Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fighting to Resume in Mexico

The two-week armistice that has brought a much needed reprieve to war-torn Mexico appears to have come to an end as Francisco Madero and his band of insurrectos prepare to assault the border city of Juarez.  Embattled Mexican President Porfirio Diaz yesterday rejected demands made by the rebel leader to resign his post.  With his chief demand rejected, Madero lifted the armistice that was put in place on April 23.  According to the Washington Times, rebels now control two-thirds of Mexico, with Diaz in firm control of only the capital, Mexico City, and the Gulf ports of Veracruz and Tampico.

However, Diaz does still have a significant force of federal troops inside Ciudad Juarez under the command of General Juan Navarro and they will face the more than 1,500 rebels outside the city.  An attack on the city is not expected, according to today's edition of the Bisbee Daily Review, for at least another 24 hours.  Yesterday, Madero made the following statement:
As it is well known, I invited the people of Mexico to take up arms against Diaz when all legal means to bring about the will of the people had been exhausted.  The war was unavoidable and indispensable and already we have begun to see its fruits, inasmuch as the principles which the revolution proclaimed have been accepted by Gen. Diaz, and the members of his cabinet.
But that is not enough, for while Gen. Diaz is in power, all laws will be a fiction and all promises tricks of war.  With that idea, and in order to obtain peace in Mexico, I asked him to make public the intention which he had manifested privately of resigning from the government.  In order that he might not feel humiliated or have any pretext to deny such a request, I proposed that I resign as provisional president, even manifesting to him that I would accept as president for the interim a member of his cabinet who occupied a post of much confidence, and who was correspondingly able to fill it.
It is not possible for me to do more for my country and if the war continues. it will be do solely to the inexplicable ambition of Gen. Diaz.  He therefore will be alone responsible to the civilized world and in history, for all the misery which the war may cause.
In the event of renewed hostilities, President Taft made it clear that the United States would not intervene in Mexico, even if Americans are killed fighting for the rebel cause.  The Bisbee Daily Review stated that the President was "'firm as a rock' in his purpose to live up the obligations of neutrality."  American officials, while disheartened by the end of the armistice, expressed hope that the warring parties would return to the negotiating table, but with Diaz stating that it is impossible for him to continue being involved in peace talks if the rebels continue to demand his resignation, short of a rebel victory, it seems unlikely.

Despite official denials, military officials are nonetheless preparing for a U.S. invasion of Mexico.  The War College has drafted plans for an invasion that would involve more than 200,000 regular troops and state militia.  The War College plans suggest that the U.S. should be prepared for a long, guerrilla war against the Mexican rebels.  The Army Chief of Staff, General Leonard Wood, told members of the House Committee on Military Affairs that an invasion of Mexico was "inevitable" and stated that 200,000 troops would be needed to pacify the southern republic, corroborating the War College's estimate.  Again, Taft has issues explicit denials, believing, as he told a caller to the White House yesterday, that "'blood would have to be so deep in Mexico that a man could wade through it' if the American army would cross the border."

In other news today, in the McNamara case, the Los Angeles District Attorney reported yesterday that prominent labor attorney Clarence Darrow will arrive in L.A. on or around May 15 to take over as lead defense council, representing the McNamara brothers.  The brothers will arraigned soon on charges that they carried out the October 1, 1910 bombing of the Los Angeles Times building which killed 21 people.

Link: Porfirio Diaz Calmly Refuses to Quit Presidency and Rebels Lift Armistice [The Bisbee Daily Review]
Link: Will Confer with Clarence Darrow About M'Namaras [The Bisbee Daily Review]
Link: Says Troops Must Cross [The Bisbee Daily Review]
Link: Invasion Plans are Completed by War College [The Washington Times]

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