankly that I
had lunched with one of his enemies.
"I know," he replied. "But what the devil
did you have to talk about that it took you four
whole hours?"
And he scrutinized my eyes as though he
were trying to read my thoughts.

Obregon's Debut in Chick-peas
In reality Obregon had nothing interesting
to tell me. But he is such a character! It is
so agreeable to sit and listen hours and hours
to his animated, lively and picturesque con-
versation, which is more Spanish than Mexican.
He had selected the table near the orchestra
so that he could give orders to the musicians.
He was anxious to show me that he was not
an ignorant soldier and that he loved music-
Mexican music, of course, for other kinds of
music mean little to him. And while the or-
chestra played the "Jarabe," the "Cielito"
and the "Maianitas"--Mexican national airs
--Obregon talked and talked, swallowing mean-
while pieces of food that he had an attend-
ant cut for him, as he can use only one hand.


The General is invincible in conversation. I
can talk a great deal myself, but I was forced
to withdraw before his onslaught, as thor-
oughly defeated as Pancho Villa himself. I
He told me the story of his youth. He is
sure that he was born to be the first every-
where. He does not say so himself, but he
helps you to suspect it with modest insinua-
tions. In Sonora he was a trader in garbanzos
--chick-peas-and although he made rather
small profits, he is sure that he would have
become eventually the first merchant in Mexico
-a great millionaire.
"You see, the revolution spoiled all that for
me. I then became a soldier and I rose to be a
What he neglected to add was that, in spite
of his General's commission, he remained in
business just the same, and his enemies affirm
that he has realized his ambition to become a
millionaire. He has a monopoly at present of
all the chick-pea trade in Mexico. The peas
are exported to Spain, where garbanzos, as
they are called, are an article of common con-
sumption. The same enemies assert that all

the farmers in Mexico are obliged to sell their
garbanzos to Obregon, at 'a price which he
himself fixes. That is the advantage of being
a hero and of losing an arm in defense of the

"All of Us Thieves, More or Less"
However, I shall not dwell on what Obregon's
enemies say about him. The General went on
talking about himself. He has a line of risquW
stories which he tells with a brutal frankness
smacking of the camp and the bivouac. They
helped me to understand the popularity of the
man. He talks that way with everybody, with
the women of the street, with the workingmen
he meets, with the peasants in the country, and
those simple people swell with pride at being
treated with such familiarity and at hearing
such amusing stories from a national hero, the
conqueror of Celaya, a former Minister of War,
and a man who has only one arm!
"They have probably told you that I am a
bit of a thief."
Taken somewhat aback, I looked around in
surprise to make sure it was really Obregon
who had said that, and that he had said it to

me. I hesitated, not knowing really what
answer to make.
"Yes," he insisted. "You have heard that
story without a doubt. All of us are thieves,
more or less, down here."
"Why, General," I said, with a gesture of
protest, "I never pay any attention to gossip!
All lies, I am sure."
But Obregon ignored what I was saying, and
"The point is, however, I have only one,
hand, while the others have two. That's why
people prefer me. I can't steal so much or so
A burst of laughter! Obregon saluted his
own witticism with the reserved hilarity of a
cynical boy, while his two friends who were
with us paid tribute to the hero's jest with
endless boisterousness.

Joke of the Itching Palm
This oratorical success made the General still
more talkative. He insisted on treating me to
more stories, perhaps to show me that he held
the gossip about him in contempt, perhaps to
enjoy the pleasure of surprising and embar-

rassing me by the spectacle of a man depreciat-
ing himself.
"You probably don't know how they found
the hand I lost!"
In reality, I did know, just as, for that mat-
ter, I had already heard the joke about his
being more honest than the others because he
had only one hand. But in order not to spoil
the General's delight in his own brilliancy I
assured him I did not know the story.
"You know I lost my arm in battle. It was
carried off by a shell which exploded near me
while I was talking with my staff. After giving
me the first treatments, my men set out to find
my arm on the ground. They looked about in
all directions, but couldn't find it anywhere.
Where could the hand and its fragment of arm
have gone to?
'I'll find it for you,' said one of my aids,
an old friend of mine. 'It will come back by
itself. Watch me!'
"He took out of his purse a ten-dollar gold
piece, an aztec, as we call it, and raised it above
his head. At once a sort of bird, with five
wings, rose from the ground. It was my miss-
ing hand, which had not been able to resist the


temptation to fly from its hiding place and seize
a gold coin."
A second ovation from the guests! And the
man with the one arm exploded with laughter
at the naughty prank of his missing hand, and,
not to be discourteous to its former owner, I
laughed as well.

