In 2021 Mexico celebrates many important occasions, such as the 700 years of the founding of Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, the 500 invasions of Hernan Cortez or 200 of the country’s independence.
In the middle of these national dates appears a dark passage that blurs the history of the Mexican Revolution: A massacre of 303 people at the hands of the rebels and the local population Against the Chinese community stationed in the then-prosperous railroad city of Torreon, about 500 miles south of the US border.
This Monday the Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador You will first apologize to the Torreon Chinese community, In the border state of Coahuila, for the massacre committed by Mexican revolutionary fighters and locals against the Chinese in the region 110 years ago.
Around 1911 in Torreon, some were envious Xenophobia Towards the Chinese community there, many of its members have worked hard and thrived. In fact, there were actually some incidents in the previous year against Chinese companies at that site and others.
But on May 15, 1911, the federal garrison guarding the city outnumbered, and fled and withdrew, allowing the advance of the forces of Francisco Madero, one of the leaders of the Mexican Revolution against the government of Porfirio Diaz.
After some businesses and drunkenness were plundered, racist speeches began to surface. According to some historians, a herbalist took a Mexican flag and shouted, “Let’s kill the Chinese!”
Julian Herbert, author of the history of the massacre The newspaper quoted it WatchmanIt is estimated that it was revolutionary leader Benjamin Argomideo who gave the order and fired the first shot, unleashing an angry mob that committed all kinds of atrocities for 10 hours, from plundering and beating to dragging and trampling the Chinese with horses to kill them.
Herbert said, “Argomido gave the order to kill the Chinese, but they all participated in the massacre. They are all soldiers, men and women,” noting that the rebel fighters joined the townspeople to carry out the abuses.
After the anger and the massacre, the rebels and locals took pictures with the bodies of their victims, before they were taken away.
Historians of the time documented the barbarism and horror of Torreon, and one witness said he saw young Mexican children kick the corpses of Chinese people lying in the street.
Myths and theories about slaughter
One of the most widespread ideas about this massacre was that it was the work of the revolutionary leader Pancho Villa, although many historians have denied this.
In this small video shared by Torreon Municipal Archives on Twitter, historian Jess Sotomayor Garza confirms that Villa had nothing to do with him, as he was more than 500 miles away in Chihuahua.
It was also said that the massacre was justified because the Chinese sided with the federal forces to confront the rebels, however An investigation by the governments of China and Mexico A few months after the events, he denied that account and asserted that the Chinese living in Torreon were peaceful workers.
Sotomayor Garza also mentions that despite the barbarism unleashed by racial sentiments among the inhabitants of Torreon, there were also many who risked their lives, offering refuge to the Chinese and hiding them in their homes to protect them.
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There was no justice
Despite what happened in Torreon and the fact that about half of the Chinese population was massacred, forcing the remainder to leave the city, no one has ever asked for a formal pardon and it seems that history has skipped this passage or seen it as just a tale, some historians complain.
The memorial plaque that was once placed has been stolen. A statue was erected in a park in 2007 but was vandalized and later removed, although it is expected that it will be repositioned again for this commemoration of the anniversary.
Depending The story of the historian Pedro SalmeronThe persons questioned by Judge Antonio Ramos Pedroiza indicated the perpetrators. Subordinate superiors, who could easily be charged, such as Benjamin Argomido and Sabino Flores, blamed the Torreon population. As Juan Puig says: “Nobody punished one or the other: He killed Fuentoviguna himself. Forgive the tyrant. “
The victims of the massacre were buried in mass graves, one of which is currently under a road and a playground.
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