Mexico as It Is

[The conclusion drawn from the facts here given represents the author’s personal convictions and is based upon existing conditions, without special regard to continuous relations of the United States with Latin-American countries. The interesting summary of the facts themselves may be accepted by Americans of all shades of opinion concerning our Mexican policy. — THE EDITORS.]

I

IT seems that a crucial point has been reached in the relations between the United States and Mexico.

The ad interim government of General Victoriano Huerta, which succeeded that of Señor Madero, has not been recognized by the Washington government, and this fact has caused, in pro-administration circles in Mexico, a certain degree of resentment, which is the keener in that practically all the European nations, from England to the diminutive republic of San Marino, have accorded recognition to the new régime in this country. The

state of official feeling on the subject was manifested by the announcement of President Huerta that the presence in Mexico of Mr. John Lind, President Wilson’s unofficial representative, was not desired unless he brought with him proper diplomatic credentials, and a formal recognition of the administration now in power here 1 as a government de jure as well as de facto.

For nearly three years now Mexico has been in the throes of revolution. It is an ominous fact that the long peace which General Porfirio Diaz had given to his country was broken in the very year in which Mexico celebrated the centenary of her emancipation from Spain, and soon after the termination of the festivities with which that event was commemorated, festivities attended by special embassies from the United States and the chief European nations. Hidalgo raised the cry of revolt against Spain in September, 1810. The revolution which finally overthrew General Porfirio Diaz broke out in November, 1910. Here, apparently, was disheartening evidence that a century of independent life had not cured Mexico of the revolutionary habit.

For some time before the outbreak of the revolution of 1910, certain classes of the population had chafed under the mild paternalism of Diaz, and this impatience rose precisely in proportion as the rule of the aged statesman became more lenient. It is not necessary to inquire how far the promoters of this discontent were sincere and how far they were actuated by motives of selfish personal ambition and greed. Señor Francisco I. Madero, whom social and pecuniary prominence marked out for the leadership of the movement, was, I am convinced, an idealist, personally disinterested and inspired by motives—no doubt mistaken motives — of the purest patriotism.

Both Señor Madero and his followers contended that Mexico was now fully fit for the advanced type of democracy outlined in her Constitution, and that her people were qualified to exercise the political rights from which, it was alleged, General Diaz was debarring them.

Subsequent events do not seem to have borne out these contentions. The truth is that Mexico’s greatest misfortune is that she adopted a constitution unsuited to her needs and to the genius and character of her people. The instrument in question dates from the year 1857, when feeling ran high between Clericals and Liberals. The latter, having for the time the upper hand, and admiring the greatness of the United States, but lacking a philosophical insight into the causes of that greatness, patterned the new Mexican Constitution very largely on the Constitution of the United States, overlooking the fact, that the Mexican people, of whom eighty per cent are still illiterate, could not be expected to make an intelligent use of a political system devised for the most advanced and enlightened of modern democracies.

General Porfirio Diaz undoubtedly realized the inadaptability to Mexico’s needs of the Constitution of 1857. But not even he, with all the immense authority which he at one time wielded, ever ventured to propose a radical reform of that Constitution, so as to do away with the Federal system and establish in its stead a strong centralized government, with a restricted suffrage. And he did not venture on this step, because he knew that to the Liberals of Mexico the Constitution of 1857 has ever been a fetish, and that to attempt to modify it radically, even though avowedly it remained largely a dead letter, would be to precipitate a civil war.

De facto. General Diaz did establish a strong centralized government, and, as for popular suffrage, he practically nullified it. But where the facts and theories of government are in chronic conflict, there can be no enduring political peace. A clamor will be raised from time to time for the strict enforcement of the Constitution, and reproaches will be launched against the government for its non-observance. Such, in effect, was the outcry that gave force to the movement headed by Señor Madero.

