Thursday, 30 July 2015



    As with the "most admired" , there are five top finishers in the category of ''historical villains" of Mexico.

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna           10.3%
Porfirio Diaz                                          8.5
Victoriano Huerta                               3.7
Francisco (Pancho) Villa                  1.3
Hernan Cortez                                      1.0

     This list of miscreants is equally complicated.  There are twenty-five per cent of the respondents who brought up the top five.   Notice that the percentages fall rapidly from a little over 10% down to slightly more than one per cent.   That means that over three-quarters of the respondents named people who did not make it up to the  1% level.  Talk about a Chinese fire-drill in a movie theatre.

      But, please take note.  At least one of every ten Mexicans say that the worst of the worst was  Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.   It was not only the losing of a war that he had already won by relaxing his guard against a force nowhere near as large or demonstrably capable as his army.   It had to do as well with the depredations by Santa Anna of the States of Zacatecas and to a lesser extent, Durango.   It had to do with the merciless subjugation of the Yucatan Peninsula....all of this related directly or indirectly to the issues surrounding the Constitucion de 1824, that Santa Anna had once supported, then eschewed when it was time to be Supreme Ruler.
     It is also that these Mexicans know that Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna essentially blunted the southward extension of the American Army outside of Saltillo during the Mexican War with the United States in 1848 (actually the victory belonged to two subordinate field commanders, including Gen. Pedro Ampudia).   They also know that he came towards Mexico City finally amassing a force of some say 80,000 effectives including various national guard units worthy of the name (others say 40,000 - 50,000 would have been more accurate).
     Whichever figure would have been a significant number of troops, and with other elements that could be brought up from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec it could have spelled disaster to an American force that was much smaller and essentially trapped in Mexico City.   Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, however did not attack or even make a bellicose gesture.  His obvious intention was to come in to Mexico City after the departure of the Gringos with a large force, and assume the presidential throne again.

     Lopez de Santa Anna was something very similar to the Clintons.  Thoroughly corrupt, brutally violent, unimpeded by concerns about morality or criminality, mendacious in the extreme, and wholly self-consumed.   The people finally tired of him after a few more minor episodes of hopeful pseudo-grandeur and he was exiled.   He lived in New York City for a time, and then was relegated to the saloons along the harbour and plaza promenades of La Habana de Cuba.   He returned late in life to a dingy apartment in downtown Mexico City, where he died in the cold, forgotten and un-missed.

     The OROG will remember that Porfirio Diaz was on the "good list" coming in at 3%.   He scored much higher on the ''bad list", almost three times more saying that Porfirio was a bad thing for Mexico.  He had a good twenty-year run at being essentially a re-elected dictator.  He re-established law and order, albeit with an iron hand, that caught innocents and misdemeanours, who received the same harsh punishments as the numerous bandits and highwaymen.   He was also accused of "allowing Mexico to become the Mother of Foreigners and step-mother of Mexicans".   This was because of the massive influx of rail, steel, precious metals, glass, liquor and beer, agricultural production that was provoked by British, German, Japanese, French, and other foreign investment.   America was about in third place among the nations in the world making fortunes and building a huge middle class among the Mexicans.
     Another favourite quote of the day, attributed to Porfirio Diaz was the famous line,"Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States."  At the time, it is said, he was showing off the final stages of the building of the Palacio de Bellas Artes, to this day a stunning theatre with a Tiffany glass curtain one-third the size of a football field...curtain being worth perhaps ten million dollars.   As the five-score Italians master marble finishers were winding up their work, they may have heard Diaz make that statement to a delegation of Japanese businessmen.   Some of those later had something to do with the establishment of a beer company that has since become something called "Corona"....the original effort began in the 1890s under the still produced label of "Estrella", long since folded into the Grupo Modelo in the 1920s and now, lamentably, owned by Anhauser-Busch and Hienekins consortia...a Brazilian / Belgian concern that carefully isolates its Mexican business to the local market, and then to the export of Corona to over 150 countries, Texas included.

     Diaz was "overthrown" by an "election".   The elections of 1910 resulted in an absurd vote count, something like 2,000,000 to 134....I forget the precise numbers....and the loser promptly declared that Sufragio Efectivo / NO Re-eleccion!!! would be the unconditional condition for the removal of Don Porfirio from the Presidential Palace.   After some considerable warfare for about one year, Francisco I Madero came in triumphal entry to Mexico City, accompanied by the not-so-rag-tag armies that had defeated a pretty good military organization.   Diaz was given a deluxe train-ride to Vera Cruz and then was placed on a steamer first to Cuba, and then to Spain, where he died.   There is a movement that began not long ago, to repatriate the remains of Porfirio to Mexico, as a way of recognising that he had done far more good than damage during his quarter century of ruling the country with an iron hand.

     Also, suffice it to say that "Sufragio Efectivo'' for women did not happen until after 1952, and as in the case of the Unite States, it solved all the problems at that time and everything has been perfect since that time...just like in the United States.

     As with the previous entry, anyone wishing an early definition of the other personalities not discussed can request such information, given in my own way.  These fellows will be analysed during coming days and weeks in any regard, along with other commentary regarding El Chapo and such things.

We shall return to-morrow.   Thanks as usual for your time and interest.
El Gringo Viejo