Sun. 5-31-14 p.1
RUINED JUAREZ, WHERE BULLETS HAVE WRITTEN HISTORY Once Most Important on the Mexican Border, Town Has Been the Scene of Rapine, Battle and Murder at Each Revolution, Bandit Uprising or Change of Government for the Past Three Years
Across the Rio Grande from the bustling, wide awake and progressive Texas city of El Paso lies Juarez, a town asleep. Three years ago the most important border point in Mexico, the terminus of two great railroad systems and the port of entry for a quarter of all the goods imported into Mexico from the United States and for half the goods exported, it is now but a battered, looted, fire ravaged, half deserted adobe village. Its warehouses are empty, its huge station is almost deserted, its streets are lined with vacant houses. A more sordid spot could not be imagined.
Yet Juarez contained within its crooked streets and battle scarred buildings more revolutionary history than any other city in Mexico. For three years there has not been a revolution, bandit uprising or "peaceful" change in the Government that has not been almost immediately recorded in Juarez in the spilling of blood. Through battle, mutiny, surprise and treachery Juarez has fallen so often that the inhabitants have almost lost count of the number of times.
There is not a street corner that has not witnessed a violent death, not a bullet riven adobe house that has not its grim tale of loot, sudden death and intrigue. The dream that upset that empire of Diaz was made a reality in Juarez and the plot that ended in the assassination of Madero was hatched in the sleepy little own.
Murder, pillage and rapine have stalked its streets. In its shattered old custom house the presidents of town great countries have met, a programme of liberty and justice that in the opinion of some men puts in American Constitution in second place was written there and in its room the basest intrigues have been matured.
To-day Juarez waits. For the moment the tide of battle has receded, leaving the town in peace. But immediately across the river the guns of the American army frown down upon it from the heights back of El Paso and machine guns guard the approaches to the international bridges.
Juarez believes that its respite of peace will be brief. Its memory of three years of bitter warfare is still fresh. Juarez no longer anticipates, it simply waits. It has seen Presidents, ...
the country and the man unprepared.
The names of men who have made of are now making history in Mexico were included in the list of Cabinet officers that Madero read to the crowd of newspaper correspondents gathered from all over the country.
In his precise, low voice the little leader announced them: Venustiano Carranza, Minister of War; Pino Suarez, Minster of Justice; Dr. Vasquez Gomez, Minster of Foreign Relations, and Gustavo Madero, Minister of Finance.
Where are the members of that Cabinet and the man who read their names to-day? Past and present Mexican history is spelled in their fate.
Madero, President of Mexico for a brief space, shot down by an assassin; Carranza tottering as the leaders of the victorious hordes of the rebels to Mexico city, a dreamer who will have his Villa as certainly as Madero had his Orozco; Suarez thrust into the Vice-Presidency and shot down beside Madero; Gomez, self styled Provisional President of Mexico, refugee from his native land, watching the turn of the political wheel in Mexico as a gambler watches his chance at the roulette table; Gustavo Madero, the first to die, shot down in the streets of Mexico city at the beginning of the memorable ten days fighting. Hardly had Madero completed reading the names of his Cabinet officers than a ...
machinery. Useless. It could not conveniently be carried away.
A moment later a thin spiral of smoke curled lazily upward from an upper window of the building. Twenty-four hours after a thin spiral was still curling up from the charred ruins.
A scene of utter wreck greeted the eye the next morning. Drunken mutineers lounged in front of the gaping fronts of the looted stores. In many a doorway a huddled corpse lay, unheeded by the drink crazed rioters. In the plaza the old gardener was placidly sweeping the sidewalks. A block distant black robed women passed through the huge door of the bullet pockmarked old church, the old church of Guadelupe, which was looking down on Juarez a hundred years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. In front of a gambling hall a little child held his brown hands above his head, sand sifting through his fingers. The sand gradually obliterated a little pool of blood. In the one store that was open, a little meat shop, women chattered and bargained. Juarez had become used to bloodshed.
But dark days were ahead. The mutiny had started ahead of schedule. The plan had been to have all the garrisons in the north mutiny on the same night a week later. Orozco, maddened by the stupidity of his lieutenants but fearing that the plot would be discovered, made a show of loyalty. he at once proceeded to the border town, placed the ...
Sun 5-31-14 p.3 Though an expert in looting, Salazar in the first rush and bustle of collecting everything of value had overlooked a big prize.
In the Bank of Mines reposed 27,000 silver pesos. It was immediately coveted by Salazar. But by the time Orozco had announced himself, and having a slightly better developed sense of the proprieties, frowned on the wholesale looting, having from the first kept one eye on Washington from whence recognition would come, were it to come at all.
To observe the conventions then Salazar placed a guard in front of the bank. Through the rear door passed a long procession, which included every man in Juarez who had ever handled a tool. In relays they set dilligently to the work in hand, that of breaking into the vaults. But the vaults had been made by a New England manufacturer who had sent a burglarproof guarantee with them and had no intention at the time of installing them of ever having to redeem the guarantee.
At the end of three days, the guards occasionally assisting but a single outer casing had been removed. Disgusted, Salazar sent agents to the American side. They were fortunate. One of the most expert yeggman in the United States, a man who is now serving a long sentence for attempting to enter a bank in Philadelphia last fall, was temporarily making his headquarters in El Paso.
The following afternoon an old dump cart was backed up to the curb in front of the bank. The guards, an hour earlier had been given a holiday. A half hour afterward the old cart, drawn by a mule of ancient vintage, trundled up the street, loaded down with 27,000 silver pesos.
A rigid investigation followed. The-
-guards were found to have been absent. Profuse apologies were sent to Orozco. The guards, of course, were shot, thus satisfactorily closing the unpleasant incident.
A year ago Juarez heard in rapid succession of the beginning of the battle in Mexico city, the assassination of President Madero, the seizing by Huerta of the Presidency.
The 500 troops of the garrison stationed at the town thought it over, decided that Huerta was a good “hombre” and decided to recognize him. For once Juarez had changed its politics peacefully.
Last November, wearied by his fruitless attacks on the city of Chihuahua, Francisco Villa withdrew his men. But not for peace. The wily leader already had the germ of an idea in his head and again Juarez was to bear the brunt when the idea brought forth fruit.
Villa and his men suddenly swooped down on a little telegraph station between Chihuahua and Juarez.
“You will send such messages as I dictate,” he told the frightened telegraph operator. The statement was a polite one, but it received emphasis from the fact that Villa had in his hand a large revolver.
Messages were flashed to Juarez and to Chihuahua. Mercado, commanding at Chihuahua, was advised that a train conductor desired orders regarding a train proceeding to Juarez.
“We have encountered no rebels” the message added.
The “conductor” received orders to proceed to Juarez.
Col. Portia, in command at Juarez, was advised that a train conductor desired orders regarding a train proceeding to Juarez.