chapter
Mexico
Pages 11

Gen. Díaz subsequently launched an unsuccessful rebellion. 1872: Juárez died; he was succeeded by Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada. 1876: Gen. Díaz led a further insurrection; he succeeded in removing Lerdo and assumed the presidency himself. He subsequently enacted legislation directed against the exchange of contraband across the border with the USA, and honoured US citizens’ claims worth US $4m. against Mexico. 1880: Díaz retired from the presidency, appointing Gen. Manuel González to succeed him. His administration supervised the development of an infrastructure and a telegraph network. 1883: The Government seized vast tracts of private and communal land in an attempt to attract foreign buyers. Large land companies instead purchased the estates, forcing the increasing population of landless peasants to labour for meagre wages. 1884: Díaz returned to the presidency; he resumed his policies of modernization and reform, persecuting and imprisoning his liberal critics. 1 July 1906: A group of exiled liberals proclaimed their intention to remove Díaz from office at a convention in St Louis, Missouri, USA. Their ideas were disseminated through the newspaper Redención. 1910: Díaz announced that he would accept a contestant at forthcoming presidential elections; however, when a liberal candidate, Francisco Indalécio Madero, proclaimed his candidacy, he was arrested. Díaz retained the presidency. Madero was released and fled to the USA, where he subsequently announced the Plan of San Luis Potosí, which demanded the restoration of democracy. January 1911: A rebellion occurred in the state of Chihuahua, led by Pascual Orozco and Francisco ‘Pancho’ Villa. November 1911: Madero was appointed President. When he failed to enact policies of reform, however, radicals revolted under the leadership of Emiliano Zapata. Zapata issued the Plan of Ayala, which demanded the immediate transfer of land to peasant farmers and the right of Mexican citizens to choose their own leaders; the proclamation fomented rebellion in the states of Morelos, Guerrero, Tlaxcala, Puebla and México. February 1913: Félix Díaz, the nephew of Gen. Díaz, attempted a counter-coup. A general of Madero’s Government, Victoriano Huerta, defected to the counterrevolutionaries’ camp, seized control of Mexico City and appointed himself President. Madero was assassinated shortly afterwards. March 1913: Venustiano Carranza led an army of Constitutionalists against Huerta. The US President, Woodrow Wilson, condemned the Huerta Government and dispatched troops to Veracruz, prompting anti-US protests. 8 July 1914: Huerta resigned. The revolutionary forces of Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata subsequently came into conflict with the Constitutionalists for control of the country. December 1914: The revolutionary forces captured Mexico City and Puebla. They were subsequently compelled to retreat by supporters of Carranza, who had declared himself President. r

campaign. March 1916: A number of raids into its territory by forces loyal to Pancho Villa prompted the US Government to dispatch a punitive expedition to the area, led by Gen. John J.Pershing. December 1916: A constitutional congress met in Querétaro. The document promulgated the following year included a labour code, prohibited the President from serving consecutive terms and restricted the Roman Catholic Church’s rights to land ownership. May 1917: Carranza won presidential elections; his failure to enforce many of the provisions of the Constitution subsequently provoked opposition to his rule. 1918: Agitation by revolutionaries caused conflict in Morelos. March 1919: Zapata wrote Carranza an open letter, in which he protested at the President’s failure to enact sections of the Constitution; he was murdered the following month by Carranza’s forces. May 1920: A rebellion occurred, led by three of Carranza’s generals: Plutarco Elias Galles, Alvaro Obregón and Adolfo de la Huerta. Carranza was killed in the conflict. November 1920: Obregón was elected President. 1923: Following President Obregón’s agreement to US petroleum companies’ claims on deposits in Mexico, the US Government recognized the administration and later supported it during an abortive revolt. Calles subsequently succeeded Obregón as President. July 1926: A series of religious reforms, which prohibited religious processions, closed religious schools and deported foreign nuns and monks, were condemned by the Archbishop of Mexico City, José Mora y del Río. A rebellion by Catholic insurgents ensued, during which thousands were killed. 1927: Dwight W.Morrow, the US Ambassador to Mexico, attempted to mediate between the Government and the Catholic rebels. July 1928: Obregón was assassinated. Calles established the Partido Nacional Revolucionario (PNR), with himself as leader. He appointed a series of ‘puppet’ presidents from among its members, who instituted his rule in the ensuing years. 1934: Lázaro Cárdenas won presidential elections. He sought to reduce the role of the army in government affairs and introduced a number of reforms in the areas of social welfare, land and education. Following his criticism of these policies, Calles was forced into exile. 1936: The Government enacted legislation granting it powers to expropriate land where necessary in the interests of the public. The following year, the rail network was nationalized. 1938: The property of foreign oil companies in Mexico was seized by the Government, and a national company, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), was established. 1940: Manuel Avila Camacho was elected President; he revised many of the Government’s anti-clerical policies. 22 May 1942: Following an attack on two Mexican tankers by German submarines, Mexico declared war on that country and its allies in the Second World War. Through a Mexican workers were employed to assist

