Gritos de Muerte y Libertad (2010)

 

 

 

Director:     (8 episodes), María Fernanda Suarez (5 episodes).

Starring:     Alejandro Tommasi (Miguel Hidalgo), Alberto Estrella (Jose Maria Morelos), Arturo Ríos (Virrey Venega), Julio Bracho(Ignacio Allende), Alejandro Calva (Miguel Bataller), Jorge Zárate (Inquisidor Tirado), Ricardo Blume (Virrey Juan Ruiz de Apodaca), Miguel Flores (Matias de Monteagudo), Daniel Giménez Cacho (Agustín de Iturbide), Irene Azuela (Ana Huarte), Alejandro Cuétara (Juan Aldama), Rodolfo Nevarez (Nicolas Bravo), Lumi Cavazos (Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez), Dagoberto Gama (Vicente Guerrero), Diego Luna (Guadalupe Victoria), Luis Fernando Peña (Capitán Insurgente), Gerardo Trejoluna (Andres Quintana Roo).

Mexico's fight for independence from Spain

 

 

Spoiler Warning:

 

Chapter 1.  The First Dream: 1808. 

Church bells are rung.  Someone shouts:  "Death to the Frenchified government!"  "Long live our holy Virgin of Guadalupe!"  "Let's move ahead for our freedom!"  "Death to the inadequate government!"  "Long live America!" 

1810.  A man is thrown into a jail cell.  He protests that he doesn't belong here.  A man already in the cell says the man is in the right place for the government throws people who they want to punish into jail.  He then asks the newcomer if he knows who he is?  Of course, not, the older prisoner says.  Once they throw you into jail, "you are no longer anybody". 

1808.  "England and France dispute the dominance of Europe.  Napoleon invades Spain.  Ferdinand VII, legitimate heir to the Spanish Crown, is forced to abdicate.  In New Spain, Syndic Francisco Primo de Verdad and Councilor Francisco Azcarate supported by Friar Melchor de Talamantes propose an autonomous government made up of a provisional board headed by Viceroy Jose de Iturrigaray.  The proposal of autonomy implies a change in the establishment and a threat to the privileges of Spaniards."

Mexico City, 1810.   The man already in prison explains to the newcomer:  "We were lawyers.  We knew the law.  We thought we had a solution for the absence of authority in Spain.  This was out opportunity!  . . . What we needed was an autonomous government for New Spain."

1808.  A group of men discuss the future of New Spain.  Nobody wants to accept Napoleon's brother as King of Spain.  So the men suggest the founding of an autonomous government for New Spain headed by Viceroy Iturrigaray.  Francisco says they need to be very careful of their choice of words for the declaration of an autonomous government in New Spain.  This might threaten the desires of the citizens in Spain.  A priest named Alfaro says that Spain is no longer in the hands of the Spanish king.  A Frenchman is king.  

The men agree that this will only be a first step on the road to independence. The second step will be a much bigger one. 

Businessmen complain that Iturrigaray has stolen from all of them.  Judge Bataller is particularly outspoken on this matter.  He says the viceroy is an obstacle to prosperous trade in New Spain.

In private Bataller tells the priest:  "I'm talking about a New Spain without Iturrigaray."  The Viceroy doesn't have a lot of support since Charles IV is gone.

City Hall.  In comes His Excellency, Viceroy Iturrigaray.  The men working on the proposal present it to Iturrigaray.  They are representatives of the City Council of the capital.  Primo de Verdad says that with Napoleon controlling Spain, the time has come for New Spain to get ready to defend itself from any possible invaders.  And this is why they think it's necessary to form a provisional government in New Spain.  This last statement causes many people to speak out at the same time.  Men raise objections, but Iturrigaray speaks up for them.  Council member Francisco is now ready to drop a bombshell.  He says:  "Authority comes to the King  from God.  But not in a direct manner, but through the people."  The Archbishop is outraged, while others laugh at this democratic notion.  Francisco continues:  "The lack of a monarch means that sovereignty must be restored to the people."

Bataller demands to know who are the "people" that power has to be turned over to.  Some of the attendees shout that the three men are traitors.  Not even Iturrigaray, with his ulterior motives, will support that idea.  Bataller and the Archbishop walk out of the meeting. 

Iturrigaray tells his wife Ines what happened today at the City Hall.  She comments:  "Just imagine.  We'd be the royal family."  Iturrigaray says they turned down the proposal.  He also says that there's pressure for Iturrigaray to resign.  The wealthy Spanish feel themselves threatened.  They are scared imagining a government made up of Creoles, natives, half-breeds and mulattoes.  And now Iturrigaray feels himself threatened.  He tells Ines he will bring a regiment from Celaya to protect the house.  [Celaya is today a city in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, located in the southeast quadrant of the state.  The distance is 164 miles / 264 km.]

The Viceroy doesn't think that Ines is taking this matter seriously.  He yells at her:  "When there's no king, they can do as they please.  Ines!  Ines!  And they will!"  That awakens Ines. 

A Mr. Guillermo tells Bataller that the Viceroy wants to be king.  Bataller mentions that the Viceroy is partial to Creoles.  And he believes that Iturrigaray's true objective is to create an autonomous government.  Then he would make Primo de Verdad and his ilk his judges.  The existing judges would not long be judges and Guillermo would have no friends in the government.  "All those men are a threat to the Crown.  We must take action.  Now."

Primo de Verdad tells his daughter that the government is upset because they don't want to sacrifice their privileges.  "The Spaniards have all the power and aren't willing to share it with anybody.  Especially not with us.  Why?  Because we are Creoles.  Because we weren't born in Spain. "  And anyone who proposes something different are called troublemakers and traitors. 

Bataller and Guillermo speak with the Archbishop.  They say that Iturrigaray is in league with the Creoles to preserve his own power.  The Viceroy is very greedy, doesn't sent the proper share of taxes to Spain, but keeps them for himself and spends the money on himself and his wife. 

Bataller and Guillermo plot to use their own men to strike against the Viceroy before the arrival of troops from Celaya. 

Viceregal Palace.  September 15th, 1808.  With their men, Bataller and Guillermo arrest the Viceroy and his wife, Primo de Verdad, the priest and Francisco.  The latter three are put in jail cells.  Primo de Verdad is executed surreptitiously.  The priest coughs up black blood and dies.

1810.  Mexico City.  The new prisoner put in the jail cell with Francisco, tells Francisco that Father Hidalgo and Captain Allende have taken Guanajuato.  [Guanajuatio is today the capital of the state of Guanajuato.]  They are planning on taking the capital of New Spain. 

"The response to the proposal of an autonomous government was a coup.  Primo de Verdad, Talamantes and Azcarate were imprisoned.  The first two died in prison under unclear circumstances.  Viceroy Iturrigaray was sent back to Spain.  The reaffirmation of the Spaniards' power put an end to that first dream of autonomy.  However, this idea would be restored and redefined by Creoles once and again, until it became the Independence Movement."
 

