2365Manifesto - Villa & Obregon
- Jul 7, 2013
i ADDRESSED BY GENERAL FRANCISCO
VILLA TO THE NATION, AND DOCUMENTS
JUSTIFYING THE DISAVOWAL
OF VENUSTIANO CARRANZA AS FIRST
CHIEF OF THE REVOLUTION
HEADQUARTERS, DIVISION OF THE NORTH,
CHIHUAHUA, September 30, 1914.
^ MANIFESTO TO THE MEXICAN PEOPLE:
| On the overthrow of the democratic government of Sefior Madero, that far-reaching tragic outcome of the revolutionary movement of 1910, the Mexican people set forth s$ anew on the conquest of their liberties, thus demonstrating T* to the nation and to the whole world that our country had turned its back forever on governments set up by violence, ~! CD and that it would henceforth accept and obey only such as " are the expression of the popular will. The word "constitutionalism," stamped on the folds of our tricolor flag, embodies the whole political program of the revolution, and will solve on legal, and therefore stable, bases, those reforms which are aimed at the social and economic betterment of our people. Although the plan of Guadalupe launched by Sefior Venustiano Carranza, at the inception of the revolution against Huerta, offered only the re-establishment of constitutional government, it was nevertheless accepted by the revolutionary leaders, because they believed that the First Chief of the movement favored not only the establishment of a democratic government, but also the implanting of those economic-social reforms indispensable to the real uplifting of the downtrodden classes.
Unfortunately, the subsequent acts and statements of Senor Carranza awakened in the minds of many the fear that the pledges made by the revolution to the people would be brought to naught. The Division of the North, which had been singled out as the victim of the political intrigues of Senor Carranza, fearing, more than any other, the frustration of the revolutionary ideals, proposed at the Torreon Conference, in conjunction with the Division of the Northeast, a Convention established on democratic bases, to compel the First Chief to fulfil the revolutionary program, guaranteeing the creation of a democratic government, and the carrying out of the reforms necessary for the welfare of the people.
Senor Carranza refused to accept the Convention, on the terms proposed at the Torreon Conference, and decided that, on entering the capital of the Republic, the Constitutionalist Army should summon a meeting of generals and state governors, to take up the study of the political and social problems of the revolution.
If the Division of the North had lost faith in the First Chief, it could not enter an assembly whose members were in fact designated by him, since in him lay the power of conferring the rank of general and appointing the governors, thus assuring to himself, under all conditions, a majority of votes.
When Senor Carranza took possession of the city of Mexico, thanks to the triumph of the revolutionary arms, in which public opinion today has already accorded, and history of tomorrow will accord, the Division of the North its true deserts, there was soon seen the purpose of Senor Carranza to remain in power for an indefinite time, and to govern with an absolutism unparalleled in our history, f The First Chief declined to assume the title of President ad interim, due him, according to the Plan of Guadalupe, and which would have placed him under certain constitutional restraints; he retained only that of First Chief of the Constitutionalist Army, "in charge of the Executive Power." He changed the formula of the constitutional oath of office. He named no cabinet officers, as required by the constitution, leaving the various administrative departments in charge of subordinate officials. He assumed, in his own person, the three constitutional powers, suppressing all judicial authority and subjecting the lives and property of Mexican citizens to the whim of military chiefs who knew no legal restraint whatsoever. He decreed constitutional reforms pertaining to the exclusive province of the legislature, such as the suppression of the Territory of Quintana Roo; he authorized the infraction of guarantees granted by the constitution, among others that of religious toleration, countenancing many governors, who, exaggerating the justifiable resentment borne by the Constitutionalist Party against members of the Roman Catholic Clergy, who played an important part in the coup d'etat, and later in sustaining the dictatorship, have suppressed all forms of worship, set penalties for the practice of religious exercises authorized by statute, and deeply hurt the religious instincts of the people with acts discountenanced by civilization and international law
Lastly, to the anarchy already stalking in the capital of the Republic, and menacing the greater part of the governments of the different states, induced through the political blunders and supineness of Senor Carranza, there will soon be added famine, caused by disorder and insecurity in the cities and in the country, coupled with the ever-increasing depreciation of paper money, the last issue of which, amounting to $130,000,000, decreed by him, without any guarantee whatsoever, will decrease its value to the very lowest limit, and thereby place the staples of life beyond the reach of the poorer classes. Facing a situation which threatened to wreck the triumph of the revolution, won at such a great sacrifice, and in order to save the country from anarchy and famine, the Division of the North sent a delegation to the city of Mexico, to present to the First Chief a program of provisional government which would bring about the immediate re-establishment of constitutional government, by the exercise of the ballot and the implanting of agrarian