The masses of the people in many states of the Federation had been estranged from the Diaz administration by a long experience of local oppression and exactions. So far as they were concerned, the Diaz government was good in vain, if they felt few or none of its benefits. And here was illustrated another of the drawbacks of contradiction between the theories and facts of government. For, where a constitution gives a people in theory the amplest liberties, of which, nevertheless, they are incapable of availing themselves in practice, the result will be that, de facto, they will enjoy no other liberties but such as their rulers choose to grant them. The authorities, from highest to lowest, will be a law to themselves. In Mexico there has been no more prolific source of discontent than the endless arbitrarinesses of the petty local caiques known as jefes politicos. General Diaz did, from time to time, correct the more flagrant of such abuses when brought to his notice. But he never took radical measures for the extirpation of the evil; and this must be accounted one of the weak points of his administration. He may have felt, particularly in his later years, that the task was beyond him.

Be that as it may, the discontent of the people, provoked by local irregularities, favored the propaganda of Señor Madero. Traveling from end to end of the country, he delivered public speeches in which the Diaz administration was denounced with extreme and unjust violence. Arrested, at last, for sedition, at Monterey in June, 1910, and removed to the city of San Luis Potosi, he was later admitted to bail and escaped into Texas in October, 1910, to make the final preparations for his revolution. But before his arrest, the purposes of his propaganda had been accomplished, for, from Sonora to Yucatan, the common people had been made to believe that General Diaz was responsible not only for the local abuses of which they justly complained but even for the limitations of their individual lot, and had been led to look for almost millennial conditions when the Diaz administration should be overthrown. This hallucination gained even on the more educated classes, and when the Madero revolution won its first successes in the State of Chihuahua, it was said that ninety per cent of the population were either open or secret partisans of the movement.

General Diaz resigned the Presidency on May 25, 1911. He was in a position to have kept up the struggle, for the bulk of the army was still loyal and the exchequer was full. But he was aware of the strength of popular sentiment, for the time being, in favor of Señor Madero; he sincerely wished to obviate further bloodshed; and he was also moved by the consciousness that, if he held out, his tenacity would be attributed not to a desire to restore order, for the country’s good, but to a selfish reluctance to relinquish the power which he had so long wielded. ‘I resign the more readily,’ he said in his note to the Chamber of Deputies, ‘in that, by retaining office, I should be exposing the country to further bloodshed, to the loss of its credit, to the destruction of its wealth, to the extinction of its activities and the risk of international complications.’ There was dignity, and pathos, in the closing words of the note: —

‘ I hope, Messrs. Deputies, that, when the passions excited by this as by all revolutions shall have subsided, an ampler and more dispassionate survey will lead to a truer estimate of my acts. allowing me, when I die, to carry with me the consoling sense that I have in the end been understood by my countrymen, to whose welfare I have devoted and will continue to devote my entire energies.’

Immediately after his resignation, General Diaz left the city and sailed for France, where he has since chiefly resided.

Thus the best administration which Mexico had ever known came to an end. It had defects and shortcomings; but, in any event, seeing that Mexico had borne the Diaz dictatorship for thirty years, and had derived undeniable advantages from it, was it worth while, when, in the nature of things, it was bound soon to come to an end, to sacrifice all those advantages, which were real and positive, for the sake of shadowy and chimerical benefits, none of which has, in point of fact, been attained? The responsibility of Señor Madero, in this connection, at the bar of Mexican history, is unquestioned.

General Diaz was succeeded by Señor Francisco L. de la Barra, some time ambassador of Mexico at Washington, who held office as ad interim President, pending elections. These were held on October 1, 1911, with the result that Señor Madero was elevated to the supreme magistracy by the almost unanimous choice of his fellow countrymen. He took the oath of office on November 6, 1911.

The history of Señor Madero’s brief administration is a signal confutation of the illusion that the character of a people and the broad facts which make the governments of the earth what they are can be changed by a sudden upheaval such as an armed revolution. If Señor Madero was candid, he must, soon after his inauguration, have formed a juster appreciation of the difficulties against which Porfirio Diaz had had to contend and have been disposed to view with greater tolerance the shortcomings of the Diaz administration.

