Saturday, December 28, 2013
bringing the president home
Just over 100 years ago, he fled Mexico in disgrace. Today the body of José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori (or as we know him in history, Porfirio Diaz) has returned home from Paris to Mexico to be honored as a Hero of the Mexican Revolution.
When last seen in Mexico in 1911, he was fleeing from the troops of soon-to-be-president Madero, who were in hot pursuit. With stops in Spain and then France, he died in Paris in 1915.
Since then, there have been sporadic movements to bring Diaz home. After all, he was a participant in both of the major movements to restore Mexico's independence and make it a liberal democracy. He fought brilliantly against the French and helped overthrow the puppet emperor, Maximilian. He then backed the reforms of Benito Juarez.
He eventually became president as a liberal -- and modernized Mexico as a major player in the Industrial Revolution. Mexico developed so quickly, that she needed foreign investments to develop her national interests. Something that European powers and The States were happy to supply -- for a piece of the pie.
But, like all reformers, he did not know when it was time to leave the stage -- believing that he personally was keeping the engine running. Either through reelection as president (or through figure heads), he ruled Mexico for nearly thirty years.
His attempt to forestall any new leadership, the open corruption of foreign investors, and an acquired tin ear to ignore the very type of reforms that brought him to power caused the defining event in Mexico's history -- the Revolution.
With the rise of one-party control, there was no hope of returning Diaz's body to Mexico. He was the personification of everything that the Revolution fought against.
But times have changed. In 2000, Mexico proved that it could get by without one-party control. Northerners were invited south to invest. To be part of Mexico.
And this last year, the party of the Revolution (PRI) proved Mexico was a mature power by starting a process to release its death grip on its petroleum industry. Not to mention that politicians (other than the president) will now be allowed to run for reelection -- discarding one of the main reasons of the Revolution.
When asked what all this means, Diana de los Santos Innocentes, spokeswoman for The Committee to Bring the Revolution Full Circle, said: "It means that it is time to give President Diaz his due. After all, without him, there would be no Revolution. Right? He should have a home right next to such honorable men as Pancho Villa."
An American tourist, April Loof, was heard to say: "So, this is like a parade for some old guy who died a hundred years ago? Gross."
Apparently, the committee that arranged the ceremony did not get final approval from the government to inter the body in the Monument of the Revolution. The body will be moved between the embassies of Britain, Canada, France, Spain, and the United States until an appropriate resting spot is approved.
Porfirio Diaz would understand.