The Ambassador's Missing Watch
"And you never heard how the Spanish Am-
bassador lost his watch?"
I could see what Obregon was driving at.
This story was to be not at his own expense,
but against "that other fellow," his enemy and
persecutor. However, I pretended to be quite
innocent, so that the General could have the
pleasure of telling the story.
"A new Minister from Spain had just pre-
sented his credentials, and President Carranza
was anxious to welcome him with a great offi-
cial banquet. The thing had to be done well.
Spain had been the first European nation to
recognize Don Venustiano's Government after
the revolution."
As I listened to the hero I thought of the
grand dining hall of the palace at Chapultepec,

which recalls the tragic days of Maximilian,
the Austrian Emperor of Mexico. I could see
Don Venustiano in evening dress, with his
white beard and red-white-and-green nose,
seated opposite the Spanish Ambassador, and
beside the latter, Obregon, Minister of War;
Candido Aguilar, Minister of Foreign Rela-
tions; the elegant Barragan, in a new uniform
bought for the occasion, and all the other digni-
taries created by the First Chief.
"Suddenly," continued Obregon, "the Span-
ish diplomat raised his hand to his vest, and
grew pale. 'Caramba!' he exclaimed. 'My
watch is gone!' It was an antique timepiece,
gold and inset with diamonds, an heirloom in
the Ambassador's family.
"Complete silence! First he looks at me,
for I am sitting next to him. But I have an
arm missing, and, as it happens, on the side
nearest the Ambassador. I cannot have taken
his watch! Then he looks at Candido Aguilar,
Don Venustiano's son-in-law, who is sitting on
the other side. Aguilar still has both his arms,
but one of his hands, and by chance the one
next to the Ambassador, is almost paralyzed.
Neither can he be the pick-pocket! Convinced

that he must say good-by forever to his lost
jewelry, the Spanish Minister sat out the rest
of the meal cursing desperately under his
'They have stolen my watch. This is not
a Government. This is a den of thieves!'
"When they got up from the table Don Venu-
stiano, with his usual dignified and venerable
bearing, stepped up to the Ambassador and
whispered, 'Here you are, but say nothing more
about it.'
"The diplomat could not contain his aston-
ishment and admiration! 'It was not the man
on my right! It was not the man on my left!
It was the man across the table in front of me!
Oh, my dear Mr. President, quite rightly do
they call you the First Chief.' "
If the laughter at a joke on Obregon had been
noisy, that for a joke on Carranza resembled
a cannonade.
There is no doubt about it. Obregon is an
excellent table companion. His amusing chat-
ter is inexhaustible.
Leaving his stories, he went on to the sub-
ject of his election campaign. He is as proud

of his speeches as he is of his triumphant bat-
tles. The General is a born orator, and like all
self-educated men who take up reading late in
life, he noticeably prefers the sonorous, theatri-.
cal sentence which never says anything.
He invited me to attend one of his election
meetings to hear him speak to a crowd. At the
moment he had on his mind a great parade
which the laborers of the capital were prepar-
ing in his honor. It was to be headed by 1,500
Mexican women-all the dressmakers in the
city. The women of Mexico feel a purely spirit-
ual inclination toward this plain-speaking
soldier, who treats every one as his equal.
He expounded his platform to me volubly:
democracy-enforcement of the law-realiza-
tion of the promises made by the revolution,
and which the "old chief" had forgotten-dis-
tribution of lands to the poor. The real reason
for his candidacy, the argument that has great-
est weight with him, he never mentioned, but I
could read it in his eyes.
"Besides," Obregon undoubtedly. says to
himself, "besides, I made Don Venustiano
President. I took him in triumph from Vera


Cruz to the Presidential chair in Mexico City.
He became President through my efforts. Now
it is my turn. Isn't that fair?"