 

Chapter 2.  Josefa's Conspiracies. 

 

Queretaro, September 14th, 1810.  Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez is the wife of the Magistrate of Queretaro, one of the states of Mexico, this one to the east of Guanajuato.

Captain Allende says to his friend Mariano that Josefa will know for sure that they are late.

"That which in 1808 was an open proposal of autonomy, in 1810 becomes a seditious idea among groups of Creoles who meet secretly.  In Queretaro, one of such groups plans a blow against the Viceregal government.  Meeting around the figure of Josefa Ortiz Dominguez, the Magistrate's wife, Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende, Mariano Abasolo and Juan Aldama conspire.   They know they risk their lives.  They have weapons and are planning an uprising, although they know of traitors among them."

Josefa scolds Allende and Abasolo for being late.  Then she asks about the whereabouts of Father Hildago.  Allende tells her the Father can't attend as he's reviewing the organization in detail.  They all sit down to have dinner. 

During dinner, Arias says Father Hildalgo suggests that the time is urgent and that they may have to deliver the blow before October 1.  Allende says the will take action in 17 days as agreed upon.  Hildago searches for allies among the Creoles. 

The keeper of the minutes, Galvan, walks out after the meeting is over.  Captain Abasolo stops him and asks him for the notes on the meeting.  Galvan says:  "I'm sorry, I thought I gave them to you."  He now hands over the notes and leaves.  Absolo tells Josefa not to worry, because this is the last meeting Galvan will attend. 

At bed time, the Magistrate reminds Josefa that the Viceroy's spies watch them both day and night.  Josefa tells him:  "Deep down you don't believe in the cause."  About the Spanish, she also tells him:  "It's time they knew we're as worthy as they are."

"Report of a Conspiracy Against the Crown."  Filed by Captain Joaquin Arias.  One day before the outbreak.  Arias signs his report.  He says he wants to be arrested tonight, so the rebels don't suspect it was he that turned them in.  He goes on to say that the brothers Epigmenio and Emeterio Gonzalez gathered the weapons for the cause.  Also involved are Josefa and Miguel Dominguez.

Father Gil is told about the plot.  He goes to see Miguel Dominguez.  Miguel tells the Father that they should meet in his study.  Josefa is on guard and wants to find out what's going on.  She listens in on the conversation about the plot, about which the Father says I doubt it's true.  Father Gil also mentions that the names of Miguel and Josefa were mentioned in relation to the plot.

Miguel tells the pregnant Josefa that the plot has been uncovered, and he has to act as a member of the Viceregal government.  Josefa loudly shouts that Miguel better not dare inform on their friends.  Miquel says this is no matter for a woman to resolve.  She speaks up and says nor is it a matter for a man who lets the Spanish humiliate him.  Miguel leaves.  He locks Josefa in the house from the outside.  Josefa is furious at her husband for this.

The Magistrate tells the authorities and they go to search the home of the Gonzales brothers.  There they find a stash of weapons and gun powder. 

Josefa stomps on her floor until Mayor Ignacio knocks on his ceiling with a long pole.  He grabs his pistol and comes to the rescue.  The two speak through the locked outside door.  She informs the man that the plot has been uncovered.  Captain Allende, who is in San Miguel, must be notified immediately.  Ignacio rides out for San Miguel. 

Ignacio informs Allende and Father Hildago who are together.  He also tells them that Josefa is determined that the uprising should go ahead. 

Josefa is arrested. 

"The Magistrate's wife warned Allende that the conspiracy had been uncovered.  The uprising had to be carried out sooner.  Miguel Hidalgo agreed.  Josefa Ortiz was incarcerated in three different convents over three years.  She never turned in the other conspirators.  When independence came and before the coronation of Agustin Iturbide, she refused to be the Lady of Honor (equals lady-in-waiting) of the Empress.  She never accepted any reward for her services to the Nation."

[First Regency (September 28, 1821 to April 11, 1822).  Wikipedia says:  "After the consummation of the Independence of Mexico, it was settled a Provisional Board of Governing formed by thirty-four persons. The Board decreed and signed the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire and appointed a regency composed by six people."]

[Second Regency (April 11, 1822 to May 18, 1822).

[Coronation of Augustin Iturbide as Emperor (May 19, 1822 to March 19, 1823.]

 

 

Chapter 3.  The Outbreak: 1810. 

Queretaro.  September 15, 1810.  On this day the conspiracy was uncovered.  The news reaches both the Viceregal government and the conspirators.  A race against time begins.  Miguel Hidalgo and Ignacio Allende must decide if the insurrection is to be carried out sooner.

Ignacio knocks hard on the door to Allende's place, but there is no answer.  Captain Juan Aldama comes out and asks what is this all about?  Ignacio says that the plot was uncovered.  The Gonzalez brother and the Magistrate and his wife have been caught. 

The Office of Command in Queretaro.  The same story is being told in the Office of Command, but from a different perspective.

Captain Allende stops a courier and reads his message.  The message is to arrest Captains Allende and Aldama and also Father Hidalgo.  He tells the courier that the message is for him. 

Dolores church Guanajuato.  Father Hidalgo asks Captain Allende how did this information come to him?  A letter from Guanjuato warned him that their group had betrayed the government and that their arrests are imminent.  Hidalgo says that it will take some time to think about what to do.  Allende says they can't do much because they are not ready to move against the government.  It's even dangerous for Allende to be at Hidalgo's home.  Hidalgo fires back that they are raising an army and he needs Allende to be with him.  The priest will visit with the subdelegate to see if he is aware of what's going on. 

Mayor Ochoa has Captain Garcia Arango sent out to deliver a message to Judge Aguirre and to His Excellency Viceroy Vengegas.

Hidalgo plays cards with Don Ignacio, his wife Encarnacion, and two other guests.  When he leaves he asks Ignacio to lend him two hundred pesos. 

The brothers Gozalez are interrogated very roughly. 

Encarnacion gives the 200 pesos to Hidalgo.  He asks questions of the guests to see if they know anything about the rebellion.  Hidalgo realizes that they know nothing about this subject.

Now interrogated is Counselor Lorenzo Parra.  He is accused of being a part of the plot in that he lent his house out for clandestine meetings.  And they now want the lawyer to name the names of the conspirators.  He names the three most prominent leaders:  Allende, Hidalgo and Aldama. 

Viceregal Palace, Mexico City.  Captain Arango arrives with his message.  The message is read and now begins a flurry of activity in the palace.  Judge Aguirre is awakened, 

Hidalgo tells the men with him:  "Gentlemen, we are doomed.  The only solution is to kill Spaniards!"  The two captains warn against acting too hastily.  Hidalgo tells his servant Mariano that the time has come.  Mariano is to gather together the tanners, blacksmiths and potters.  And make sure they bring their weapons with them.  Then go to the ranches and gets the peons and day workers and tell them to come talk to Father Hidalgo. 

