The Tragic Ten. The last days of Francisco I. Madero

"La Decena Tragica" was a period of ten days, which began on February 9 with a coup against President Francisco I. Madero and ended with his imprisonment on February 18, 1913. The balance of this outbreak was the murder of Madero and José María Pino Suárez.

By Archivo General de la Nación - México

Presidente Francisco I, Madero by Antonio GarduñoArchivo General de la Nación - México

After leading the armed movement that started the Mexican Revolution and overthrew the Porfirio Díaz regime, on November 6, 1911, Francisco I. Madero assumed power as legitimate president of the Mexican Republic, a position in which he would last little more than fifteen months.  

Franciso I. Madero a lado del presidente provisional Francisco León de la BarraArchivo General de la Nación - México

A year after occupying the presidential seat, Madero began to lose much of his popularity and the enormous support he once had. The noble and upright principles with which he handled himself when taking a moderate and conciliatory position with the Porfiristas, upset those who hoped that the Revolution would bring with it radical transformations.   

Francisco I. Madero dirigiéndose al pueblo (1911) by H. J. GutierrezArchivo General de la Nación - México

A large part of the revolutionaries who had joined their movement found that the measures taken by the Maderista government did not meet their expectations, which is why opposition pronouncements emerged, such is the case of the Ayala Plan of Emiliano Zapata and the Plan of the Pascual Orozco Empacadora.  

Señor Madero hablando al pueblo (1911) by H. J. GutierrezArchivo General de la Nación - México

 

Pascual Orozco y Francisco I. Madero (1912)Archivo General de la Nación - México

General Pascual Orozco and Francisco I. Madero 

Plan de la Empacadora (1912) by Pascual OrozcoArchivo General de la Nación - México

Manifesto of General Orozco to the Nation 

Madero con banda presidencial, a un costado de él se encuentra Francisco León de la Barra, y atrás el vicepresidente José María Pino Suárez.Archivo General de la Nación - México

They also opposed the government, senators, landlords, and foreign interests. The Maderism did not satisfy the economic interests of the United States and throughout the year of 1912, President William Taft, through his ambassador Henry Lane Wilson, threatened and attacked the Madero government, by different means.  

Madero rindiendo homenaje a la Constitución de 1857 en el Hemiciclo a JuárezArchivo General de la Nación - México

Soldados Felicistas (1913) by E. MelhadoArchivo General de la Nación - México

Pequeño corneta Felicista (1913) by E. MelhadoArchivo General de la Nación - México

In addition to the armed rebellions against him, the strikes and the conspiracies promoted by the US ambassador, the Madero government faced the uprising of Bernardo Reyes, former Minister of War and Navy and of Félix Díaz, nephew of the former president, which culminated in the imprisonment of these rebels.  

Caricaturas politícas en contra del presidente MaderoArchivo General de la Nación - México

He also faced constant attack from the opposition press, which decisively influenced the distrust of public opinion towards the regime, which created the perfect climate for the coup that broke out on February 9, 1913.  

Escena en la plaza de Santiago (1913) by E. MelhadoArchivo General de la Nación - México

With the uprising in arms against the Maderista government by the Military School of Aspirants of Tlalpan and the troops of the Tacubaya Barracks, the rebellion known as the “Decena Tragica” began. These troops divided into two groups went to the military prison of  Santiago Tlatelolco to free Bernardo Reyes, who would take command of the rebellion and in turn would free Félix Díaz, who was in the Penance of Mexico.  

Vista de Palacio Nacional (1913)Archivo General de la Nación - México

Both generals freed and leading their supporters, they went to the center of Mexico City to try to take the building of the National Palace.  

Patio principal de Palacio Nacional (1913)Archivo General de la Nación - México

  

El senado y los generales vencedores en el interior de la Ciudadela (1913) by E. MelhadoArchivo General de la Nación - México

There the first confrontation between the presidential guard and the subversives took place, forcing them to withdraw and settle a little kilometer and a half, in La Ciudadela.  

Soldados con cañón tirando por un boquete en la Ciudadela (1913) by E. MelhadoArchivo General de la Nación - México

From that event, Mexico City witnessed the war in its streets between the rebels and the cadets chosen by Madero from the Military College to safeguard their government.  

Grupo de soldados leales a Madero (1913)Archivo General de la Nación - México

The first fighting left hundreds of deaths, the vast majority civilians. Meanwhile Madero appointed Victoriano Huerta commander of the forces that would guard the Plaza de Constitución. 

