(Joseph of the Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori; Oaxaca, 1830 - Paris, 1915) the name of this military and Mexican statesman comes from the designation of a whole period in the modern history of Mexico: the Porfiriato (1876-1911). And the same suffix suggests what it was: a fierce personal and paternalistic dictatorship that suppressed all opposition and annulled the freedom of the press.
Porfirio Díaz to 1867
Porfirio Díaz in an image of 1907
As the monarchs of the old enlightened despotism, Porfirio Díaz thought to be serving his country to provide it, after half a century of wars and seizures, peace and stability essential for the economic, social and cultural progress. Certainly achieved, although to blood and fire, the pacification of the country and its take-off in many areas. But, towards the end of its mandate, its policy had opened up a huge gap between rich and poor; and, in 1910, his decision to remain in power lit the fuse of the Mexican Revolution.
His father since age three, Porfirio Díaz entered the Seminary of Oaxaca to follow an ecclesiastical career, but soon changed his mind. He then completed law studies at the Institute of Sciences and arts, where he was a disciple of the future liberal President Benito Juárez, who taught civil law; henceforth would be his follower politically. The Institute was closed by order of President Santa Anna in 1854. In the same year took part in the revolution of Ayutla and supported general Juan Álvarez to overthrow López Antonio de Santa Anna.
Soon after, Porfirio Díaz joined the army, and his military career was meteoric. In the war of reform (1858-1861), civil conflict in which faced conservative and Liberal, he supported the liberal cause. The war ended with the victory of the Liberals and led to the Presidency to Benito Juárez (1861); After the race, Porfirio Díaz was promoted to general and elected Deputy.
Just a year later again took arms against the French invasion (1862-1863) and the coronation of Maximiliano I (1864-1867) as Emperor of Mexico. He was Chief of Brigade at Acultzingo on April 1862 and that same year participated in the battle of Cinco de Mayo by Ignacio Zaragoza. In 1867, starred in a brilliant military action in Puebla: after besieging the city, made a quick and bloody assault against the troops of Emperor Maximilian, who took refuge in the hills of Loreto and Guadalupe. Without wasting time, advanced towards the capital of the Republic, and took her on 2 April of 1867, made that was of great military importance, because he said the fall of the Empire of Maximilian and the triumph of Juarez.
Porfirio Díaz to 1867
Prestige and popularity won in this last campaign left him in a position to qualify for the Presidency; But Congress preferred to Benito Juárez in 1867 and re-elected in 1871. In November of the same year Porfirio Díaz launched the so-called Plan of the Ferris wheel, which was pronounced against the reeleccionismo and personal power and in favour of the Constitution of 1857 and the electoral freedom; the uprising failed and Diaz had to leave the country.
Juárez died in 1872, and then granted amnesty allowed Diaz to return to Mexico. After the death of Juárez, the Presidency fell to Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada. When in 1876 Lerdo de Tejada announced plans to stand for re-election, Porfirio Díaz is again revolted (Plan de Tuxtepec); This time he managed to expel Lerdo de Tejada and acceded to the Presidency.
The Porfiriato (1876-1911)
A year later, in 1877, Congress declared him President. In this first term (1876-1880), Porfirio Díaz was consistent with the ideas that had defended: he promoted a reform of the Constitution which expressly veto was introduced to the consecutive presidential re-election, and the witness concluded his period, joined general Manuel González (1880-1884). During the Government of Gonzalez, he was Minister of public works and Governor of Oaxaca.
Complete the mandate of González, Porfirio Díaz again presented his candidacy for the Presidency (the Constitution only vetoed the consecutive re-elections) and was elected. He took office on December 1, and three years later promoted an amendment, which was approved by Congress, article 78 of the Constitution, which credited him for a new re-election; in 1890 he enacted a new reform of that article to allow indefinite re-election, allowing him to remain in power until 1911.
All this was possible because Porfirio Díaz, exercising his absolute power, had been shrinking liberal political institutions to a mere democratic farce: ordered the removal of all possible political opponents, and the press was subjected or pursued while trying to remain independent. It can be said that, from 1890, Porfirio Díaz ruled apart from the Constitution, and dispensed with the division of powers and of the sovereignty of States. The Congress, submissive to their wishes, amending laws according to their whims and gave him extraordinary powers at your convenience; There was a single party and the votes were pure formality.
The Mexican people were weary of war and disorder, and Diaz set out to impose peace at all costs. Mexico did not have funds or had credit score because it had not paid its debts in a timely manner, so it had to attract the foreign capital; the problem was that no one would invest in Mexico if there was no stability and peace. With a heavy-handed policy, Porfirio Díaz tried to eliminate the differences of views on political affairs, and devoted himself to improving the functioning of the Government. "Little politics and many administration" was the slogan of that time.
Peace was not total, but Diaz got to maintain order through the use of public force. Police and soldiers chased the same bandits that opponents. Thanks to this new situation of stability, increased demand for labour and economic development was made possible the country had resources and employers could obtain good profits.