He Is an Author, Too
Since the General had already forgotten his
jokes and stories and had now to speak with
the seriousness befitting a Chief Executive, he
gradually and imperceptibly passed from ora-
tory to literature. The General became a "col-
league" of mine, a man of letters. He has writ-
ten a book telling the story of his campaigns.
That has been the custom of all victorious war-
riors since the time of Julius Coesar. Why
should he not also indulge in a set of "Com-
He promised to send me a copy of his book.
But to forestall the chance that his difficulties
with Carranza might prevent him from keeping
the promise, he went on to give me an idea of
the book in advance.
He said that he expressed himself simply
and with modesty. Of course his battles could
not be compared with those of the European
war. ... "I also realize that I am only an
amateur in the military business, a civilian,

forced to take up arms-Citizen Obregon pro-
moted to be a General: and doubtless I had
strokes of sheer luck!"
I was listening to Obregon with real
affection. I was regarding him as the most
attractive and most able man among all the.
Mexican Generals made by the national up-
heaval. But suddenly the wind changed. Men
never get really to know each other. Obregon
began to twirl his sharp-pointed, upturning
mustache, and smiling in pride at his own
modesty, he lay back on his divan.
"When I was Minister of War, at a banquet
at the President's house one day, the Dutch
representative, who was a military man, came
up to me and said, 'General, from what branch
of the service did you come-artillery, cav-
alry?' In view of my victories he thought I
must be a professional soldier. Imagine his
astonishment when I told him I had been a
chick-pea dealer in Sonora! He refused to be-
lieve it."

More About His Great Book
The General stopped a moment to enjoy the
impression his words were making on us.


"Another time the German Minister came
to see me. You doubtless know him by repu-
tation, Mr. Ibafiez."
"Very well indeed," I replied. "He was the
fellow who during the late war suggested to
the Mexican Government the possibility of re-
covering California and Arizona. He used to
appear at public ceremonies in a great Prus-
sian uniform with decorations, to receive the
applause of a paid claque or an ignorant crowd
which was always hissing the plain black eve-
ning dress of the diplomatic representative of
the United States."
"Well," said Obregon, "the German came
to see me, and in his short abrupt accent said
to me: 'General, I have read your book, and
I need two copies of it, one for my Emperor
and the other for the archives of the German
General Staff. The people back in Berlin are
much interested in you. They are astounded
that a plain civilian, without military training,
has been able to conduct such noteworthy and
original campaigns.'
"I suppose you gave him the books?"
"No, I don't care for honors like that. I
told him he could find them in the bookstores

if he wanted them. And I suppose he bought
them and sent them on home."
What a farceur that shrewd German was!
The hero doubtless remembered my hatred
of German militarism, so to emphasize his im-
partiality he jumped to the Far East.
"The Japanese Minister also asked my per-
mission to translate the book into Japanese.
My campaigns seem to have aroused a good
deal of interest over there."
"Has the translation appeared yet?" I in-
"I don't know. I don't bother about such

Popular Appeal of a "Bad Man"
A long silence. I sat looking somewhat dis-
concertedly at this man, so complex for all of his
primitive simplicity, who alarms you at one
moment by his craftiness and at the next aston-
ishes you by his complete ingenuousness.
Nevertheless, he is the most popular and the
most feared man in Mexico, the man every-
where most talked about. Some people love
him to the extent that they would die for him.
Others hate him and would like to kill him,


as they remember the barbarous outrages he
ordered in the early days of the triumphant
revolution, actuated by some perverse whim of
his very original character.
He appeals to the multitude for his some-
what rustic frankness, his good-natured wick-
edness and his rather brutal gayety. He has,
besides, the prestige of a courage which no one
questions, and of an aggressiveness, in a pinch,
like that of a wild boar at bay. To cap the
climax, he has lost an arm.
My readers must pardon me for emphasizing
this latter point. In Mexico such things are
more important than elsewhere. The people in
Mexico, who are ready to take up guns and kill
each other at a moment's notice and most of
the time without knowing why, are very senti-
mental and easily moved to tears. Mexicans
give up their lives with the greatest indiffer-
ence and for anybody at all. At the same time
they will weep at the slightest annoyance oc-
casioned to one of their loved heroes. The
Mexican populace descends from the Aztecs,
those magnificent gardeners who lovingly culti-
vated flowers and, at the same time, tore the
hearts out of a thousand living prisoners at


each of their religious festivals. Poetry and
blood, sentimentality and death! It is a pity
that Obregon's lost arm did not actually leave
its hiding place to seize the gold "aztec" which
the General's aid held out to it, in the story!
It would have been worshiped by the people
with national honors.