Allende tries to warn Hidalgo that they just not have enough men to fight and win in battle.  Hidalgo asks Allende if he is scared?  Allende says he's a military man and knows about fighting battles.  Hidalgo responds:  "I will not await the arrival of the Viceroy's troops."

The Viceroy says to Judge Aguirre that he wants the heads of all the conspirators, without exception. 

Hidalgo tells the captains that the first thing they will do is go to the home of Nicolas Fernandez.  They will overpower the man.  They will also let the prisoners go from the jail and use them as soldiers for the cause. 

Jailhouse in Dolores, State of Guanajuato.  The rebels free the prisoners.

Fernandez and his wife are now prisoners of the rebels. 

The Viceroy tells Judge Aguirre to call for Colonel Emparan immediately. 

Hidalgo gathers a huge crowd in front of the church steps and fires up the people. 

The Viceroy tells Colonel Emparan to bring them in, dead or alive. 

Hidalgo makes it clear to Allende that they will not survive to see the end of this.  Allende says, yes. 

"The uprising in Dolores had been hasty and didn't allow the formation of an organized army.  Thus, Allende and Aldama marched to Guanajuato incarcerating Spaniards and freeing prisoners.  In order to enhance his army and preserve its loyalty, Hidalgo allowed the looting of San Miguel el Grande and Celaya though it went against military training.  It was nothing compared to the pillage, violence and death seen later in Guanajuato that would make even Hidalgo shudder."

 

 

Chapter 4.  Dividing Blood.

City of Guanajuato, September 24, 1810.  "Hidalgo's army is very close, Quartermaster Riano."  His numbers are in the thousands.  The other officers insist that they need more soldiers to face Hidalgo.  Riano says that Hidalgo will be upon the city by tomorrow and they must stay to protect the citizens of Guanajuato.  He tells his officers that he wants all citizens inside the Alhondiga, the public granary.  Raino defends this choice by saying that Hidalgo is a friend of his and, in fact, he is friends with many of the city's residents.  The priest is fighting against the Viceregal authority, not against the city citizens of Guanajuato. 

Tomorrow morning they will shut the gates of the Alhondiga.  Everyone can bring their assets and families.  The locals warn Riano that Hidalgo and his army killed a lot of people in Celaya.  Riano says here they will kill no one. 

"Hidalgo's improvised army approaches Guanajuato, one of New Spain's centers of wealth.  Quarter master Juan Antonio Riano orders Spaniards and Creoles to take cover in a corn granary.  . . . Lucas Alaman, a young Creole, disobeys Riano and becomes witness to one of the bloodiest episodes of the insurgent movement."

Raino virtually begs Alaman to come to the Alhondiga, but the man is set on staying in his house.

Raino gives the order to close the gates of the granary.  Alaman orders everyone in the house into the kitchen. 

The insurgent army virtually pours through the streets of Guanajuato.  From inside their house, the Alamans can hear the screams of people being killed.  Raino and his wife listen to the noise associated with the people trying to open the gates of the granary.  The doors open and the people start killing everyone in sight.  It is extremely bloody.  Raino is taken prisoner for awhile, but then is shot in the back of the head.  His wife has to witness this. 

The servant Jose leaves the Alaman house to see if he can get Hidalgo to guarantee the safety of the Creole household.  He reaches Hidalgo.  Hidalgo gives him a religious piece of cloth so Jose can place it on his hat. 

A woman brings in a man that has been badly hurt.  She tells the family that they burned the door down and broke into the house.  "They killed everybody!"  These poor people were at the granary and now the man starts telling the story.  He says on one side of the granary there was a white flag, but on the other side bombs were set off.  Raino was one of the first to die.  There were so many people inside the granary and the peasants looted everything. 

Mother Alaman tells Lucas Alaman that they have to  go get help from Hidalgo.  Lucas and mother go and Father Hidalgo talks with him.  The mother says they are scared because there have been so many killings.  Hidalgo sends Captain Centeno to go with the Alamans and provide protection for them. 

On the streets there are dead and very bloody bodies everywhere.  Any Europeans and many others are killed if found to still be alive. 

"The storming of the Alhondiga sealed the future of the insurgent movement.  For Allende, the misconduct and violence that Hidalgo's followers displayed there was unacceptable.  Hidalgo himself was scarred by the violence they exhibited.  The fear of an equally violent taking of Mexico City probably influenced his decision of retreating after their victory at Monte de las Cruces.  Once incarcerated and sentenced to death, Hidalgo would relive and regret the acts he witnessed at the Alhondiga de Granaditas."

 

 

Chapter 5.  Between Fear and Victory. 

Monte de las Cruces, Valley of Toluca.  October 1810.  There are almost three thousand dead. 

The army under General Calleja is close by.  Nevertheless, Allende calls Jimenez over to him.  He tells Jimenez to go to  the palace and tell His Excellency Viceroy Venegas that it's time for him to surrender.   Jimenez says it will be a pleasure. 

"The insurgents were victorious at Monte de las Cruces on the outskirts of Mexico City.  Ignacio Allende is determined to take Mexico City.  But Hidalgo is prey to images of chaos, destruction and death."

Hidalgo is tending to the wounded peasants.  Mariano is badly wound and Hidalgo tries to help him survive. 

Chapultepec Aqueduct on the way to Mexico City.  Jimenez and Antonio wait and wait to hear something from the Viceroy. 

An official tells the Viceroy that the insurgents want to take Mexico City, and that shouldn't be too hard because they have some 10,000 men.  He adds that General Jimenez says he's here to give the Viceroy a chance of surrendering the city peacefully.  And, General Calleja will take a few more days to arrive here and he has only 2,000 soldiers. 

The Viceroy says no horde of Afro-natives will ever claim Mexico City.  He shouts to tell his staff to relay that message to Gen. Jimenez.  The message delivered is:  "Tell Hidalgo that he has won nothing."  And that there are a thousand men in Mexico City willing to kill.  But the dead can't give messages, and the Viceroy wants Hidalgo to get it clear in his mind that the capital and the whole Kingdom belong to the Spanish Crown.  Now the Spanish officer lets Jimenez and Antonio go back to Hidalgo. 

Jimenez returns and tells Allende that he has brought bad news.  Hidalgo comes over to hear the news.  The news is:  "The Viceroy isn't willing to surrender."  The good news is that the government has less than 2,000 troops.  But the people of Mexico City will not side with the insurgents.  They have been leaving the city because they're scared.  Allende wants to go ahead into Mexico City before General Calleja and his army arrives.  Hidalgo is hesitant because he believes that Calleja's army is very powerful.  This upsets Allende who says they can't stop now when they are just about to win the whole enchilada. Hidalgo says he needs some time to think it over.  He says he needs the rest and says good night to everyone in the tent. 