However, with the passage of time, it became clear that prosperity was only for a few. Discontent grew by the poverty in which he lived the greater part of the population, and broad social sectors realized that Diaz had been too long in power. Each time it was harder to maintain order: in the last years of the Porfiriato reigned a climate of repression in which the force of arms was used with increasing violence. It show the awkwardness with which were negotiated and hardness that is repressed strikes of Cananea (1906), in Sonora, and Rio Blanco (1907), in Veracruz, as well as the mode in which pursued journalists who criticised the regime and anyone who stated a view that was not the official.
Accomplishments and injustices
During the lengthy reign of Porfirio Díaz were important works in various ports, and 20,000 kilometers of railways are tended. The railway lines have been traced to the major ports and towards the border with the United States of America to facilitate trade. They also served to facilitate the movement of goods between different regions of Mexico, and as a means of political and military control. Mail and Telegraphs spread for much of the national territory. Some banks were founded, the Government finances were organized, taxation was regulated and, little by little, the debts were paying. Of great significance was the recovery of the national credit throughout the world; the Treasury recorded surplus for the first time since independence.
Also promoted the exploitation of the oil resources of the country through foreign investment inevitable not having economic and technological resources to undertake drilling and installing refineries. It resumed and also improved the working of mines, and mining lived a golden period: in 1901, Mexico was the second largest producer of copper in the world. The textile industry was developed with French and Spanish capital and favoured the establishment in the country of powerful French financial institutions; large factories of yarns and fabrics were built in the States of Puebla and Veracruz. You can speak also of an era of prosperity in the livestock and agriculture, which progressed dramatically in Yucatan, in Morelos and in La Laguna, with vast production of henequen, sugar cane and cotton.
Porfirio Díaz in an image of 1907
Mexico had an economic growth never seen, but, as few people have money to invest or you could get it lent, the development favored only a few Mexicans and foreigners. Capital foreign, mainly American, could collect the external debt, but also made with oil and control of the new railway network with their investments. The inequality between the very rich, which were very few, and the very poor, who were many, he opened a yawning gap in Mexican society. The dispossession of lands to indigenous farmers in favour of domestic and foreign large landowners was systematic; thus formed enormous latifundia, the Indians lost their land, and most of the camp's inhabitants had to deal with as pawns in the estates.
However, great efforts to extend public education became (if well with more attention to cities than the countryside), allowing that she has educated more children; more and more Mexicans could follow higher studies and began to form a middle class of professionals and public employees across the country. Enriched cultural life with new newspapers, magazines and books written and printed in Mexico; theatres presented companies and European actors, and spread the cinematograph. Intellectual life had important milestones. Just saw inaugurated the National University. José María Velasco in wonderful pictures reflected the splendour of the Mexican landscape; Saturnino Herrán painted a stunning series of pictures with the townspeople and allegories to the Mexican culture, and José Guadalupe Posada was vigorous engraved with scenes of everyday life.
Of the Porfiriato Mexican Revolution
In 1908, Porfirio Díaz gave an interview to the American journalist James Creelman, in which stated that Mexico was already prepared to have free elections. The news was filled with optimism to a new generation that wanted to participate in the political life of the nation. Thus arose several leaders and political parties, and they wrote books and articles that discussed the situation in the country and the solution of their problems.
One of those leaders was Francisco. I. Madero. He had studied and traveled outside Mexico, because he came from a family of landowners and businessmen, and had financial difficulties. Madero founded the Antirreeleccionista party, which was postulated candidate; He then devoted himself to traveling across the country to explain their political ideas, something not seen since the days of Juarez. Madero became very popular and aroused great hopes for change.
But the success of his campaign made him a danger to the Government of Porfirio Díaz, and shortly before the election of 1910 was arrested in Monterrey and imprisoned in San Luis Potosí. There he received the news that Diaz, once more, had been re-elected to the Presidency. Upon payment of a security deposit he left prison, although it should remain in the city. However, at the beginning of October, Madero escaped to the United States of America, where he proclaimed the Plan de San Luis.
In that document, Madero denounced the illegality of the election and ignored Porfirio Díaz as President. Declared him interim President until new elections; to undertake He promised that land to those who had been dispossessed of them would be returned, and asked was defended the effective suffrage and no re-election of Presidents. Also appealed to the people so that on November 20, 1910 rose in arms and arrojara the power of the dictator.
The army of Porfirio Díaz, which had kept the peace for decades, seemed very strong, but in reality was weak to the general discontent. In just six months the Madero forces triumphed over the old dictator. The final action was the capture of Ciudad Juárez by revolutionaries Pascual Orozco and Pancho Villa, who had joined Madero. In the same city, in May 1911, was signed the peace between the Government of Diaz and the Madero. Porfirio Díaz resigned from the Presidency (which became Francisco. I. Madero after winning the election) and left the country heading to France, where he died in 1915.