Value of an Amputated Leg
There are precedents for this. General
Santa Ana was an Obregon in his day. Though
the latter has never been President yet, the
former reached the Presidency several times
through uprisings or manipulated elections.
The Mexican people hated Santa Ana after his
unsuccessful campaign against the secession-
ists, who had established a republic in Texas.
The Texans defeated his army and made him
prisoner. However, at that moment, it oc-
curred to the French Government of Louis
Philippe to send a military expedition into
Mexico to enforce some diplomatic demands,
and French soldiers disembarked in Vera Cruz.
Santa Ana rushed to oppose them, and the last
shot the invaders fired hit him in the leg, and
the surgeons had to amputate it.

Never did a popularity rise to such pure and
exalted heights. Santa Ana's leg, properly
pickled, was taken from Vera Cruz to Mexico
City with a great guard of honor. The Gov-
ernment bestowed on the amputated limb the
honors of a Captain General killed in battle,
and in the midst of triumphal pageantry, the
booming of cannon and the music of bands, it
was buried in the center of the city under a
great monument.
However, reversals of opinion and sudden
waves of anger must be looked for in senti-
mental peoples. Years later Santa Ana went
to war with the United States over the Texas
affair. The campaign went against him and
the Americans took Mexico City. The people
needed to vent its wrath on somebody, and
since it could not get its hands on Santa Ana,
it tore down the monument to his heroic leg,
paraded the unfortunate bone through the
streets of the city and finally threw it into a
dung heap.

His Threats Not "Celestial Music"
Obregon spoke to me about a friend of his,
a newspaper man, some of whose articles were

worthy of admiration. "He is ill," said the
General, "and practically dying. He has been
in bed for several months. He would be de-
lighted if you would pay him a visit."
The General and I agreed to go together.
"I am going to see the silver mines at Pachuca
to-morrow," I said. "I shall be away two
"When you come back I shall still be here,"
said the General. "All that talk about the old
man's prosecuting me and putting me in jail
is just celestial music (Mexican for 'hot air').
We shall see each other. I'll give you my book
and we'll go and see my friend."
When I got back the General had disap-
peared. He had fled from the city not to re-
turn till just now, when he comes back as a
Obregon did well to get away when he did.
The threats of "the old man" were not music.
A few hours later Carranza would have had
him locked up.
Carranza told me so himself the last time I
saw him.


T HE third candidate for the Presidency of
the republic, Don Pablo Gonzalez, is a per-
sonage who has been thrown into the back-
ground, apparently, by the kaleidoscopic per-
sonality and overwhelming popularity of
I did not meet General Gonzalez. He is not
the type of man that inspires you with an irre-
pressible desire to know him, as is the case with
his rival Obregon and other characters of the
Mexican revolution. The personality of Don
Pablo is elusive; it escapes the pursuit of the
observer however much the latter may concen-
trate his attention on seizing it. His pictures
exhibit him as a man of dark complexion, with
very black and bushy brows and mustache,
and wearing dark-colored glasses that hide his
eyes. This last detail must have given many

an anxious moment to Pancho Villa, who was so
worried by the blue spectacles of Don Venu-
Not a few people in Mexico consider Don
Pablo an expert in the great art of dissimula-
tion, and they aver that General Gonzalez wears
dark glasses to prevent the indiscreet from
reading his thoughts in his eyes. I know some
friends of Don Pablo who swear that he is an
honest man. I know likewise a great many
enemies of his who picture him as a fraud, a
hypocrite and a crook, adding that his supposed
kindness is mere sham and that he has behind
him a personal record full of deeds that cannot
bear close scrutiny.
The military history of this man is amazing.
"General Gonzalez commanded the largest
forces in the revolution and he came out of it
with the unique honor of having lost every bat-
tle in which he was engaged." Thus was Gon-
zalez described to me by President Carranza
and his most intimate friends on one occasion
when I was questioning them about the per-
sonality of this chief.
And Don Venustiano added with what
seemed to me mock seriousness: "But Don