Allende gives his officers the order to prepare their men to leave for Mexico City in the morning.  The problem is that Hidalgo has not gone to bed.  He is roaming around checking on people.  A little boy says he's scared because the men are entering Mexico City tomorrow and they say that then the government army will chase the insurgents and kill every one of them. 

In the morning, Father Hidalgo tells his brother Mariano that it is not time to go into Mexico City.  Whole families will be massacred.  There will be more rapes and murders.  Hidalgo now gives the order to take down the camp because they're leaving.

Allende talks to his officers about the plan to take Mexico City.  The officers don't want any more massacres to occur.  Allende says he will talk to Hidalgo about this situation.

Allende and Hidalgo clash on what to do.  Hidalgo wants to retreat, saying he will not take the responsibility for a massacre.  Allende reminds him that he means he won't take responsibility for still another massacre.  He goes on to say that he lost a lot of his soldiers because of the peasant fighters being so out of control.  "That army of yours has stomped over all grounds like a plague.  No chronicle could account for so many dead."  He criticizes the priest for coming all this way, just to fizzle out.  Allende needs Hidalgo's army in order to take the City.  "I hope you get the troops and cannons rolling immediately. . . .  There are many men outside who have risked it all for your cause.  We have risked our lives and we've committed to this struggle.  . . .  And now you decide that it was all in vain?  That is immoral!"

Allende tells Hidalgo to make up his mind, because the army is moving out at noon. 

Hidalgo and his army retreat.

"The decision of not marching to Mexico City marked the beginning of the end.  On their retreat, the insurgents marched towards the Bajio region and unexpectedly ran into Felix Maria Calleja at Aculco and were defeated.  The Battle of Puente de Calderon would be the decisive one." 

 

 

Chapter 6.  Stanzas For Ortega. 

"After their defeat in the Battle of Puente de Calderon, the insurgents retreat to the North of the country where they wait to regroup and gather money and weapons.  However, the leaders of the movement are betrayed by Ignacio Elizondo.  In Chihuahua, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama and Jose Mariano Jimenez are executed.  Miguel Hidalgo, stripped of his clerical gown, excommunicated and imprisoned, regretfully awaits the execution of his sentence."

Chihuahua, July 30, 1811.  It's the day Father Hidalgo is to be executed.  The jailer, Ortega, brings him his last supper.  It's just bread and water.  Hidalgo asks Ortega to stay with him for he hates to eat alone.  The two men talk to each other.  Ortega says it's hard watching a good man like Father Hidalgo be put to death.  Ortega's wife has provided Hidalgo with some cigars and some sweets.

Hidalgo starts talking about the armed insurrection.  He says:  "The march was a disorganized revelry."  When they reached Guanajuato, his people were out of control.  "The look on those people's eyes is stuck inside my soul, Ortega."  He admits that his people were in a rage and hate due to so much accumulated injustice.  'Mine are not the actions of a good man."   The priest says that it was Ignacio Elizondo who betrayed them.  The man was a good spy.  And he lured them north to Las Norias where the army was waiting for them. 

There's a knock on the jail cell door.  Hidalgo has one hour to his execution.  Ortega tells Hidalgo that he did what he had to do.  He says:  "The faith you gave to so many people you gave to me, too.  Don't take it away.  You owe it to me."

Hidalgo begins his long walk to his place of execution before a firing squad.   He gives pieces of candy given to him by Mrs. Ortega to some of the men as he walks to his death.  He is sat down on a bench and blindfolded."'

It takes many shots before Hidalgo finally dies. 

"After nearly four months of incarceration, Father Miguel Hidalgo died believing that the fight for independence was dying with him.  However, in the South of the viceroyalty, Jose Maria Morelos was still fighting, and would reach fame and respect, even from his enemies due to his brilliant campaigns. The heads of Hidalgo, Allende, Aldama and Jimenez hung in cages at the Alhondiga de Granaditas for ten years."

 

 

Chapter 7.  Triumph of Character. 

Viceregal Palace, Mexico City, 1812.  The Viceroy tells Colonel Emparan to report to him on the latest conditions.  The Colonel says that Mexico City is surrounded by insurgents.  The roads are blocked and their provisions are low.  They must make sure that they keep Morales and his men from reaching the palace.  The Viceroy chimes in with the observation that they already exterminated Hidalgo and his followers.  The same fate awaits this priest Morelos.  He says that no one now will threaten the Spanish crown.  He dismisses Colonel Emparan. 

And now the Viceroy dictates a letter to Brigadier Felix Maria Calleja del Rey saying the he is to exterminate immediately Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon in Cuautla. [Cuautla is a city in the state of Morelos, just southeast of Mexico City.  Today it is the third most populous city in Morelos, after Cuernavaca and Jiutepec. On the eastern border of Morelos is the state of Puebla.]

"After the death of Hidalgo, Allende, Aldama and Jimenez, and after the defeat of the insurgents in Zitacuaro in January 1812, Jose Maria Morelos takes leadership of the movement. From the South and in command of a well organized force, he advances towards the middle of the territory.  Morelos marches along the mountains of Puebla and takes Cuautla.   Worried that Morelos might storm the capital, Viceroy Venegas sends Felix Maria Calleja to finish off the rebels."

Day 0.  Calleja tells his officers that handling Jose Maria Morelos and taking Cuautla won't be difficult.  The General gets his forces moving. 

Father Morelos, with a bandana on his head,  gives the order to attack Calleja's forces.  Mariano objects but Morelos says that's an order.  Galeana will be up front with Morelos.  The attack begins and the fight is on. 

A peasant soldier runs up to Galeana to tell him that Father Morelos is surrounded by enemy soldiers.  Galeana tells his group of men to follow him to rescue the Father.  The men are on horseback and soon reach Father Morelos.  Galeana tells the priest to retreat.  Now they all retreat back to the town. 

An officer, Colonel Echegaray, informs Calleja that Morelos has fortified the town of Cuautla.  Calleja says it will take no more than eight days to wipe out the resistance.

Cuautla de Amipas.  Back in the town, Galeana tells the priest that there are 4,500 of them, but 9,000 of the enemy.  The priest, however is not worried.  He says everything is in their favor: the weather, their knowledge of the terrain and their strategy.  He thinks they will defeat the Royal troops and reach Puebla.  Then they can block the commercial route between Mexico City and the eastern port of Veracruz on the Gulf of Mexico coast. 

Colonel Echegaray tells Calleja that the position of Cuautla and the enemy's trenches renders their two best offensive weapons, cavalry and artillery, of little use.  Calleja tells him that they will make the best use of their infantry.  He orders the infantry be placed into four attack columns to match the enemy's main defense points.

Day 10.  Morelos orders Galeana to execute all the enemy prisoners.  Galeana is shocked by the order. 

