José María Pino Suárez

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His Excellency
José Maria Pino Suárez
Madero y Pino Suarez.jpg
Seal of the Government of Mexico.svg
7th Vice President of Mexico
In office
25 November 1911 – 19 February 1913
President Francisco Madero
Preceded by Ramón Corral
Succeeded by Office abolished
Coat of arms of Yucatan.svg
Governor of Yucatán
In office
5 June 1910 – 8 August 1911
President Francisco León de la Barra
Preceded by Enrique Muñoz Arristegui
Succeeded by Nicolás Camára Vales
Secretary of Education (Mexico)
In office
7 February 1912 – 19 February 1913
President Francisco Madero
Preceded by Miguel Diaz Lombardo
Succeeded by Jorge Vera Estañol
Personal details
Born (1869-09-08)8 September 1869
Tenosique, Tabasco,
Mexico
Died 22 February 1913(1913-02-22) (aged 43)
Mexico City
Nationality Mexican
Political party Constitutional Progressist Party
Spouse(s) Maria Camara Vales
Children Maria Pino
Alfredo Pino Camara
José Pino
Abigail Pino
Aida Pino de Moreno
Hortensia
Alma mater Escuela Nacional de Jurisprudencia
Profession Lawyer, Poet, Statesman, Revolutionary
Religion Roman Catholic

José María Pino Suárez (Spanish pronunciation: [xosemaˈɾia ˌpinoˈswaɾes]; 8 September 1869 – 22 February 1913) was a Mexican statesman, jurist, poet, journalist and revolutionary who served as the 7th and last Vice President of Mexico from 1911 until his assassination in 1913. In 1969, he was awarded the Belisario Domínguez Medal post mortem. He dedicated his short life to fighting for democracy and advocating against social injustices in Mexico.

Born in the southern state of Tabasco, he moved at a very young age to Mérida, Yucatán, to pursue his education. Shortly after graduating from law school, he established a law firm and began to write his poetry, for which he was later offered a seat in the Spanish Academy. As an entrepreneur, he also established the newspaper El Peninsular in which he made the public aware of the social injustices occurring in the Yucatán peninsula at the time. Joining the pro-democratic cause of Francisco I. Madero, José Maria Pino Suárez was important in establishing the Antireelectionist party in the south of the Republic. Fighting against the political oligarchy which controlled Yucatán, and of which he ironically was a part of through marriage, he was declared candidate of the Antireelectionist party as Governor of Yucatán but was soon arrested by order of the official party. Fleeing from arrest, he joined presidential candidate Madero (himself fleeing from the oppression of the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz) in the United States. There Pino Suárez helped to draft the Plan of San Luis Potosí which declared the 1910 presidential elections to be null and void, and ignited the Mexican Revolution. Under the plan, Madero was declared substitute president and in his cabinet, Pino Suárez was declared Secretary of Justice.

Following the capture of Ciudad Juárez by revolutionary troops, Pino Suárez was one of the key negotiators and signers of the Treaty of Ciudad Juárez which led to Porfirio Díaz resigning as president on 25 May 1911, and the end of his 30 year long dictatorship. Returning to Yucatán, Pino Suárez was declared interim governor by the local assembly after the resignation of Enrique Muñoz Arristegui. In the special elections of 1911 he won a majority of votes and was sworn in as Constitutional Governor of Yucatán. His term, however was short. Soon after his victory the Progressive Constitutional Party (a successor of the Antireelectionist party) nominated him as vice presidential running mate of Madero. On 15 October 1911, he won the vice-presidency with a comfortable majority and he was subsequently sworn in on the 6th of November by the Congress of the Union. In 1912 alongside the Vice-presidency, he was also selected as Secretary of Public Education.