Madero la mañana del día 9 de febrero de 1913 en su trayecto de Chapultepec al Palacio Nacional (1913)Archivo General de la Nación - México

Madero arrived at the National Palace to organize his defense, ordering various military units (from Tlalpan, San Juan Teotihuacan, Chalco and Toluca) and Felipe Ángeles' forces from the state of Cuernavaca. Huerta, meanwhile, was wasting time on the government's prejudice, having entered into deals with Félix Diaz and had joined the conspiracy.  

Artilleros del gobierno (1913) by E. MelhadoArchivo General de la Nación - México

Soldados viendo al tiro (1913) by E. MelhadoArchivo General de la Nación - México

Escenas de la Decena Trágica (1913) by Compañia Luz y Fuerza del CentroArchivo General de la Nación - México

Escenas de la Decena Trágica (1913) by Compañia Luz y Fuerza del CentroArchivo General de la Nación - México

Escenas de la Decena Trágica (1913) by Compañia Luz y Fuerza del CentroArchivo General de la Nación - México

Defensa de de la Carcel de Belem (1913) by E. MelhadoArchivo General de la Nación - México

Gustavo A. Madero (1911) by H. J. GutierrezArchivo General de la Nación - México

On the 18th, various events took place that marked the course of the country. First, Gustavo A. Madero, brother and main adviser to the president, was taken prisoner and at night he was assassinated in the Citadel with unimaginable fury; Madero and Vice President Pino Suárez were also taken prisoner in the National Palace. 

Gustavo Madero, Pino Suárez y Malvaes (1913)Archivo General de la Nación - México

That same day the Pact of the Citadel was signed, which indicates in its initial fragment: "the Executive Power that worked is considered non-existent and unknown."  

Casa de Madero, incendiada durante la Decena Trágica (1913)Archivo General de la Nación - México

El presidente y vicepresidente de la republica presentaron su renuncia (1913) by El ImparcialArchivo General de la Nación - México

Then Madero and Pino Suárez signed their resignation; Congress appointed Pedro Lascuráin, Minister of Foreign Affairs, as president, who resigned immediately so that Victoriano Huerta, newly appointed Minister of the Interior, would automatically become provisional president. With these acts the military actions in the capital of the republic were ended, but it was reactivated throughout the territory to fight now against the usurper.  

La Ciudadela después de combate (1913) by E. MelhadoArchivo General de la Nación - México

On February 20, Madero and Pino Suárez were detained in the National Palace, accompanied by Cuban ambassador Manuel Márquez Sterling, to prevent them from being assassinated and from taking a train to the port of Veracruz that would embark them to Cuba, into exile. But the efforts of his family, friends and ministers from other countries before Ambassador Wilson were of no use to assert his influence over Huerta, but the ambassador replied that he, as a diplomat, could not interfere in the internal affairs of Mexico.  

Generales, Mondragón y Díaz calculando sus tiros (1913) by E. MelhadoArchivo General de la Nación - México

Two days later, Félix Díaz, Manuel Mondragón, Aureliano Blanquet and Victoriano Huerta agreed to get rid of Madero and Pino Suárez. For which they were transferred to the Lecumberri Penitentiary. 

Exterior de la Penitenciaria del Distrito Federal, sitio en que victimaron a Madero y Pino Suárez (1913)Archivo General de la Nación - México

Upon his arrival, Francisco Cárdenas assassinated Madero; Pino Suárez tried to flee, but was wounded and finished off by Rafael Pimienta, who were rewarded with the payment of eighteen thousand pesos. 

Lugar donde cayeron los cadáveres del ex presidente Madero y el ex vicepresidente Pino Suárez (1913) by H. J. GutierrezArchivo General de la Nación - México

Moments later, Huerta declared that the bodyguard that was leading Madero and Pino Suárez had been attacked by Madero forces and that an investigation would be carried out to clarify the facts.  

Traslado del cuerpo de Madero al panteón Frances (1913)Archivo General de la Nación - México

Victoriano Huerta (1913)Archivo General de la Nación - México

Victoriano Huerta settled in the National Palace from February 20, 1913 and remained in the Presidency for 17 months. As of October 10, 1913, Huerta dissolved Congress, thus becoming a dictator. During this dictatorship, life in the city was militarized and many citizens, Maderista sympathizers or not, were assassinated.  

Los generales Venustiano Carranza y Álvaro Obregón (1915) by Enrique Díaz, García y DelgadoArchivo General de la Nación - México

But soon a new revolutionary leader emerged, standing up to fight against Huertismo: the governor of Coahuila, Venustiano Carranza, who was joined by former Maderistas such as Pancho Villa and Felipe Ángeles and characters like Álvaro Obregón.  

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