Captain Ulibarry tells Calleja that their infantry is not used to fighting in this type of terrain at Cuautla and the backups from Spain are weakened by the climate.  Continuing the attacks will mean an unacceptable loss of lives and equipment.  Calleja says, in that case, he will send for more reinforcements.  And they will begin a siege of Cuautla. 

Back at the Viceroy's Palace, a clerk reads Venegas the request for more troops and equipment coming from Calleja.  What the Viceroy is most concerned about is how much is it going to cost to eliminate Morelos. 

Morelos says they must defend the city until the arrival of worse weather.  The rains will come and the heat will rise and the soldiers won't survive the diseases setting in on them. 

Calleja's doctors and nurses with little resources have to care for 200 wounded men.  Moreover, a mysterious disease spreads among the men. 

Day 36.  The people of Cuautla fight over very scarce water.  And the people start to eat any animal they can get their hands on:  rats, cats, lizards.  Morelos gives the order to Mariano to tell Miguel Bravo that they need help in bringing supplies into Cuautla. 

Day 62.  By letter Calleja begs the Viceroy to lift the siege.  Their army is fighting dysentery because of the terrible climate.  The Viceroy, however, just becomes furious over the request.  He is so frustrated that in over two months Calleja has not been able to subjugate Cuautla. 

Calleja is maddened by the Viceroy's response.  He now offers a pardon for Morelos, if he surrenders.  Morelos writes back that pardons are only for criminals.

In Cuautla people are dying of hunger and disease.  A local peasant tells the enemy about the bad situation in the city. 

The people in Cuautla are also suffering from the same mysterious disease confronting the enemy.  Morelos is now considering the possibility of surrender. 

Day 71.   Morelos tries to beak the siege.  The soldiers and the people line up in a column and march toward the lines of the enemy.  A sentry challenges them and Morelos begins the attack.  Calleja begins a strong counter-attack.

The next morning, Calleja learns from Colonel Echegaray that his soldiers have taken the town plaza.  He gives the order to kill Morelos immediately.  The problem is that Morelos and his army are no longer in Cuautla.  The insurgents broke the siege and got away.  Calleja goes into a rage, shouting:  "This is a terrible humiliation for my army! . . .  How could you allow it?"

Morelos is wounded, but still very much alive. 

"Calleja besieged Cuautla for 72 days.  The lack of water, the heat and the Royalist attacks cause the death of hundreds of men, women and children as well as that of many of Morelos' troops.  However, Morelos broke the siege and headed South to continue the struggle.  Morelos's ability to resist Calleja's attacks and to break the siege he had imposed confirmed his courage and military genius.  After some time in retirement, Calleja returned as Commanding General of Mexico City, and later as Viceroy, he continued his campaign against Morelos."

 

 

Chapter 8.  The Bells no Longer Toll.

Mexico City, 1815.  Morelos is captured and thrown into prison.  He is placed in irons  Morelos complains and the ankle bracelets are taken off. 

"In 1815, Viceroy Calleja recovers power thanks to the successful campaigns of Agustin de Iturbide and Gabriel de Armijo.  In that same year, Morelos is captured while he escorted the Congress on its flight to Tehuacan."

Church Officer Flores Alatorre comes to hear from Viceroy Calleja.  One of this aides, Bataller, tells Alatorre that the Viceroy's orders are to process Morelos at the most in three days.  The Church Officer reminds Bataller that Morelos is a priest and must first be tried by the Church.  Bataller says how can the priest say this when Morelos tried to overthrow the government of Spain?  The Church Office responds:  "The power of the Crown comes from God."  A priest has to be judged by an ecclesiastical court.  Eventually, Bataller and Alatorre agree to cooperate in order for both Crown and Church to get what they want.

Inquisition Palace, Mexico City, 1815.  Morelos appears before Bataller and Alatorre.  Morelos is asked how he came to be a commander in the cause of independence.

Flashback.  Hidalgo signs a paper permitting Morelos to organize and lead troops in the south.  Hidalgo says:  "I need you on the Southern coast."   Morelos says he has no military experience, but Hidalgo says neither does anybody else here with them. He tells Morelos:  "So, go back to your territories and raise an army right away."  Morelos says he can't do it because he has no weapons.  Hidalgo tells him to confiscate property, arrest Spaniards and storm Acapulco!

Back to the present.  Alatorre concludes that Morelos ignored the church's warnings of excommunication and joined the rebel Hidalgo.  Morelos replies:  "I considered that the cause for independence was a just one."  Alatorre asks if the independence cause justifies the commitment of all sorts of atrocities against other human beings?  . . .  to steal, burn and murder?  Morelos says they didn't murder anyone, except that they executed their enemy prisoners.  And the Crown soldiers do the same thing. 

The church officer now starts rolling off the names of the cities and town ruined by the insurgents:  Cuautla, Tenango, Zitacuaro, Los Remediuios, Tehuacan, Izucar!  Morelos justifies his action by saying:  "When I saw my soldiers fall in battle, I understood that I had become one of them.  At that moment the priest within me died and the military man was born."  He put on a military uniform. 

Now Bataller has a shot at Morelos.  By Morelos supporting the idea of independence, he acted against the King and that's the same as acting against God!

Flashback.  Chilpancingo Congress, 1813.  The men quiz Morelos.  The chair of the session is Mr. Quintana Roo.  A military man, Lopez Rayon, asks Morelos:  "If we've fought so hard to get rid of the Spanish yoke, why don't we also get rid of the Inquisition and promote freedom of religion?"  Morelos answer is that it's not he that is going to go against the church.  Roo says they are only talking about the right to choose one's own religion.  Morelos sidesteps that issue and says there is a real gift of unity if people are all united in one religion.  People will have a common identity. 

Back to the present.  Bataller condemns Morelos as the man who wanted to be master of the Americas  --  to put himself above God, the Church and the King!  Morelos denies he had any such notion.  Rather he only wanted to be a servant to the nation. 

Suddenly Bataller switches tactics.  He reminds Morelos that in exchange for not being executed, Morelos agreed to give the Viceroy the information that he needs.  Morelos starts singing.  He spouts out with:  Nicolas Bravo is on the Southern coast; at Tierra Caliente, there are 200 men; Father Torres is at the Bajio area with 800 rifles; Jose Maria Vargas is in Chapala; etc.  The court concludes that Morelos is removed from the priesthood.  Morelos goes back to his jail cell. 

Morelos goes through a ceremony where he is stripped of each of the functions of the priesthood.  His hands are scraped until they bleed. 

September 21, 1815.  Morelos is declared a heretic by the Holy Court of Faith and deposed from the Church.  Morelos is guilty of the crime of high treason.  All of Morelos' assets will be confiscated.  And he will be executed behind his back as a traitor to the King in three days. 