In 1913, during the events of the Ten Tragic Days, a group of convicted army officers escaped from prison and launched a military coup against the President. Although at first the coup was unsuccessful in taking over the seat of the executive, Palacio Nacional, and was contained to one small area of the centre of Mexico City known as La Ciudadela, soon the General appointed to quash the rebellion, Victoriano Huerta entered into negotiations with the American Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson and with the rebels. Turning sides, Huerta soon captured the unsuspecting President and his entire cabinet. Pino Suárez who has been urged by many to flee the capital along with his family in case things came to worse, decided to remain by the side of the President while the usurpation was dealt with. Held in captivity along with the President in Palacio Nacional, both men were forced at gun point and under false premises to resign to their respective posts. Shortly thereafter, both were assassinated provoking a national and international outcry which led to them becoming national martyrs. Pino Suárez has been labelled "el caballero de la lealtad" (the loyal gentleman) for his steadfastness to the President in such a difficult situation. Outrage for their deaths, was a main catalyst behind President Woodrow Wilson´s decision to order the United States occupation of Veracruz in 1914, and in causing the fall of the unpopular Huerta Dictatorship, the last military dictatorship in Mexican history. Their sacrifice ultimately paved the way for the establishment of democracy in Mexico and for the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution.

Early years[edit]

Pino Suárez was born on 8 September 1869 in Tenosique, Tabasco, to Alfredo Pino Camára and Josefa Baltasara Suárez. He was a direct descendant of war hero Pedro Sainz de Baranda who famously led the capitulation of the fort of San Juan de Ulúa in 1825, thus conquering the last Spanish foothold in Mexican territory, and effectively ending the Mexican War of Independence. Other members of the distinguished Baranda family include two of Sainz de Baranda's sons, Joaquín Baranda and Pedro Baranda who were Pino Suárez's uncles. The former was a gifted historian, politician and writer who held the Governorship of Campeche on several occasions, as well as being appointed Minister of Justice by President Manuel González, a position he would hold for nearly twenty years thereafter. The latter, General Pedro Baranda would play a crucial role in the existence of the states of Campeche and Morelos, distinguishing himself as the first Governor of the latter. During the War of Reform, General Pedro Barranda supported President Benito Juárez. Another uncle of José Maria Pino Suárez was Joaquín Demetrio Casasús, a prominent jurist, economist, politician and writer. The grandparents of Pino Suárez were (paternally) Tomás Pino and Perfecta Salvatiel. On the maternal branch, his grandparents were José Eusebio Suárez and Baltasara Abreu. At a young adolescent age, Pino Suárez left Tenosique for Yucatán, where he studied at the Catholic School of San Idelfonso, which followed a programme closely linked to the French Lycée. On 12 September 1894, Pino concluded his legal studies at the Escuela Nacional de Jurisprudencia de Yucatán.

Pino Suárez, a distinguished man of words[edit]

From a young age Pino Suárez was a member of the Literary Academy founded in 1875 in Mérida. Here he would read and be influenced by the works of such figures such as Edgar Allan Poe, Victor Hugo, Alphonse de la Martine, Alfred de Vigny, Alfred de Musset, Théophile Gautier, Honoré de Balzac, George Sand, Charles Dickens, Lord Byron and Eça de Queiroz, among others. Pino Suárez acclaimed poetic works would first be published in the magazine Piminenta y Mostaza which included further collaborations from other recognized literary figures such as Manuel Sales Cepeda, Fernando Juanes and José I Novelo (who would later serve as the personal private secretary of Pino Suárez.)

Several of Pino Suárez's poetic works were included in the book Los Trovadores de Mexico published in Barcelona. This would catch the eye of prominent members of the Real Academia Española, the Academy of the Spanish Language, of which he would later be a part. Two of his most famous books, Melancolias (1905) and Procelerias (1908) are anthologies of his distinguished poetic works. It should be noted, that much of Pino Suárez´s early literary career was done simultaneously to his legal career. For three years from 1896–1899, Pino Suárez practised in his own legal firm in the capital before returning to Yucatán to carry out commercial activities with his wealthy father-in-law, Raymundo Camara-Luján. It was after his return to Yucatán that Pino Suárez's political career began with his founding of the newspaper, El Peninsular. His newspaper soon caught the public eye for its criticism of the Diaz dictatorship and for the bad treatment of workers in the Henequen plantations of Yucatán. At a time of close censorship, it was favoured by many for its veracity and independence. Not surprisingly, in 1905, El Peninsular was closed by the Government of Yucatán, and Pino Suárez faced prosecution. It was at this time that he retired to his large sugar plantations of Polyuc. Whilst exiled in his hacienda, he wrote several other works of poetry including Sursum and the poem he dedicated to his various sons and daughters.