Pablo inspires so much confidence; he is so
respectable ."
I came to the conclusion that the most con-
spicuous role played by General Gonzalez in
Mexican life has been that of a kindly man who
inspires confidence, although his enemies pro-
test that he has never been either kind or trust-

One of the Few Dons Left
The people who speak of Obregon familiarly
and call nearly all the revolutionary personages
by their last names, can never mention General
Gonzalez without prefixing to his name the title
of Don. Gonzalez is always Don Pablo, just
as Carranza is Don Venustiano and Diaz was
Don Porfirio. Aside from these three, there
are no more Dons in Mexico. No one would
think of calling General Obregon Don Alvaro;
he is too democratic.
When Obregon and Don Pablo were cam-
paigning independently under the government
of Carranza to win the elections for the Presi-
dency, public opinion swung around in a rather
unexpected manner. The conservative ele-
ments, the law-abiding citizens, and the re-

ligious classes had to choose a candidate and
they all instinctively turned to Don Pablo.
This same Don Pablo had shown little re-
spect for the rights of property when he was in
command of troops. He had executed many
people openly, and his enemies accused him of
having indirectly caused the death of others.
Moreover, in religious matters he had never
given proof of definite and positive faith. But
all the cautious citizens who were alarmed by
the exuberant aggressiveness of Obregon took
pains to forget the dubious history of Don
Pablo, and they rallied around him, repeating
always the same slogan: "Vote for Don Pablo;
he is safe and sane! Vote for the man who
thinks twice before he speaks !"
There are people who instinctively follow
the man who does not talk, in the belief that
silence is the sign of all wisdom; just as there
are others who are captivated only by those
who talk a great deal and loudly.

Why Don Pablo Is Rich
According to his enemies, in his youth Don
Pablo Gonzalez was a peon in a factory at $20
a month. To-day he is considered one of the

richest men in Mexico, both in real estate and
personal property. How did he work the
By becoming a General. The reader must
neither laugh nor give. this statement a false
interpretation. To be a General in Mexico
means a great deal more, from a pecuniary
standpoint, than it does in any other country
on earth, however rich the country may be. It
must be understood, of course, that by General
I mean one in command of troops; because the
General not in command of troops in Mexico
is a poor devil who draws a miserable salary
(when it is not withheld under accusation of
disloyalty to the Government) and whose only
hope of advancement lies in a new revolution
that may give him command of a few regiments.
Military administration, as it is organized
in all modern countries, does not exist in
Mexico. The chief in command of troops re-
ceives directly from the Government the money
needed for their maintenance, and he distrib-
utes it as he pleases. The President of the
Republic takes good care not to ask him for
explanations, nor is an accounting ever de-
manded. Such an offensive curiosity on the

part of the President would be deemed intoler-
able by the gentleman in command of the
troops, and he would protest against it by ris-
ing in arms against the constituted authority.
This is the reason why a General in active
service does not need to violate the rights of
private property to increase his income. All
he has to do is to keep a portion of the money
sent him by the Government. The worst of it
is that the majority of the Mexican Generals
are two-handed, as Obregon put it, and while
they loot the public treasury with one hand,
to keep the other busy they pick the pockets of
private individuals.
Every corps commander receives at the end
of each month a large sum of money, thou-
sands of dollars, to pay for his cavalry fodder.
The commander pockets the money and imme-
diately issues an order to have the horses put
to graze in private meadows. This business of
paying for fodder may be the proper thing in
Europe where army horses cannot be sent to
graze in private fields without loud protest.
Then there are the men. The Mexican armies
treble and quadruple when they figure on paper
in the Treasury of the Ministry of War; and

they dwindle astonishingly when the pay is
actually handed out. The General who certifies
that he has ten battalions under his orders does
not have in reality more than ten skeletons of
battalions. Colonels and Captains, in their
turn, do the same when they report about their
units. All of them eat rations and receive
pay for soldiers who do not exist.
This is by no means an innovation, and 'can-
not be charged to the Government created by
the revolution. Such practice has been the
rule in Mexico from the earliest days of the
republic and it constitutes a national evil that
no one has dared to extirpate. Don Porfirio
himself, despite his autocratic character and his
thirty years of domination, during which there
seemed to be no other will in the country than
his own, was forced, nevertheless, to tolerate
this abuse, and never dared to stop it, although
he must undoubtedly have known that it
Until I visited Mexico I could not account for
the amazing rapidity with which President Diaz
was defeated and driven from power. He had
an army, a real, modern army, similar to that
of any powerful nation. His regiments were