The elevation to power of a legally elected President, far from putting an end to the revolution, seemed to throw the country into worse disorder.

In his eagerness to overthrow the Diaz régime, Señor Madero had accepted the coöperation of very promiscuous elements. And the results were what might have been expected.

Some of the revolutionary leaders, little better than freebooters, were not willing, once their atavic appetite for a life of adventure had been whetted, to return to peaceful avocations, simply because Señor Madero, having attained his object, wanted them to.

Other leaders, of a higher stamp, felt that the recognition of their services to the cause had been inadequate. It is always so in the Latin-American republics. Their revolutions breed a race of caudillos, for whom the victorious party have to provide and who rate their own deserts high.

Then jealousies and divisions sprang up among the intellectual leaders of the maderista revolution, resulting in open estrangement between Señor Madero and the Vázquez Gomez brothers, who, by not a few of the revolutionists, were considered factors in the movement almost as important as Señor Madero himself.

Emiliano Zapata and his followers, in the State of Morelos, alleging that they had been led to expect an immediate distribution of the land, and, when they found out that no such confiscatory policy was contemplated, declaring that they had been grossly duped, continued their campaign of pillage and murder.

In the State of Chihuahua, Pascual Orozco, Jr., who had been Madero’s chief lieutenant in the anti-Diaz movement, headed a formidable insurrection against his former chief, and although he was defeated in the regular engagements, his forces broke up into small groups which gave infinite trouble to the government by their harassing guerilla tactics in a mountainous country.

In the State of Durango petty leaders or cabecillas, who had supported Madero, now turned their arms against him, asserting that the promises of the revolution of 1910 had remained unfulfilled.

To mention all the sporadic disorders in other states, in nearly every case started by former supporters of Señor Madero, would be an interminable task. Suffice it to say that, when Señor Madero ceased to represent the idea of rebellion, and came, as President, to represent the ideas of authority, law, and order, he found arrayed against him the very forces which he had brought into existence to combat and overthrow General Diaz. He found that he had his own revolution on his hands! Never was retribution more swift or striking.

It must be owned that Señor Madero, as President, started out with a sincere and honest endeavor to govern according to the Constitution. But seldom has a sorrier travesty of democracy been witnessed. Elections were followed by interminable recriminations, and charges and counter-charges of fraud and intimidation; sometimes, too, by the open revolt of the defeated candidates. Governors of states refused to make way for their duly elected successors, and barricading themselves with their followers in the executive mansion, defied the agents of the law to oust them. Other disappointed aspirants to office importuned President Madero, against the clear precepts of the law, to help them set aside electoral results. The Mexicans seem at present to lack that virtue which is the sine qua non in a democracy — the faculty of acquiescing in the will of the majority until the next election gives them another chance of obtaining a reversal of the popular verdict.

Then, some adherents of the former administration, who had looked apathetically on while the Diaz régime was tottering to its fall, took advantage of the unlimited liberty which President Madero afforded to the Mexican press, to found opposition newspapers, in which, day by day, his administration was violently assailed and the army was openly invited to repudiate the constituted government.

The administration of Señor Madero being an accomplished fact, patriotism, it should seem, ought to have dictated to enlightened Mexicans the duty of giving to that administration at least the support necessary to enable it to carry on the fundamental work of government.

But opposition in Latin America knows little of this sacrifice of personal sentiments to the public good. The adversaries of President Madero aimed simply at rendering his position untenable and bringing about his downfall, regardless of consequences. They did not, apparently, reflect that a legally constituted government, however deficient, can seldom be overthrown by violent means, without bringing on the country evils greater than those which it is sought to remedy.

And when the deficiencies of Señor Madero’s government are mentioned, the question arises whether they are not largely another name for the difficulties thrown in his way by his enemies. He failed not so much because his administration was deficient as because the Mexican people were not prepared for the régime of ample liberty which he sought to give them.

II

Two military uprisings, properly so called, against the Madero government had preceded that of which Mexico City was the theatre last February.