(PRI); one of its members, Miguel Alemán Valdés, was subsequently elected President. September 1947: Shortly after a visit by the President to the USA, the Government entered into the Inter-American Reciprocal Assistance agreement, which guaranteed a system of defence for western nations against outside aggression. 1952: Adolfo Ruíz Cortines was elected President; he instituted a number of policies aimed at eradicating corruption. 1953: Women were enfranchised. August 1958: Adolfo López Mateos was elected President; he enacted a series of reforms concerning land, national health and labour relations. 1964: Gustavo Díaz Ordaz became President; his administration was beset by increasing unrest at economic and social problems. 20 October 1968: Police opened fire on student demonstrators at the Plaza of the Three Cultures in Tlateloco; the security forces had been instructed to suppress expressions of unrest during the country’s hosting of the Olympic Games. A total of 325 demonstrators were killed, many injured and thousands were arrested. 1970: Luis Echeverría Alvarez was elected President; his administration promised to address the country’s economic and social problems; he also sought to loosen the country’s ties with the USA and instead cultivate relations with other Latin American countries. July 1976: The PRI candidate, José López Portillo, won 95% of votes cast in a presidential election. The following year, he introduced legislation to increase the representation of minority parties in the legislature. July 1982: Despite the participation of left-wing groups in presidential elections, the PRI candidate, Miguel del la Madrid Hurtado, was successful. The PRI also won the majority of seats in elections to the Cámara. December 1982: The Government introduced a programme of economic reform, which in particular gave precedence to the repayment of the country’s debts. February 1985: Relations with the US Government deteriorated, following the murder of an agent of the US Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA) by Mexican drugs traffickers. July 1985: In congressional elections, the Government won 288 of the 300 directly elective seats in the Cámara. 1986: Dissidents within the PRI formed the Corriente Democrática (CD), led by Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano. March 1987: The Partido Mexicano Socialista (PMS) was founded. July 1988: Congressional and presidential elections were held; a new coalition, the Frente Democrático Nacional (FDN), comprising the CD and four left-wing groups, participated. The FDN challenged the legitimacy of the PRI’s victory; the opposition gained seats in the Senado and defeated the PRI in the Distrito Federal and three other states. A congressional committee was subsequently established to investigate allegations of electoral malpractice. September 1988: In protest at the PRI’s apparent obstruction of the investigations of the

