Thursday, May 21, 2020

President Carranza of Mexico is Killed in Puebla Mountains -- May 21, 2020

Grand Forks Herald, 22-May-1920
100 years ago today, on 21-May-1920, Venustiano Carranza, the President of Mexico, after being driven out of Mexico City by Álvaro Obregón, was assassinated or committed suicide after being attacked in Tlaxcalantongo.


Number of His Companions
Also Reported to be Dead


Indications Are That Men
Carranza Took With Him
Suddenly Revolted.

Policy of United States Regarding New Government
Is Much in Doubt.

El Paso, Tex., May 22. -- (By the Associated Press) -- President Carranza of Mexico was assassinated by his own men, according to a telegram from General Alvaro Obregon of Mexico City, received by revolutionary agents here today.

Washington, May 22. -- An official dispatch received by one of the embassies here from a diplomatic representative in Mexico City also reports the death of Carranza but gives no details.

El Paso, Tex., May 22. -- (By the Associated Press) -- Carranza was killed by troops under General Rodolfo Herrera, former federal soldier of the Diaz regime, the message from Obregon stated. The assassination was reported to have taken place at Tlaxcalantongo, Puebla, yesterday.

Mexico City, May 22. -- (By the Associated Press) -- President Venustiano Carranza, who, with a small party of followers, has been a fugitive In the mountains of Puebla since late last week, was killed at Tlaxcalantongo early Thursday morning, according to official announcement here. His companions, the names of whom are unknown, also were killed.


General Rodolfo Herrera, it is said, directed the attack. He belonged to forces commanded by General Franciso Mariel, who accompanied Carranza in his flight from this city. but who last week deserted Carrera and joined the revolutionists.

There is some uncertainty regarding the exact affiliation of General Herrera. He was in rebellion against Carranza for several years, centering his operations in the state of Puebla. He surrendered last month to General Mariel, who was in command of government forces in that state.


When General Mariel went over to the revolutionists last week, a portion of his troops, it is known, remained loyal to the president and belief exists that Carranza might have taken along with him in his flight toward Tuxpan, Herrera's forces, which finally turned against him. Tlaxcalantongo is a small village in the northern "panhandle"- of the state of Puebla. It Is approximately 85 miles from San Andres, where Carranza left his forces and took refuge in the mountains.

The official announcement was given out at 10:30 o'clock last night from the headquarters of General Alvaro Obregon.

El Paso, Tex., May 22. -- Carranza's chief followers, who were with him when he died, addressed a message to General Pablo Gonzales, protesting the assassination of their chief. This message was transmitted here by Obregon with his answer.

The Carranza leaders said Carranza was made a prisoner and cowardly assassinated at the cry i. of "Viva Obregon" by Col. Rodolfo and his men.

Some Men Safe.

Mexico City, May 22. -- (By the Associated Press) -- Reports received here early this morning state that General Juan Barragan, chief of the presidential staff; Ygnacio Bonillas, former Mexican ambassador at Washington; General Marciano Gonzales and General Federico Montes, who accompanied President Carranza in his flight from San Andres, are safe. No mention is made of the others in the party which it is believed included Luis Cabrera, minister of the treasury; Alfonso Cabrera, his brother, governor of Puebla, and General Francisco Murguia, who acted as commander of the Carranza troops after the president had fled from this city.

Orders have been given, that a train be taken to Beristain, the nearest railway point, to Tlaxcalantongo, to receive the bodies killed in the encounter in which President Carranza lost his life.


Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico, May 22 -- Forces of General Arrieta who has not yet recognized the revolutlon, numbering 200 cavalry, under Colonel Laris, yesterday gave battle to revolutionary troops under Genital Miguel Lavega near Canatlan, Durango, General P. Elias Calles announced today. Seven Carranzistas were killed.

U. S. Policy in Doubt

Washington, May 22. -- No report on the death of Carranza had come today from the American embassy in Mexico City and the Associated Press dispatches were the only information before the government here.