The priest speaks with Morelos and gets him to sign a statement of repentance for his actions. 

San Cristobal Ecatepec 1815.  Morelos walks to his place of execution.  Morelos has his back turned to the firing squad.  The order is given to fire and Morelos is executed.

"Morelos's death disarticulated the independence movement.  Out of the insurgent leaders only Guadalupe Victoria, Vicente Guerrero, Nicolas Bravo, Manuel Mier y Teran and Ignacio Lopez Rayon remained fighting with marked divisions between them and without the capacity for building one single movement."

 

 

Chapter 9.  Portrait of a Lioness. 

Chilpancingo Congress, 1813.  Andres Quintana Roo and Miss Leona Vicario come to the Congress.  There they meet Morelos. 

It's 1813.  Calleja, the worst enemy of the insurgents, is about to become viceroy.  In the southern part of the viceroyalty, Jose Maria Morelos keeps the independence hope alive.  From the capital, a secret society, "the Guadalupes", supports the rebels.  Linked to this society, a young Creole serves as courier and funds the movement with her fortune:  Leona Vicario. 

Mexico City, 1812.  Andres Quintana Roo comes to the house and meets Leona.  He tells her he is an articled clerk working for her uncle and he seems to be trying to hide something.  Leona shows him her Guadalupe medallion and assures him that they are both working for the cause of independence.  They are interrupted by the arrival of her uncle.  Her uncle does not support the independence movement.  His belief is that if you don't support the king, then you don't support God.  He calls the insurgent leaders "fools" that must be taught a lesson. 

Leona and Andres communicate with each other with the furtive exchange of notes.  Over time, the two become very close.  They kiss.  The uncle sees them kiss and does not look too pleased with what he sees. 

In semi-private, uncle tells Leona that the young lad is impertinent, an obstinate rebel and a big nobody!  He knows that the fellow keeps in touch with the insurgents.  He gives the rebels funds.  Leona speaks up:  "I've given him the money, uncle."  She has given him her mother's jewels.  The old man is shocked and tells his niece:  "You've crossed every line, Leona." 

Now Andres is literally thrown out the door along with his things. 

Uncle says Leona has been lying to him.  He tells her that she could be executed for her actions in this regard.  And she had one of the rebels acting as his collaborator.  Leona replies: "Andres wants to marry me."  Her world soon becomes more complicated fast, as soldiers come to arrest Leona, as her uncle turned her in to the authorities. 

Belem de las Mochas School for Girls.  Leona's uncle comes to see her.  Tomorrow she will be tried by the Royal Council for Security and Order.  Judge Berasueta will hand down the sentence.  And the sentence could be death.  He urges her to name names, but Leona says she will never be an informer.  She says uncle need not worry for she can defend herself. 

The judge says that Leona is charged with treason not only against her country, but also against "our holy religion".  She says her correspondence with the rebels was mostly with her cousin, Manuel.  The judge has documents that were taken from courier Mariano Salazar.  He says the notes were written by Leona in an encrypted language.  She also provided food, money and information. 

The judge wants to know if this Telemacus person is really Morelos?  He says he could send her to the gallows without any hesitation.  Furthermore, he wants all the names of the members of the Society of the Guadalupes.  She won't give the names.  He asks her who is Mrs. Barbara Guadalupe?  She won't say. 

The sentence is the confiscation of all her patrimonial assets and life in prison in the Belem de las Mochas School for Girls.   She is returned to her locked-up room.  She cries. 

42 days later.  A young man opens the door and asks if she is Leona?  Yes.  He tells her to come with them.  They just walk out of the school door.

Her rescuers take her to Andres where they hug and kiss each other.  The couple's orders are to go deep into the forest until further notice.  Andres tells the leader of the rescue to tell Gen. Lopez Rayon that they will hold out. 

Tlatlaya Mountain Range, Mexico Quartermaster Corps, 1818.  Andres and a pregnant Leona are walking through the woods accompanied by the sounds of rifle fire.  Leona starts to give birth.  She hangs onto a branch and Andres has to act as the midwife. 

The couple have their baby, who they name Genoveva.  Andres says he must go find Gen. Lopez Rayon.  Leona begs Andres not to leave her alone.  She says that everyone of the revolutionary leaders are dead:  Morelos, Galeana, Matamoros.  She is a bit hysterical.  Andres says that Victoria and Guerrero are still alive and leading the fight.  Leona, however, is still distraught.  So, Andres reminds her what Morelos told her when they met him.  He said that Leona ifsfierce, just like her name.  "At the feet of the most exemplary of rebel women.  Our nation owes you a lot, Miss Leona."  And now Leona takes heart and becomes determined to do whatever is necessary.  He helps her get up, so she can go for help for her and their baby.  Andres will look for the general.

1824.  Leona's two little girls run to her. 

"After suffering persecution and misery, Leona Vicario and Andres Quintana Roo survived until the war's end.  Once independence was achieved, they were both recognized for their work.  Together with Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, Leona Vicario is considered one of the most prominent women in the fight for independence."

 

Chapter 10.  The Final Plot. 

New Spain, 1817.  A priest questions a rebel in prison, asking him how long has he been with Guerrero?  The prisoner says he was pardoned and hasn't seen Guerrero in a year.  Another priest abuses a female prisoner who also says that the Viceroy himself pardoned her. Another man being abused says he hasn't picked up a weapon in six years and he doesn't know Vicente Guerrero.  Later the interrogated prisoners are executed by firing squads.  Inquisitor Tirado is congratulated on his good work. 

"At the death of Morelos, the insurgent movement is disarticulated and without leadership.  In this setting, Francisco Xavier Mina, a Spanish liberal, convinced that independence must be supported, arrives in New Spain.  In spite of winning some battles, Mina is executed, given the rebel leaders' incapacity to join his campaign.  In Spain, liberals enforce a constitution that limits royal power and privileges of the clergy.  In New Spain, a small group of Spaniards oppose the new constitution and, according to some historians, this group even conspires to prevent Viceroy Apodaca from swearing the constitution."

Viceregal Palace, Mexico City, 1820.  Badillo, in charge of military affairs, says to the Viceroy that the Inquisition will be abolished.  Furthermore, no proof of nobility will be necessary to be admitted into military schools or academies.  The Church may no longer buy land, ancestral homes or plantations.  The Viceroy asks if the war had now ended?  Badillo says peace reigns in the kingdom.  The Viceroy mentions that the war continues in the South.  Badillo says that Armijo is taking care of that. 

The Viceroy asks Badillo if the new Spanish constitution could be accepted here in Mexico?  "Equality between men, in New Spain?"  Inquisitor Tirado gives an answer to the Viceroy's question.  He says the new constitution is an abomination.  They want to do away with the Inquisition!  Tirado says he will be made homeless.  Bataller says:  "The Viceroy hasn't sworn the constitution yet."  He adds that the Viceroy not be permitted to swear the constitution.  After all, this is not Spain, but New Spain.  It's been three years since the execution of Francisco Xavier Mina.  They can't swear the constitution while fighting continues in the South under Vicente Guerrero. 

