1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
In 1900, Mexico was ruled by Porfirio Diaz, a former general who in 1876 rebelled against President Sebastian Lerdo de Tejada and seized power. Diaz tried to conciliate various groups, such as the Catholic Church, landed interests, and big business, and he was particularly committed to the economic development of Mexico. Enemies and critics of Diaz became victims of the ley fuga, the law of flight, by which rurales and the army were permitted to shoot prisoners, afterwards explaining that they had been killed while attempting to escape. There were more than ten thousand instances of ley fuga during Diaz's rule. With the collapse of the Diaz regime, many state governors and federal generals became increasingly independent of the central government. During the Carranza presidency they in effect became warlords, some levying their own taxes, some refusing to turn over federal revenues, some ignoring federal laws and orders they did not like.