well dressed, well equipped and well organized.
His officers used to go for practical training
to the best military schools of the Old World.
In fact, the regimental bands of some of his
rack corps would occasionally go to Europe
and participate with distinction in international
band tournaments.
His Generals were professional men who had
entered the army to make it their life work.
They were men specially trained in the science
and art of war, and they knew a great deal
more about military matters than all the im-
provised guerrilleros whom the revolution later
honored with the title of General put together.
And yet, as soon as the visionary Madero
changed from preaching to action, and took the
field with his undisciplined hordes who knew as
much about war as he did-and he knew noth-
ing-the entire Federal Army collapsed in
short order. The country had believed in good
faith that the Mexican Army consisted of a
hundred thousand men. The people of Mexico
City saw that the garrison was not very nu-
merous, but they said: "The main body is in
Guadalajara." The people in Guadalajara
were sure the bulk of the army was in Puebla,


and the people in Puebla placed it in Vera
Cruz. Thus one great nucleus after another
was "organized," and everybody was sure a
gigantic army was on hand, though it existed
really only in the purses of the Generals com-
missioned to manage the phantom.
The only person probably who had precise
knowledge of the truth was old Diaz; but he did
not consider a popular uprising as within the
range of possibility. He never dreamed that
Madero, whom he took for a crazy young chap,
could ever put a revolution through. The only
danger that occurred to him was an attempt
of the Generals to revolt, the way he himself
had risen against the President of his time. It
was in view of such a contingency that he was
willing to wink at everything, letting his Gen-
erals steal to their hearts' content.
Of the 100,000 men for years and years pro-
vided for in the Mexican war budget Diaz's
Generals, recognized experts in strategy, could
put in the field only 14,000,'in addition to the
detached corps kept as garrisons in the. big
towns. That is the sole explanation of the
rapidity with which Diaz was overthrown and
of the sad r6le played by an army which he

had showered with attentions, favors and good
pay for thirty years, the moment it came in
contact with the disorganized mobs of the

The Verb "to Carranza"
As I remarked, Don Pablo Gonzalez has been
in command of larger contingents of men, in
times of peace as well as in times of war, than
any other General of the revolution. His ene-
mies keep busy, therefore, computing the
height of the mountains of forage he has con-
sumed and the number of thousands of soldiers
the General has recruited in his own imagi-
Such malicious speculations, which may be
quite erroneous, though they appear in part
justified by the unexplainable fortune of Don
Pablo, are not surprising. What man of promi-
nence in Mexico has not been accused of graft?
The Mexican people is fond of broad generali-
zations. To save itself the annoyance of mak-
ing nice distinctions it includes everybody in
one sweeping judgment and calls "thief" after
all the people ever connected with the Govern-

The venerable Carranza has not escaped such
charges by any means. They call him the
"First Chief of those who come in the
night." Long ago the wags of the capital be-
gan to use a new verb, "to carranza," the
exact humor of which may not appear in Eng-
lish. "To carranza," in the caf6s and vaude-
ville theaters of Mexico City, means "to steal,"
and you can hear people conjugating it on every
hand: "I carranza, thou carranzest, he car-
ranzas-they all carranza."
For my own part, I believe that such charges
are unfounded. They spring from the intense
passions of politics. Of all the men around
him, Don Venustiano is the one who comes
from a comfortable social station. Not enor-
mously rich, to be sure, he has never known
what poverty is. Before he threw himself into
the revolution he was a country land owner,
a rancher, with a fine piece of property and
splendid herds. Carranza has defects, but
among them I should not be inclined to place
an exaggerated appetite for money. What he
wants is power, control over men, the privi-
lege of being first wherever he is. And when

such an ambition is dominant in people it does
not leave them time for making money; but it
often induces an otherwise honest man to toler-
ate, and even to protect, the thieving of
Don Venustiano had to keep the people about
him satisfied. He was anxious to gather round
him all those who might eventually be of use
to him as men of combat. Himself a man of
unbending pride, he had to swallow the inso-
lence and foster the vices of his retainers. Un-
der his protecting wing a great deal of stealing
went on. There is no question about that. At
times the old rancher, remembering how angry
he used to get when somebody stole one of his
cows, would rise in his wrath, and talk of hav-
ing the whole crowd of grafters shot. A mo-
ment's thought, however, was enough to remind
him that in that case he might be left all alone.
He would end by coming to an understanding
with the culprit he had caught. If Carranza
had insisted on the strict enforcement of the
moral code he would have fallen long before
he did. More probably, he would never have
become President at all.


