THE INSURGENCE of CHAN SANTA CRUZ
BOOK SEVEN: CUAHTENOTL EPACT
For his part, José was content to sit, roll and smoke cigarettes, and confine himself to only the occasional remark when the self-serving reminisces of Felix Diaz touched upon conditions on the Yucatan peninsula and in the territory. While Felix Diaz spieled, José scrutinized him... remembering the little man's declaration that his uncle could have prevented all of the grief that had attended Mexico by naming him Vice-President two years ago, instead of Corral. There had been whispers that Felix was not the nephew but, in fact, the dictator's illegitimate son... and their frequency and depth had meant an end to the Felicista cause in 1910.
José doubted that any Porfirian blood... legitimate or not... could inhabit so dull and obtuse a creature as Felix Diaz but, of course, did not reveal his sentiments. Like many others, he saw that Diaz could hold down the Presidency until someone of greater capability came along... and there were many such contenders, some tolerable, OTHERS not so.
"I am now certain that General Beltran's advance is a sign that he is ready to defect, and most of those following him will be happy to defect, also. That is why the perceived numerical superiority of my enemies is, in fact, one of my best cards. Blanquet will be securing the mountain regions, this delay with the trains is an unfortunate side-effect, but can't be helped. And I am not so entirely dependent upon your wood and chicle revenues... our mutual friends in Berlin and other places have seen to it that this revolt will continue until we have achieved our objectives. And where the Germans venture, the Americans and British will not be far behind falling into line."
"I am relieved to hear that there is no urgency in recovering General Bravo's funds," José finally said, gathering up his hat. "Let us hope that the money can be directed towards improving the climate for investment, rather than repairing the destruction resulting from a protracted war."
"You may rest assured that the railways will be operable soon, for the fighting will be brief," Felix Diaz smiled, revealing a fine set of bright, polished teeth under a great, theatrical moustache that was trimmed and waxed as a gentleman's and not a drooping and misshapen caterpillar, like that on the face of the bandit, Zapata. "Brief... and one-sided. I can, Major, guarantee you a rout."
So José Macias returned to the streets of Veracruz... changed his residence for the sake of safety, consulted only persons whom he could reasonably trust, stayed out of the cantinas and fended off appeals for money by the pitiable Rico. And, within a few days, Felix Diaz would have his rout.
But perhaps not the one he had imagined.
That the end was at hand came from a tip... the Felicistas, 500 strong, had failed to capture the port of Tampico, from which most of Mexico's oil was exported, despite their leader's affirmation of victory. Without collateral, the foreign friends of Diaz declined to advance him money to pay the swelling population of Federal "deserters", a few of whom... quite reasonably... re-deserted back to Beltran. And when the Maderist General marched through Cordoba and down into Veracruz itself, those remaining trained their rifles upon the Felicista officers, disgruntled, unpaid troops melted away and, of the three hundred remaining insurgents who had gathered around Diaz at the Veracruz police station, not one lifted a rifle in their General's defense. Joaquin Beltran arrested the would-be restorer of Porfirismo like a common thief and threw him into a jail.
José Macias ventured out, once more, to the Cafe Parroquia where he... prudently... drank cup after cup of coffee, abstained from intoxicating spirits, and drew pictures of eagles on the paper napkins provided by the management.
One of the first so-called "authorities" on the Felicista putsch noted that Diaz, at the end, had only nine hundred men under arms, not the thousands that he boasted of, and these failed to fight for "want of confidence in his ability as a soldier", not a want of money. Perhaps this is so, for Felix Diaz would live to fight on other days… and fail on other days, as well. And, as the American elections neared, the man who was setting himself up as an expert upon all things Mexican... Henry Lane Wilson, a bankrupt of Spokane who had been appointed Ambassador to Chile through the intercession of the Guggenheim mining interests and his brother, the Senator from Washington State... exhibited an early flair for the sidestepping of embarrassing issues that would come to be known, decades later, as "spin" by replying to the inquiries of a New York Times reporter in the following fashion:
NYT: Do you think the movement headed by Felix Diaz is really formidable?
HLW: The climate of Mexico is one of the most delightful I have ever known.
NYT: But what do you think of the new revolution?
HLW: Mexico is one of the richest mineral countries in the world...
NYT: But do you think Diaz can win?
HLW: The tramway service of Mexico City is one of the most remarkable in the world. Did you know that it was started by Cecil Rhodes?
Despite the persistency of the questioning, Wilson remarked upon fruit and cotton plantations in America, smiled, and said: "And that is about all I know, right now."
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