The priest Monteagudo says to Bataller that Armijo must defeat Guerrero in the south.  He too wants to reject "this damn constitution". 

Bataller becomes a leader of the anti-constitution men.  He says the Cadiz Constitution represents an imminent danger "to our Kingdom"!  Monteagudo says here in New Spain they will not accept the new constitution!  Bataller says the liberals in New Spain are the same as the rebels.  "Find them!  Report them!  We must know who they are.  We must get rid of them!"

In a meeting with the Viceroy, Monteagudo mentions that there are 112 dead due to Guerrero.  Armijo is still fighting, but Guerrero is too strong for them.  He tells the Viceroy to be more forceful.  They must defeat Guerrero.  So, the Viceroy dictates a letter to Armijo telling him he must put more pressure on Guerrero to stop his actions in the South. 

The Viceroy's wife tells him just swear the constitution regardless to the anti-constitution forces.  If worse comes to worse, then they can always go back to Spain. 

The home of Colonel Armijo.  The Viceroy's letter makes Armijo furious.  He says he will never, ever go back to fight in the jungles with Guerrero.  He believes that it is impossible to defeat Guerrero.  His army grows larger every day.  As a matter of fact, Armijo says he has resigned. 

The Viceroy gets Armijo's letter of resignation.  He is shocked and mad.  He knows that means their Southern forces will be headless in leadership terms.

When the anti-constitutionalists meet, they're frustrated and concerned.  They say what they need is someone to end the violence in the South and replace Armijo with one of their own men. 

Bataller is thinking fast of what they should do.  He tells Tirado that they need an autonomous government, free of Spain.  And, more importantly, free of those absurd Spanish Liberal ideas. Tirado says Bataller is talking now like a radical himself.  Bataller says if he's in charge, the idea of an autonomous New Spain will not be a liberal ideal.

The anti-Constitutionalists now turn to General Iturbide.  The General also thinks the Cadiz Constitution is a terrible thing.  And now Bataller and Monteagudo get Badillo to back the choice of Iturbide to be the substitute for Armijo. 

Badillo tells the Viceroy that Iturbide is a very good candidate for the Armijo replacement.  The Viceroy says if Badillo likes Iturbide, then the Viceroy also likes Iturbide. 

Bataller has the anti-constitutionalists toast to Agustin de Iturbide as their man to replace Armjio.  Everyman toasts Iturbide. 

But the Viceroy now swears the constitution in a small ceremony.

Iturbide tells his wife Ana to prepare herself for a hero in the family.  He and she are going places now.  Ana smiles. 

"The attempts to stop Viceroy Apodaca from swearing the Cadiz Constitution were useless.  However, amidst the reaction to the constitution, Iturbide assumed command of the Royalist Forces of the South.  From that position, Iturbide defined the course of the history of the insurgent movement.  Soon after the declaration of Independence, Miguel Bataller, as many Spaniards, left for Spain.  Matias de Monteagudo took part in Iturbide's provisional government."

 

 

Chapter 11.  The Nation Comes First.

Teloloapan Proximity, South of the Viceroyalty, 1821.  Guerrero and another man look like two cavemen.  They are wondering how many men they lost in battle against Iturbide.  They are determined to show Iturbide that he cannot defeat them. 

"It's been ten years since the Cry of Dolores and many insurgents expect to be pardoned by Viceroy Apodaca.  Vicente Guerrero refuses pardon and continues the war in the Southern part of the Viceregal territory.  Apodaca appoints Agustin de Iturbide as General Commander to the South to make the indomitable Guerrero submit."

Acatempan.  Officer Echavarri comes in to see Iturbide.  He says their ammunition will be here in a few days, but there is no news about the reinforcements.  This upsets Iturbide and he tells Echavarri to write the Viceroy again and asks him for ammunition, cannons and men. 

Ana Iturbide tells her husband to go to the jungle and find Guerrero.  Torture and kill him, but please let her sleep some more.  The General suggests to her that actually Guerrerio might be more useful to them alive. 

At the rebel camp, a man arrives to tell the soldiers about the pardon Viceroy Apodaca grants them.   Guerreo comments, like Morelos, that pardons are only for criminals. 

The man arriving turns out to be Vicente's father.  Dad tells him that he can't hide in the jungle for the rest of his life.  He adds that the people are tired of fighting.  And dad makes the point that there is no more insurrection.  He begs his son to take the pardon.  No, says his son.  Dad says but they are going to kill him.  Vicente thinks about that for awhile and then says simply:  "The nation comes first."

Echavarri reports to Iturbide that they killed many rebels, but more just keep coming.  Later Iturbide's wife asks him if he has finished his plan?  He says:  "A single religion, unity between Creoles and Spaniards and independence from Spain."

Echavarri reads the General's plan and says that it is disloyal to His Excellency the Viceroy!  The General shoots back with:  "It would mark the end of war, Echavarri."  The subordinate officer says about the plan:  "This is what Guerrero has been fighting for all these years."

Guerrero is not as dumb as the General thinks he is.  His aide tells him that Iturbide wants to trick Guerrero.  Guerrero replies:  "Or he wants to trick the Viceroy."  The aide adds:  "Or both." 

Guerrero reads the letter offering Guerrero so much that he has wanted.  He tells his soldiers that they will march to Acatempan to see Iturbide face to face.  Many speak up that Iturbide cannot be trusted.  But Vicente responds:  "This is an opportunity, we must take it."  Even if it's an ambush, they must take this opportunity.  He says Iturbide has changed sides. 

Iturbide tells Echavarri:  "No viceroy has had the courage to do what needs to be done."  Echavarri is still skeptical.  He says Iturbide is negotiating with the enemy behind the Viceroy's back.  And what if the Viceroy finds out about this? 

Acatempan, 1821.  Vicente's aide delivers the letter from Guerrero to Iturbide, who watches the aide closely.  Iturbide tells Ana:  "When Guerrero and I enter the Capital together, no one will dare oppose us."

Guerrero and many of his men come onto the courtyard.  Iturbide is there to greet Guerrero.  He grabs the huge man's shoulders and tells him:  "You don't know ho much it pleases me to meet a patriot who has embraced the cause for independence."

Iturbide and Ana are both proud of themselves for what has happened.  They toast with a glass of wine. 

Guerrero cleans himself up.  He cuts his toe and finger nails, cuts his long hair short, trims his beard, washes himself off and puts on a military uniform.  It's quite the change in appearance. 

"Vicente Guerrero refused pardon but accepted the Plan of Iguala.  When he learned of Iturbide's treason, Viceroy Apodaca tried to stop him, but it was too late.  Eventually, the most important Royalist garrisons in the country joined the Plan of Iguala or capitulated."

