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Reluctant revolutionary: the rocky road of Venustiano Carranza (1859–1920) Jim Tuck

Few people have ever less fitted the conventional image of a revolutionary than Venustiano Carranza. He was a country squire rather than an intellectual, he had been part of a ruling establishment and ... read more

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna (1794–1876): master of chutzpah Jim Tuck

In Norman Rosten's The Joys of Yiddish, the term "chutzpah" is defined as "gall, brazen nerve, effrontery, incredible 'guts'; presumption-plus-arrogance such as no other word ... can do justice to." As... read more

Javier Mina (1789–1818) Jim Tuck

While most of the leaders of Mexico's War of Independence were Mexican-born creoles, an exception was Francisco Javier Mina, whose name today appears on street signs and monuments throughout Mexico. Li... read more

Bartolome de las Casas: father of liberation theology Jim Tuck

Mention liberation theology and images that immediately come to mind are those of 1960s-style antiwar, anti-establishment priests like the Berrigan brothers or, more recently, Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcí... read more

Cuauhtemoc: winner in defeat (1495–1525) Jim Tuck

One of history's recurring ironies is the spectacle of figures who die in defeat or disgrace, but emerge in future generations as heroes while the people who defeated them are downgraded to villains. M... read more

Lerdo de Tejada: Jacobin to liberal elitist Jim Tuck

Timothy Dwight, the fervently reactionary and comically pompous head of Yale University, was a strong Federalist supporter who predicted that the accession of Thomas Jefferson to the presidency would l... read more

The Quetzalcoatl "Trinity" Jim Tuck

It is entirely correct to think of the Aztec legend Quetzalcoatl in three contexts -- as historical personality, as divinity and as literary subject. In the first incarnation he is a 10th century pries... read more

The remarkable life of Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651–1695) Jim Tuck

On the surface, no two people ever appeared more dissimilar than John Stuart Mill and Juana Inés de la Cruz. One was a great rationalist, an apostle of individual liberty, an enemy of dogma and a beli... read more

Usurper: the dark shadow of Victoriano Huerta (1845–1916) Jim Tuck

(Synopsis & Photo) Victoriano Huerta was a man almost too bad to be true. Described by one historian as an "Elizabethan villain," he was a drunkard and repressive dictator who guaranteed himself a... read more

The other (and greater) Moctezuma I Jim Tuck

In a curious irony of history, an epigone frequently becomes better known than his/her illustrious namesake and predecessor. Mention Harold Ickes and most people will think you're talking about Clinton... read more

Lucas Alamán and the Mexican right (1792–1853) Jim Tuck

(This is an expanded version of an article that appeared in the October 18-24, 1997 issue of the COLONY REPORTER)   In 19th century Mexico, most of the intellectuals were firmly on th... read more

The Mexican Revolution - consolidation (1920–40) part 3 Jim Tuck

The next step was to get rid of Calles, who had become increasingly critical of Cárdenas's radicalism. To pre-empt a coup by the former strong man, Cárdenas sent a party of twenty soldiers and eight ... read more

The Mexican Revolution - consolidation (1920–40) part 2 Jim Tuck

His land reform policy reflected the same make-haste-slowly mentality. In his four years of power Obregón distributed three million acres among 624 villages -- hardly a staggering amount but still sev... read more

The Mexican Revolution - consolidation (1920–40) part 1 Jim Tuck

Of the major figures in the 1910-20 phase of the Mexican Revolution, only Alvaro Obregón and Pancho Villa remained. In a strange twist of fate, the counterrevolutionaries --Porfirio Díaz and Victoria... read more

Mexico's marxist guru: Vicente Lombardo Toledano (1894–1968) Jim Tuck

It is no more possible to discuss Marxism in Mexico without referring to Vicente Lombardo Toledano than it is to reminisce about Abbott without mentioning Costello. A teacher, writer, union leader and ... read more

Melchor Ocampo (1814–1861) Jim Tuck

Among critics of the Roman Catholic Church in a country where a vast majority of the citizens are nominal Catholics, the charges most frequently heard are those of worldliness and hypocrisy. Anticleric... read more

Nuño de Guzmán: the Himmler of New Spain (14??–1550) Jim Tuck

In 1984, his epic indictment of Stalinism, George Orwell writes that totalitarian man exercises power over others by making them suffer. Arthur Koestler, another great analyst and foe of Soviet communi... read more

Aztec Hamlet: the tragedy of Moctezuma 2 Jim Tuck

In history, there are innumerable cases of dynasties toppling because of the weakness of incumbents. The incompetence of do-nothing rulers had much to do with the fall of the late Roman Empire. In Fran... read more

Miguel Hidalgo: the Father who fathered a country (1753–1811) Jim Tuck

Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla had the unique distinction of being a father in three senses of the word: a priestly father in the Roman Catholic Church, a biological father who produced illegitimate childre... read more

Agustin Yañez: the engaged man (1904–1980) Jim Tuck

This title has nothing to do with the state of affairs that precedes matrimony. It is intended in the sense of what the French call an homme engagé, literally, a man engaged in a cause or in so... read more

Jeronimo de Aguilar: the marooned priest who speeded the conquest Jim Tuck

This is a story that would have been laughed out of a Hollywood studio had it ever been submitted as script material: that a leading figure in the Spanish Conquest of Mexico was a shipwrecked priest wh... read more

The Mexican Revolution: a nation in flux - part 2 Jim Tuck

Villa broke jail on Christmas Eve and was in El Paso when Huerta engineered the coup that overthrew Madero. In February 1913 Huerta staged a fake 10-day artillery duel with a fake rival, Felix Díaz, n... read more

The first and the best: Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza Jim Tuck

(Viceroy: 1530 - 1550)   The transition from military to civilian rule is not always an easy one. High ranking officers become entrenched in top positions of government and -- as the 1989 fall of th... read more

The Mexican Revolution: a nation in flux - part 1 (1910-20) Jim Tuck

Mexico in September 1910 could be compared to a shiny apple whose glossy skin conceals a putrifying interior. But the corruption underneath was still a secret to the rest of the world. Porfirio Díaz, ... read more

Nezahualcoyotl: Texcoco's philosopher king (1403–1473) Jim Tuck

In the Mesoamerican civilizations that preceded the Spanish Conquest, intellectuals usually derived from the priestly caste rather than from the ranks of warriors and statesmen. But there was one exce... read more
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