THE INSURGENCE of CHAN SANTA CRUZ
BOOK EIGHT: THE SECOND of the BOOKS of CHANGE
CHAPTER FORTY FIVE
As masked men with mops sopped up the mortal remains of Garcilazo, Victoriano Huerta was being removed to the stockade at Fort Bliss, northeast of El Paso, having refused to post bond after being re-arrested on the same charges of violation of the Neutrality Act, plus certain others.
This time, José Macias was not to blame... in fact, this outcome was but another reversal in his fortunes, after so auspicious a series of developments only one week before.
As the American nation prepared to celebrate its one hundred thirty-ninth anniversary, Gaffigan had sent his boy round to "Juan Aguila", who had been enjoying a week of liberty in Huerta's old suite at the Hotel Manhattan. "It seems that Mr. Carranza has not been as forthcoming with certain proposed reforms in Mexican banking and petroleum law as he first represented himself to be," the investor conceded to his agent. "So, we have determined to give the old rascal another chance."
"That would be Victoriano Huerta?"
"Who else?" the American threw up his hands. "All of those others just do not understand... Orozco and Felix Diaz do, but neither is capable of managing such a wreck as is Mexico. As for the European powers jockeying for influence... well, President Wilson has a plan to end war, not simply the conflict over in Belgium, but all war, for all time!"
"Interesting," replied Juan Aguila, making the decision not to tell Gaffigan what he really thought of that.
"I suspect that Felix Diaz is going to mount a naval offensive not far from Baltimore, at a time and place when Carranza least expects it. Provided he captures the Constitutionalist vessels outside American waters, I do not anticipate a successful protest, and he will then have five steamers, with which to take and hold the ports of Tampico and Veracruz."
"Perhaps he will be more successful as a pirate than as a General," José allowed.
"Huerta, Orozco and the rest will be brought to trial on Monday, the twelfth. They will be acquitted and across the border no later than Wednesday, and an accommodation with Pancho Villa is in the works. Villa's General Angeles did somewhat more than visit family in Boston, you know..."
"I would think Carranza, Zapata, Obregon and Villa would combine again, were Huerta the alternative."
"But he is only the messenger," Gaffigan smiled. "The redeemer shall be on his way across the ocean as soon as Felix is in place off the eastern ports."
"Diaz?" wondered "Juan Aguila", tipping his hat upwards in surprise. "Didn’t he die yet? And, if not, the people of Mexico despise him..."
"By the time Zapata and Carranza have finished their scrap in the capital," Gaffigan smirked, "Porfirio Diaz will be remembered as a veritable St. Francis." Notice of the death of the erstwhile Iron Hand having just been received although still somewhat disputed, the cynical American explained that popular nostalgia would, for once, work to the benefit of the Felicista cause. "And, while he is not the man that his uncle was, all that is needed is that Felix Diaz assume the Presidency... with Huerta as his military chief... long enough to oversee an election in which only the right candidates shall participate. Men of business, not revolution, whom we have been preparing, waiting for their moment to emerge..."
"Creel?" the Colonel frowned...
"Perhaps. Or others. As for President Wilson, there are some rather unusual incentives in the works that shall encourage him to seek one who can unify Mexico, if only for the short term. We of the Programme will be taking care of our own... cleaning house, you might say," Gaffigan hinted. And, when José left with his orders, the streets were already full of clamor... someone had set off a bomb in the East Wing of the Capitol Building in Washington.
It would be a violent Independence Weekend. On Saturday, an assassin penetrated security on the estate of J. P. Morgan at Glen Cove, Long Island, and shot the financier and political kingmaker, although it was reported that Morgan would probably survive his wounds. A few hours later, Pascual Orozco eluded the sleeping guard, supposedly watching his mother's residence at 1315 Wyoming Street in El Paso, where he had remained under house arrest since posting bond. He entered a waiting motorcar and was gone. Victoriano Huerta, with five others... including Generals Bravo, Delgado and Caos and Abraham Ratner... were immediately re-arrested and, when a Federal Officer pushed one of the ex-President's grandsons from the running board of the motorcar carrying Huerta off, he railed: "Had I not been placed in the circumstances in which I was, I would have shot him."
"If any one had told me that a man could have been arrested on American soil and sent to jail without a hearing," Ignacio Bravo fumed, "I would have told him he lied."
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