One was started in the North of the Republic in December, 1911, by General Bernardo Reyes, former Governor of the State of Nuevo León, and Minister of War in General Diaz’s Cabinet from 1900 to 1902. But this movement was wholly abortive, and its leader, recognizing the utter collapse of his attempt, voluntarily surrendered to the government and was placed in confinement.

The other military insurrection occurred in October, 1912, at the port of Vera Cruz, and was headed by General Felix Diaz, a nephew of Porfirio Diaz. This second uprising was more formidable than the first, but it, too, failed. The city of Vera Cruz was recaptured by loyal forces and Felix Diaz was taken prisoner.

According to precedent and established usage in Mexico, the leaders of these movements, when once captured, would have met with short shrift. But Señor Madero adhered consistently to his principles, and to those who advised him to take summary measures, he replied that the prisoners should have the full benefit of the law.2

In February last both General Bernardo Reyes and General Felix Diaz were being held as prisoners in different penal establishments of the capital. In the early morning hours of Sunday, the 9th of that month, they were liberated by their partisans from their several places of confinement, and at the head of some forces of the garrison and some civilian adherents, they started a new military uprising against the government of Señor Madero.

The attack on the National Palace failed, owing to the loyal attitude of General Lauro Villar, the military commandant, who rallied the vacillating troops, and General Reyes was shot and killed during the assault.

General Felix Diaz, at the head of the remainder of his forces, then proceeded to the Ciudadela or Arsenal, stormed it and threw up barricades in the adjoining streets.

During the next ten days — the Decena Trágica, as it has been called — the capital was swept by shot and shell, in encounters between the loyal forces and the insurgents.

The Government failed to capture the Ciudadela, and the way in which hostilities were finally brought to an end on February 18, by a compact between General Victoriano Huerta, the Federal commander, and General Felix Diaz, the leader of the rebels, is still fresh in the memory of all who have been following Mexican events.

President Madero and Vice-President Pino Suarez were deposed, made prisoners, and met with a violent death while being transferred in automobiles from the National Palace to the penitentiary during the night of February 22 last.

General Victoriano Huerta, by the designation of Congress, assumed the provisional Presidency of the Republic.

And thus tragically ended this latest experiment of civilian rule in Mexico. With the single exception of President Juarez, no civilian executive in Mexico has succeeded in maintaining his hold on power. And Porfirio Diaz was up in arms against Juarez when the latter died in 1872.

It is, indeed, unfortunate for the future of civil rule in Mexico, that the first civilian president for many years (the last previous one, Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada, was expelled by the Tuxtepec Revolution headed by General Porfirio Diaz in 1876) was not a man of greater tact and ability, and of stronger character, than Señor Madero, for the disastrous result of the latter’s presidency will naturally confirm the belief that none but a military man can govern Mexico.

A pathetic interest, in view of the circumstances of President Madero’s overthrow, attaches to the following passage of his message to the Mexican Congress, at the opening of its spring sessions on April 1, 1912: —

‘I desire to be allowed at this moment, solemn by reason of the circumstances, solemn by reason of the place where we are gathered together, to raise my voice in praise of our military men, who, from the humblest soldier to the highest officer, have demonstrated to the world that the Army of Mexico is no longer a sort of prætorian guard, making and unmaking governments and filling the country with sorrow and ignominy, but an organization of selfdenying upholders of legality who make use of the arms which the Republic has placed in their hands for no other purpose than to defend the law and maintain the national honor unimpaired.’

Señor Madero should have remembered and applied, mutatis mutandis, Solon’s famous answer to Crœsus.

But, however the revival of a prætorianism, characteristic of the days of Bustamante and Paredes, may have been regarded by thinking Mexicans, the great majority, in Mexico City at any rate, bowed to the accomplished fact and hoped that President Huerta would, at least, give the country the earnestly desired boon of peace. General Huerta himself declared, on taking office, that to that end all his efforts would be bent.

Unfortunately, after the lapse of six months, the object in question has not yet been attained.