for Economic Stability and Growth. May 1989: The FDN was dissolved; members of the CD and the PMS founded the Partido de la Revolution Democrática (PRD), led by Cárdenas. October 1989: Constitutional amendments to facilitate the adoption of a federal electoral code proposed by the PRI, were approved by both the Cámara and the Senado. The PRD criticized the inclusion of a ‘governability’ clause, which stipulated that the majority of seats in the Cámara should be awarded to the main party, should it receive at least 35% of votes cast in a general election. April 1990: The Government condemned, as a violation of extradition agreements with the USA, the abduction of a Mexican physician in Mexico by agents working for the DEA , in connection with the murder of a DEA agent in 1985. June 1990: Owing to increasing allegations of human rights abuses by the security forces, the President created the National Commission for Human Rights (CNDH); however, opposition groups criticized the exclusion of claims involving political campaigns and electoral processes from its mandate. July 1990: A new electoral code was introduced; it provided for the issue of more detailed identification cards for voters, the compilation of a new electoral roll and the establishment of a new Federal Electoral Tribunal. August 1990: The PRI won 290 of the 300 directly elective seats in the Cámara, in addition to 30 awarded by proportional representation. The party also gained 31 of 32 seats in the Senado. January 1991: The Government signed a free trade agreement with Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. January 1992: Following the introduction of legislation recognizing the Roman Catholic Church, the President revoked the constitutional restrictions on the church. December 1992: The Government signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which had earlier come into effect between the USA and Canada on 1 January 1989, providing for the reduction of tariffs between the countries. July 1993: Amid continuing criticisms of the electoral process, the Government allowed parties access to the media and the ‘governability’ clause was removed. January 1994: Indigenous insurgents, who had formed the Ejército Zapatista de Liberation Nacional (EZLN), took control of parts of Chiapas. They issued the Declaration of Lacandena Jungle, in which they listed their social and economic grievances, including their opposition to the country’s participation in NAFTA, and declared war on President Salinas. A cease-fire was declared at the end of the month and the Government appointed Manuel Camacho Solís to lead a peace and reconciliation commission in Chiapas. March 1994: The EZLN rejected the Government’s offer to accelerate an anti-poverty programme in the region and reiterated their opposition to NAFTA, which they believed marginalized the interests of indigenous groups. Camacho Solis was subsequently replaced by Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar. March 1994: The PRI presidential candidate, Luis Donaldo Colosia, was assassinated at

imprisonment. Public condemnation of the report prompted President Salinas to order further investigation. 21 August 1994: Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León of the PRI was elected President, gaining 48% of the votes cast; the Partido Actión Nacional (PAN) candidate, Diego Fernández de Cavallos, gained 25.9% and Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas of the PRD 16.6%. UN observers claimed that there had been instances of electoral malpractice. September 1994: The PRI Secretary-General, José Francisco Ruiz Massieu (a former brother-in-law of outgoing President Carlos Salinas de Gortari), was murdered. His brother, Mario, subsequently resigned from his position of Deputy Attorney-General, alleging that the President had obstructed investigations into the murder. October 1994: Owing to the presence of increasing numbers of government troops in the region, the EZLN announced its withdrawal from negotiations with the Government. The conflict in the Chiapas region escalated. December 1994: Opposition groups in Chiapas disputed the election of the PRI’s candidate, Eduardo Robledo Rincón, to the position of state governor and established their own parallel administration. A Comisión Nacional de Intermediation (CONAI) was subsequently established to mediate between the two sides. February 1995: Following the discovery of illegal arsenals in Mexico City and Veracruz, the Government announced that it would launch a series of offensives against the EZLN. Later in month however, Robledo Rincón was recalled and the operations were suspended. In March, a Law for Dialogue, Conciliation and Honourable Peace in Chiapas was enacted by the Government. February 1995: The Attorney-General, Antonio Lozano Gracia, concluded that the assassination of Colosia had involved two murderers and ordered the investigations to continue. February 1995: Raúl Salinas de Gortari, the brother of the former President, was arrested on charges of Ruiz Massieu’s murder. April 1995: Fernando Rodríguez, who had been charged with hiring Ruiz Massieu’s assassins, implicated several new conspirators; Mario Ruiz Massieu was subsequently detained in the USA on charges of corruption. February 1996: Representatives of the EZLN and the Government met at San Andrés Larraínzar and concluded an accord, which guaranteed indigenous groups cultural, linguistic and local government rights. July 1996: Eight alleged members of the guerrilla group, Ejército Popular Revolucionario (EPR), were arrested in Guerrero. Members of the group perpetrated attacks in México and Oaxaca the following month. July 1996: The PRI, PAN, PRD and the Partido de Trabajo (PT) reached an agreement on electoral reforms, including the introduction of a directly-elected Governor of the Distrito Federal, an increase in financial aid to political parties, the introduction of proportional representation in elections to the Senate and the right of citizens resident abroad to vote. September 1996: The EPR declared a cease-fire in Guerrero.