reforms. This program was signed by General Obregon, on behalf of the Division of the Northwest, and by the undersigned, for the Division of the North. Senor Carranza declined to summon elections forthwith, alleging that the assembly summoned by him for the first day of October, would set the time and manner of holding these elections. This meant that, in: the long run, Senor Carranza would be the person to set the time and the form for holding these elections. Inasmuch, therefore, as the assembly would be composed of all the generals in active command of troops, and of all the governors, it would be a foregone conclusion that at the time of casting the ballots, the majority of the members would share the views of Senor Carranza, since these delegates would attend in their military capacity, and not as representatives of any group of citizens, and would, hence, be subservient to the First Chief, and remain subject to his moral influence. Notwithstanding this situation, and in spite of the grave reasons for believing that the assembly would only serve as an excuse for the indefinite continuance of the First Chief in power, the chiefs of the Division of the Northwest and of the Division of the North, giving proof of their conciliatory spirit, agreed to send delegates. The only condition they demanded, was that the assembly should give precedence to the three following questions: Ratification of the assumption of Senor Venustiano Carranza of the office of President ad interim of the Republic, due him according to the Plan of Guadalupe; the re-establishment of constitutional government through a popular election, held at the earliest possible date ; and lastly, the adoption of sufficiently practical means to insure the solving of the agrarian problem along lines really favoring the common people. When General Obregon, commander of the Division of the Northwest, and certain delegates from the Division of the North were on the road to Mexico City, an unforeseen incident halted their advance. The First Chief, angered by the alarming and false news being circulated by the yellow press, suspended the traffic between the capital and the points occupied by the Division of the North, thus showing his determination to begin hostilities against such as were exercising pressure to compel him to carry out the pledges of the revolution, which had led the people to take up arms, not for the purpose of imposing on the country the will of any one individual, but in order that the people themselves might govern. Brought face to face with the fact that every peaceful effort to compel the First Chief to deliver up the power to the candidate named by the popular will would be fruitless, and seeing that the salvation of the country and of the interests of the people, embodied in the revolutionary principles, are dependent on the immediate solution of these transcendental problems,
The Division of the North has determined to disavow Sefior Venustiano Carranza, as First Chief of the Constitutionalist Army in charge of the Executive Power. This disavowal does not involve any act of ambition on my part, nor on that of any of the generals of the Division of the North, and I hereby solemnly declare, duly authorized thereto, that neither they nor I, will accept the offices of
President ad interim or constitutional President of the Republic, nor those of Vice-President or governor of any of the states, and that, in conjunction with the other generals, chiefs and officers of the constitutionalist army that may desire to lend us their aid, we shall struggle to establish a civil government which shall guarantee all rights and liberties to every citizen.
I, therefore, invite all Mexican citizens, First, to disavow Senor Venustiano Carranza as First Chief, in charge of the Executive Power of the Nation. Secondly, to join the Division of the North, co-operating in such form as best they may, to effect the withdrawal of Senor Venustiano Carranza from the leadership of the constitutionalist army and from the Executive Power.
So soon as this separation shall have been effected, the generals in command of troops will designate a civilian, as President ad interim of the Republic, who shall immediately issue a call for elections, in order to establish constitutional order, initiating at the same time the economic-social reforms demanded by the revolution. In order that electoral agitation should not be renewed almost on the heels of the election, and in view of the constitutional provision at present in force, and in order, further, that the constitutionally elected president may carry out the program of the revolution, the President ad interim shall submit, for the approval of the Chamber of Deputies, a constitutional amendment whereby the presidential term of six years shall begin to run from the date on which the constitutionally elected president shall take office.
The Djivision of the North pledges itself to re-establish order and tranquility, in such places as it occupies, and to respect the lives and properties of peaceful inhabitants, whether Mexicans or foreigners.
It is a matter of deep regret that I should be constrained to ask a new sacrifice from the Mexican people, in order that the revolution may fully realize its beloved ideals ; but I am sure that every honest citizen will believe that, without this last effort of the people, the whole revolutionary work
will crumble, since we should have overthrown one dictatorship merely to set up another in its stead.
Every Mexican citizen who does not contribute toward realizing this freedom-bearing movement will feel remorse of conscience, in that he has not known how to love and how to serve his country.
FRANCISCO VILLA, General in Chief.