The State of Sonora was the only one which in its sovereign capacity as a member of the Federation, by the united action of its executive and legislature, refused to recognize the Huerta régime. But, in addition, the Governor of Coahuila, Don Venustiano Carranza, revolted, and insurrectionary movements of greater or less importance are or have been on foot in the other northern States, viz., Chihuahua, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas. The Constitutionalists, as the new revolutionists call themselves, are in complete possession of the State of Sonora, with the exception of the port of Guaymas, and all efforts of General Pedro Ojeda, the Federal commander, to advance northwards from that port, with a view to recovering Hermosillo, the state capital, have hitherto proved unavailing.

The strength of the rebels in the other northern states is variously judged. In the early stages of the uprising against the government of General Huerta, the Constitutionalists made repeated efforts to capture Saltillo, the capital of the State of Coahuila, but they were repulsed on every occasion. On the other hand, they took and still hold the border city of Ciudad Porfirio Diaz, in that state. In the State of Tamaulipas, the rebels captured the port of Matamoros, but have since, it seems, been driven out.

As I write news comes of a determined attempt of the Constitutionalists to take the city of Torreón, the emporium of the rich cotton-growing region of La Laguna, an attempt which, so far, seems to have failed.

But one unwelcome fact speaks for itself. The first measure of the Constitutionalists, in inaugurating their movement against the Huerta administration, was to cut the railway lines between this city and the American border, and they have so far baffled every effort of the Federals to reëstablish communication by either the Laredo or the El Paso route.

It is possible to discern, beneath the apparent cause of the Constitutionalist uprising, a deeper, more fundamental, more abiding cause, which is the growing disparity between the northern states and the rest of the Republic. Because of their proximity and facilities for intercommunication with the United States, the inhabitants of the northern Mexican states have developed characteristics differentiating them, to some extent, from other Mexicans. They are more enterprising, more selfreliant and independent, have greater political capacity than the inhabitants of the central and southern states. The northern movement is not yet a secessionist movement, notwithstanding gratuitous statements to that effect in some of the Mexico City newspapers; but it may develop into one, unless the conflict be brought to a prompt termination.

Armed opposition to the Huerta régime has not, however, been confined to the northern states. Among other states in which rebel movements have occurred or are still in progress may be mentioned: Durango — the rebels took and still hold the state capital; Zacatecas— the rebels captured the state capital, but afterwards abandoned it; San Luis Potosi — the insurgents have repeatedly cut the railway line connecting the state capital with the important port of Tampico; Michoacán — towns of some importance, such as Uruapan and Pátzcuaro, have more than once fallen into rebel hands; Guerrero — much raiding and capturing of small towns by surprise; Campeche — the Governor, Señor Castilla Brito, revolted, but has since taken refuge in the United States owing to the collapse of his movement; besides minor or sporadic disturbances in Jalisco, Vera Cruz, Puebla, State of Mexico, Oaxaca, and elsewhere.

In addition, the Huerta government has the chronic zapatista movement on its hands. The zapatistas have been described as brigands, pure and simple, and owing to their excesses, there is some ground for this designation; but there is more in the movement than mere brigandage; it is a protest against the malignant type of landlordism that prevails in the State of Morelos, a semi-tropical State in which the large sugar plantations have constantly encroached on and absorbed the smaller holdings and the lands of the townships. The movement, then, is essentially agrarian and in certain of its features resembles the Jacquerie of France in the fourteenth century. It is a movement by itself and quite independent, at present, of other insurrectionary disturbances, although it began (March, 1911) in connection with the maderista revolution, when Emiliano Zapata, a small ranchero of Morelos, with a handful of followers at the start, rose in arms against the government of Diaz.

While the focus of the zapatista movement is the State of Morelos, it shifts, when hard pressed there, into portions of the States of Puebla, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Mexico. Only within the last few days zapatista bands have made successful incursions into the Federal District and have looted haciendas within a few miles of the Federal Capital.