 

 

Chapter 12.  The End of Secrecy. 

What looks like a cave man roams the jungle finding food and shelter.  The person looks like the way the Vicente Guerrero used to look when he was in the jungle. 

"The Plan of Iguala spreads rapidly throughout the Viceregal territory.  Many Royalist leaders join Iturbide's ranks.  One of them is Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Santa Anna sets out to attract into the movement the last of the rebels:  Guadalupe Victoria, who, for almost three years, has been deep in the jungle of Veracruz. 

Santa Fe, Veracruz, 1821.  Mrs. Belen tends to their wild man.  She says he is very bad off. One of the men in the shack says that the man is Guadalupe Victoria.  The woman says he has seizures. 

The grandmother of the boy, Eliseo, who came upon Victoria,  asks where was he all this time?  He says they were down by the river and they found a man in the water.  Mrs. Belen says he was a soldier or something.  They think he's going to die. 

Mrs. Belen has Victoria feeling a bit better.  She tells him that her husband, Cristobal, was with him at Cuautla.  He was a member of Guerrero's army.  General Calleja's men killed both her husband and her brother.  She adds that Morelos cared about "us", but things have changed so much these days.  "Our generals march side by side with our enemies."

A man of the village tells the General that they met in Palmillas.  He was with Guerrero and then with him.  Victoria asks if he was in Oxaca?  Yes.  Then Victoria says that his men abandoned him. 

Three soldiers come to the village.  The leader is General Santa Anna.  He says it's an honor to see Victoria again.  Santa Anna then explains that Iturbide and Guerrero are now allies.  Victoria says that Iturbide too changed sides and betrayed the government. 

Santa Anna tells Victoria that they will first go to Veracruz where the doctors can treat him.  Then, together, they will go to Mexico City.  He adds it would be a terrible thing to leave Victoria in this dump of a place while his colleagues are ruling in the capital.  Victoria still doesn't trust Santa Anna, so Santa Anna tells him that he will wait a couple of days for Victoria to make up his mind. 

Santa Anna waits, but to no avail.  He comes to the village to say goodbye to Victoria. 

Eliseo tells Victoria that he wants to be a soldier too.  Victoria gets a kick out of that. 

One morning, Victoria says goodbye and on a horse takes off for Mexico City. 

Mexico City, three years later. 

Iturbide is now in European exile.  Victoria, looking good in a nice suit, greets Guerrero and Nicholas Bravo.  He says they are almost ready now for a true republic. 

"In the spring of l824, Guadalupe Victoria, Vicente Guerrero and Nicolas Bravo anticipated the birth of a republic.  By then, three years had passed since Agustin de Iturbide entered the capital leading the Trigarante Army with Guerrero and his men.  During that time, Iturbide was sworn as emperor and a few months later forced to abdicate and was exiled to Europe."

 

 

Chapter 13.  The Birth of the Republic. 

England, 1824.  Iturbide tells Ana that they are returning to Mexico, because here they are nothing, nothing!  Ana is pregnant and worried. 

It is 1824 and Agustin de Iturbide is in exile.  A provisional government summons a Constituent Congress to define the new nation's form of government.  Iturbide is declared an enemy of the nation.  Should he return from exile, he'd be committing high treason, punishable by immediate execution.  Unaware of the sentence, Iturbide disembarks on Mexican land. 

Soto la Marina, state of Tamaulipas.  [Tamaulipas is located on the Gulf of Mexico, just south of the Texas-Tamulipas border.]  As Iturbide lands on the Mexican coast, he is spotted by two soldiers.  At first the soldiers thinks it's two English merchants arriving secretly in Mexico, but after watching Iturbide for awhile, the soldier with the eye scope says, that's no Englishman. 

Iturbide and Ana with her baby sleep in their beds.  The military enters the room and Colonel de la Garza sees that it's Iturbide.  He asks Iturbide:  "Don't you know you were banned?"   Iturnbide says no.  The Colonel explains that there is a law that if Iturbide steps foot on Mexican soil, he is to be captured and executed on the spot.  The Colonel relents, however, because Iturbide saved his life once and he owes him a chance. 

De la Garza tells the General that he has decided that the carrying out of the sentence will wait until they reach Padilla.  [Padilla lies northeast of the capital city of Tamaulipas, Victoria City, on the northwest bank of Lake Vicente Guerrero.]

On the journey to Padilla, Iturbide tells the Colonel that the Spaniards are going to reconquer Mexico.  "We must go before the Supreme Government to warn them."  He hands over a document to the Colonel that details the planned military incursion. 

The Colonel looks at the document and concludes that this matter cannot wait.  He must go himself and deliver the warning to the government.  Very strangely, he places the troops under the command of Iturbide himself and takes off riding fast. 

Iturbide seems somewhat delusional.  He says the congressmen will be grateful to see him to save them from the election of Guadalupe Victoria to the presidency.

Padilla, Tamaulipas.   A letter from Iturbide is handed to the chair, Antonio Lara, of a meeting of a group of congressmen.  They are shocked to learn that Iturbide is here in Mexico. 

Meanwhile Iturbide is busy getting the soldiers drunk on his liquor while he regales them with tales of his military adventures. 

The congressmen are very aware of the rumored attack from Spain on Mexico.  The rumor is by now three years old.  The chairman, however, says maybe they should listen to Iturbide.  He also says that Iturbide is a hero of their revolution.  A congressman stands up to tell Lara that the chair does not know Iturbide!

At camp, Iturbide tells the soldiers:  "Thanks to me, this is an independent nation."

Lara says that Iturbide was their first emperor.  The outspoken critic of Iturbide say about the one-time emperor:  "He stole it through treachery and lies.  Iturbide fought the patriots."  And he killed Matamoros.  The critic adds:  "That man is capable of making half the country rise in a matter of days, and just to regain his power."  The debate goes on and on. 

Now the sergeant tells Iturbide that he's giving him a change to escape.  He says:  "You may go, they'll kill you in the woods or in Padilla anyway."  He then tells Iturbide:  "You took the throne after you killed all our heroes, claiming a victory that wasn't yours."  Nevertheless, Iturbide continues on with the soldiers. 

The Colonel returns from speaking with the congressmen.  Iturbide is now executed. 

"On October 4th, 1824, the Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States was signed and sanctioned.  According to its Magna Carta, the Mexican nation would be a representatives, popular and federal republic.   On October 1, 1824, Guadalupe Victoria was elected the first president of the Mexican United States.  The fight that in 1810 had begun to the cry of "death to the inadequate government" came to an end.  The colonial system and the monarchy had died, and a republic had been born.  Thus, Mexico began traveling the roads of freedom which were not always smooth."

 

 

Very good series.  Loaded with lots of information on the Mexican fight for independence.  Highly recommended. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.

 

 

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