If Carranza has been killed, the manner of his death may inject an unlooked for element into the question of recognition of the new government in Mexico. When President Wilson declined to recognize Huerta after the killing of Madero and Suarez, he outlined, and gave notice broad policy that the United States would recognize no governments not based on constitutional authority.

Up to this point the, Mexican revolution has been marked by an absence of fighting and the question of whether the revolutionary forces might be recognized has been left for later development.

If it were to be found that Carranza was killed in a coup d'etat, the question of recognition of the new government probably would go back to President Wilson's originally outlined policy. If he were killed in battle with the revolutionists, it probably would still be a question as to whether the recognition of his successors came within the policy laid down seven years ago.

The details of the Mexican president's death will have to be known fully before the state department makes any decision which would bear on the question of recognition, which probably would not be taken up at all until after elections in Mexico.

Recalling the president's attitude, revolutionary agents here were frankly concerned and took immediate steps to learn details that would clear up the manner of Carranza's death.

Succeeded Huerta.

Venustiano Carranza, elected president of Mexico March 11, 1917, by the largest vote ever cast in a presidential election in his country, stepped from political obscurity to national and international prominence on the graves of the hopes of General Victoriano Huerta, the usurper, and his followers.

"Madero's revolution was political," Carranza is quoted, as having said. "Mine is a social one."

Born of parents in comfortable circumstances in Cuatro Cienagas, state of Coahuila, December 29, 1859, Venustiano Carranza was educated in the public schools of his native state and later studied law at the Mexican capital. When he was admitted to the bar, however, affection of the eyes prevented him from practicing and he returned to his native state to become a rancher. His experiences as a rancher first, then as judge, senator and finally governor of Coahuila, made Carranza familiar with the agrarian problem, the root of political unrest in Mexico.

Allied With Villa.

Shortly afterward Independent revolutionists led by Zapata, General Pascual Orosco and others commenced. Dissension between Villa and Carranza, which began at the Torreon conference, reached a climax September 23, 1914, when Villa declared war on Carranza. General Alvaro Obregon became Carranza's leading general.

The Villa generals met at Aguascalientes in November, 1914, and, in alliance with the Zapata faction, formed a. conventionist government. The capital changed hands several times' and was not finally taken by General Obregon until the summer of 1915.

The beginning of the end of the Villa-Zapata party as a military power followed swiftly the heavy defeats of Villa by General Alvaro Obregon. Villa was forced to give up Torreon and concentrate his dwindling forces in northern Chihuahua and eastern Sonora, making occasional forays and raids, which culminated In the attack on Columbus, N. M., that resulted in the invasion of Mexican territory by General Pershing.

Trouble With U. S.

In the diplomatic exchanges that ensued between President Wilson and Carranza, who had been officially recognized as the head of the de facto government by the United States in October, 1915, he insisted on the respect by the United States of Mexico's sovereignty and the concession to his government, of reciprocal rights of invasion. He maintained his position despite the crisis caused by the clashes between Mexican and American soldiers at Parral and Carrizal, but when war seemed unavoidable Carranza succeeded in stemming the tide by his proposal for the appointment of a joint commission to settle the difficulties amicably. The proposal accepted by President Wilson and the deliberations of the commission resulted in the withdrawal of the American army and the restoration of friend1y relations between the two countries.

In the meantime Carranza had called a constitutional congress, which accepted most of the reform he outlined. On March 11, 1917, he was elected president. More than 1,500,000 votes were cast for him. He took the oath of office May 1, 1917.

Favored Germany

In a message to the Mexican congress, following his inauguration as president, Carranza declared Mexico's "strict" neutrality. His note to neutral nations, however, urging them to declare embargoes against all the European belligerents, as a means of ending the war, and in the warmth of his language in congratulating Emperor William on the occasion of his last birthday, aroused comment in the United States, as did also the publication of the Zimmerman note, inviting Mexico to take "by conquest" the states of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico in payment for a declaration of war on the United States acting in concert with Japan.

General Carranza was married and formerly lived in Saltillo. One of his daughters, Miss Virginia Carrano, became the wife of General Candido Aguilar.

Grand Forks Herald, 22-May-1920

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