The most drastic measures, including the Weylerian system of concentration, the razing of towns and villages, the deportation of the male inhabitants and their drafting into the army for service in the distant State of Sonora, have hitherto failed to put an end to the zapatista movement, and the problem will be a most arduous one for any government to solve.

Such, in its broad out lines, is the condition of affairs which General Huerta has to face with a depleted treasury.

The financial problem, indeed, is one of the most delicate features of the situation.

That one of the chief merits of the Diaz régime was the excellence of its financial administration, not even its enemies venture to deny. The finances of the country were handled with consummate skill by Diaz’s Finance Minister, Señor José Yves Limantour; and even when Diaz resigned, after six months of revolution, the credit of Mexico was almost unimpaired on the European bourses and there was still a surplus in the treasury of over 62,000,000 pesos.3

But the edifice reared by the genius and probity of Limantour is now in ruins.

The budget of expenditure for the current fiscal year is 141,156,331 pesos, and it must be remembered that in the palmiest days of the Diaz régime, when foreign capital was coming hither in large quantities for investment, when new industries were constantly being established, when commerce, both foreign and domestic, was active and all the railway lines were in operation, Federal disbursements never amounted to 100,000,000 pesos. Prior to the revolution of 1910, the most considerable expenditure of the Federation in any one fiscal year was in 1909-1910, — 95,028,650 pesos. Federal receipts under the Diaz administration reached high-water mark in 1906-1907, — 114,286,122 pesos.

The increased disbursements at present are due, of course, to the exigencies of military operations against the rebels and the maintenance of a larger standing army — 80,000 men — than Mexico ever had before. The War Department absorbs thirty-one per cent of the current year’s Budget.

But how is the necessary revenue to be raised, when the investment of foreign capital has been curtailed, when industrial development has shrunk, when imports and exports have dwindled, when perhaps fifty per cent of the country’s total railway mileage of 12,859 miles is out of commission, when important revenue-producing districts are held by the rebels?

Additional taxation can be resorted to only within comparatively narrow limits, unless new and dangerous discontents are to be provoked. Obviously, then, Mexico’s only expedient for the time being is to borrow.

She has, in effect, adjusted with Paris bankers a loan of £16,000,000. But of this sum only £6,000,000 was underwritten outright, the balance being subject to options, and it seems there is some doubt whether the syndicate will take up those options. Their hesitancy is due in part to the continuance of disturbed conditions in Mexico, in part to American non-recognition, in part to the stringency of the European money-markets, but chiefly, it seems, to the desire of the French government that no foreign issue shall stand in the way of the war-loan which France herself is about to launch.

Furthermore, only a small part of the £6,000,000 which Mexico received was available for the government’s current needs. Liabilities of £4,000,000 to New York bankers had to be met and other floating indebtedness to be discharged.

Thus, the government of General Huerta, in its efforts to restore peace, is greatly hampered by absolute shortness of funds.

Such, in brief, is the lamentable situation to which this country, so prosperous and respected under the Diaz administration, has been reduced by three years of revolution.

The relations of the United States to this situation may be summed up under the heads of intervention and recognition.

Peaceful intervention or mediation is unacceptable, it seems, to both sides. And armed intervention is too huge an enterprise to be entered on lightly or indeed except in the last resort when every other means shall have been exhausted and no other honorable course is left open. It is not a question how soon an American army of invasion, as in 1847, could reach the capital. If the United States intervene in Mexico, they will become responsible for her to the civilized world for an indefinite period. And Americans in Mexico, who know how heavy that responsibility would be, and how thankless the task, are the first to deprecate a policy of armed intervention on the part of their government, so long as, consistently with safety and honor, it can be avoided.

There is nothing for it, then, if the idea of intervention be discarded, but to give Mexico time to work out her vexed internal problems and fight out her internal quarrels. This, of course, entails inconvenience on the United States, and losses to American citizens having interests in Mexico. But for a large proportion of the latter ultimate compensation can be obtained, and the former must be borne as the less of two evils. I speak, of course, on the assumption that disorder in Mexico will not become chronic, and that she will not be so unwise as deliberately to give to the United States provocation such as no self-respecting nation could tolerate.