Story of the Diplomat's New Auto
People in Mexico City told me a story of his
first days in office when he had just entered
the capital as conqueror. A diplomatic rep-
resentative had come to pay his respects to the
President, and left a splendid automobile which
he had just bought, in the court yard of the
Executive Mansion. On going out after the
interview the diplomat looked for his beauti-
fully painted car in vain. The soldiers of the
Presidential Guard relieved his anxiety. One
of the most loyal-and most feared-Generals
of the President had got into the car and or-
dered the chauffeur to drive off.
The diplomat thought some mistake had been
made and reported the matter to Don Venu-
stiano. The President immediately sent an Ad-
jutant to ,the barracks, where the General, to
keep in closer contact with a regiment of
soldiers from the provinces who followed him
blindly everywhere, was living. The Presiden-
tial emissary could not have been welcomed
more warmly.
"Say, go back and tell the old man," thun-

dered the rustic Mars, "that I have been look-
ing for an automobile like that for a long time,
and I am going to keep it. What does he think
we made the revolution for? What does he
think we made him President for? And if he
doesn't like that, tell him to come and get this
flivver himself .. and I will lick the stuffing
out of him."
Don Venustiano is a man of some "pep"
himself. When he got that message he flew into
a rage and started toward the door as though
he really meant to go and get the automobile
in person. But then he stopped and began to
stroke his white flowing beard. "After all, I
am President of the republic ." So he or-
dered another automobile, exactly like the one
the diplomat had lost, and had it sent to the
Don Pablo Gonzalez was the man really re-
sponsible for President Carranza's fall. The
"old man" always had the highest esteem for
the General and gave him the best commands
in the army. But the perpetual "General in
Active Service" wanted to become President;
and since Carranza, with his characteristic

stubbornness, insisted on pushing the can-
didacy of Bonillas, Don Pablo finished by be-
coming the President's enemy.
While I was still in Mexico, and a long time
after Obregon placed himself in open revolt,
the General was maintaining a doubtful atti-
tude toward what was going on. No one
thought it possible that Don Pablo would ever
start an uprising himself. But it was just as
far from everybody's thought that he would
ever favor a rebellion started by some one else.
Don Pablo is not the kind of man to strike
the first blow. Respectable, prudent people
never do such things. They leave it to the
Obregons. But the General is the sort of per-
son quite willing to strike the second blow,
when his enemy, thrown off his balance, is
least expecting attack from a new direction.
Gonzalez is a man who looks before he leaps
-but he leaps at the right moment.
Had it not been for the intervention of this
respectable and prudent chieftain on the side
of the rebellion Carranza would be still, at the
present moment, in his mansion in Mexico City,
giving orders to faithful Generals to combat
Obregon and Obregon's partisans.


How Carranza's Plans Went Awry
The history of the recent overturn, which has
not yet come to a close, may be summarized
briefly as follows: Carranza tried to impose
his candidate Bonillas on Mexico as a whole,
planning then to overwhelm Sonora, where the
center of the Obregonist movement was located.
In Sonora an active campaign against the
President was on foot, but before all the prepa-
rations were complete Carranza started to nag
the rebellious State and trample on its au-
tonomous rights. His purpose was to provoke
a premature explosion of the revolutionary
Sonora finally rose in revolt, and Carranza
in his turn caught Obregon off guard, and was
thinking of putting the General in a safe place,
at a time when, as he thought, the Presidential
orders would still be respected. However,
Obregon got away, and his partisans in the
army began to mutiny, but obviously without
collusion with one another and with an indis-
putable lack of unity. It was a spontaneous
uprising, every one acting on his own initiative,
as happens in a powerful party, which, at a

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