The question of recognition by the United States of the Huerta government is a more complex one. Every Anglo-Saxon must condemn the methods by which President Madero and Vice-President Pino Suarez were deposed, and to put the matter as gently as possible, must regret that the provisional government of General Huerta did not take greater precautions to safeguard the lives of the two prisoners. But, at the same time, it is manifestly unreasonable to apply Anglo-Saxon standards to conditions in Mexico. As well might one judge by the standards of modern England the deposition and murder of Richard II by Henry of Bolingbroke or the assassination of Prince Edward by the Yorkist chiefs on the field of Tewkesbury. The United States, which, on becoming independent, inherited all the political conquests achieved by the English race through centuries of bloodshed and turmoil, is perhaps prone to judge rather unsympathetically these LatinAmerican republics, which, when they became independent, had had no experience in self-government and which inherited vicious and corrupt ideas of administration, as well as political, politico-religious, economic, ethnical and social problems of the most perplexing and intricate character.

In considering the question of recognition it is fair to remember that constitutional forms were at least observed in the transfer of power to the present executive. And the administration of General Huerta is all that at present stands between Mexico and anarchy. If it were overthrown, the condition of this country would become simply hopeless.

Presidential elections have been set for October 26 next, but it may well happen that the country will not have been sufficiently pacified, by that time, for valid elections to be held, and then the provisional term of General Huerta will have to be prolonged. Foreign residents, including Americans, know that elections held in the present disturbed conditions of the country would not only be an empty form, but also, far from allaying disorder, would fan it into a fiercer blaze of hatred and contention.

General Huerta’s task in any case will be of the most arduous kind, and inasmuch as on its successful accomplishment the well-being of a neighboring nation, still in the formative period and laboring under many difficulties, is at stake, it would seem to many unprejudiced observers in Mexico, a friendly act on the part of the United States to the Mexican people to give to the Huerta government, in the form of recognition, the moral support which it needs in the work before it.

Huerta is winning more and more every day the confidence of the business community and the masses of the people. With the latter, in particular, he is steadily growing in favor. He is a man of the people, accessible to the people; he understands the people and the people understand him. Moreover, he is demonstrating many of the qualities needed in the man who is to rule Mexico. The ease with which he has temporarily eliminated, one by one, the members of the felicista faction recalls the methods of Porfirio Diaz in his most masterful days. Felix Diaz has been sent on a special diplomatic mission to Japan. General Mondragón, the real leader of the felicista uprising, who for a time was Huerta’s War Minister, was compelled to resign and was sent on a government commission to Europe. And so on, with some of the minor lights of the group. Thus, what would in the opinion of many, in the present circumstances, be a disturbing factor, has been removed.

It is almost a truism to say that it is more important that the President of Mexico should have the qualifications necessary to enable him to govern the Mexicans than that, in other respects, he should measure up to Anglo-Saxon standards.

I am not defending either the military uprising of February last or the coup d’état by which it was brought to an end. On the contrary, in principle,

I think that both are severely to be condemned. But I look at things as they are at present and from the standpoint of Mexican conditions, and it seems to me the situation is simply this: Huerta or anarchy.

Such being the case, it seems to follow that the United States should recognize the Huerta régime, not for the sake of Huerta but for the sake of Mexico and the Mexican people, who, as everyone knowing them must concede, are worthy of better destinies than have hitherto been theirs.

  1. The author is a long-time resident of Mexico.
  2. General Felix Diaz, though the nephew of President Porfirio Diaz, was not in sympathy with the latter’s administration. He was always, during the Diaz administration, regarded as an opposition factor; in various ways he encouraged the anti-porfirista sentiment; and it is, perhaps, not too much to say that he contributed indirectly to the downfall of his distinguished uncle. — THE AUTHOR.
  3. A peso is approximately equivalent to fifty cents in American money. — THE EDITORS.