The Antireelectionist Party[edit]

While Pino Suárez´s was in Polyuc from 1906 to 1909, the name of Francisco I. Madero first came to the light with his publication of the book La Sucesión Presidencial en 1910 (1908). In this book Madero - himself a member of one of the richest families of Mexico - criticized President Porfirio Díaz who had for over three decades ruled as a dictator. Madero established in his book the necessity for clean elections in 1910, and for an end to the practice of re-election which throughout Mexican history had seen a series of caudillos perpetuating power. Amongst these caudillos were figures such as General Antonio López de Santa Anna and Porfirio Díaz. Madero´s stirring book lead to the foundation of an Antireelectionist party. In 1910, they would try to take power by constitutional means, thus returning democracy to the Mexican Republic. This party included prominent public figures such as José Vasconcelos, Paulino Martínez, Emilio Vásquez Gómez, Toribio Esquivel Obregón, Felix F. Palavicini and Luis Cabrera amongst others. The Antireelectionists began political activities in the states of Veracruz, Tabasco, Campeche, and Yucatán.

Francisco I Madero

It was during the 1909 visit of Madero to Yucatán, that the two met for the first time. Pino Suárez soon became President of the Antireelectionist Party in Yucatán, where the conditions were propitious for the growth of the party. Here Pino Suárez enlisted the aid of distinguished figures and personal friends, amongst them Calixto Maldonando, head of the freemasons. By 1910, the power of the party in Yucatán had grown to such a degree that by 1910, Pino Suárez would be elected Governor of Yucatán.

The Revolution and the Governorship of Yucatán[edit]

When the sitting Governor of Yucatán, Olegario Molina (himself a relative of Pino Suárez's spouse) resigned the governorship to become a Cabinet Minister, he was replaced by Enrique Muñoz Arrestegui who was selected as interim Governor until the upcoming elections of 1910. Soon, the public began to gossip of Muñoz Arrestegui as the Díaz backed candidate. In those days, Presidential backing was an assurance of victory, and so it was to be. With Muñoz as Governor, soon the antireelectionist leaders were arrested. Pino Suárez, the antireelectionist candidate, managed to flee Yucatán. In fact, the Antireelectionists were the only opposition to the dictatorship. With this, and other electoral fraud Muñoz Arrestegui managed to cling on to power.

Pino Suárez escaped to his native Tabasco, and afterwards to the United States where he would meet with Madero. On 15 April, as the day of the elections came closer and closer, the members of the Antireelectionist club and of the Nationalist Democratic Party met under the chairmanship of Pino Suárez. It was at that convention, that Madero came out as the Presidential nominee of the Antireelectionist Party, and Francisco Vázquez Gómez as the Vice Presidential nominee. José Maria Pino Suárez came out of the convention as a nominee for the Supreme Court of Justice. This convention was followed by rallies, speeches, and propaganda which were swiftly ended with the order of President Díaz for the arrest of Madero on 7 June. The Antireelectionists had tried to gain power legally and pacifically but the Government had not allowed them to follow this strategy. Thus, Madero and his party were faced with no option but revolution, as Madero proclaimed "force must be met by force!".

At around the same time that Madero was arrested, people in Valladolid, Yucatán, held a massive protest against the electoral fraud of Muñoz Arrestegui. Pino Suárez´s duty was to return to his native south and penetrate Yucatán with the ideas of democracy. Although Pino Suárez had to flee to British Honduras (Belize) in order to escape prosecution from the Government, from outside of the country he still lead the revolution in the south. In this manner while Madero ignited revolution from prison in the north, Pino Suárez assured victory in the south.

Shortly after the imprisonment of Madero and the exile of Pino Suárez, President Díaz won the presidency for yet another term. It was at around this time that Madero, with the help of his very wealthy and influential father managed to escape prison in San Luis Potosí, and flee across the border to San Antonio, Texas. It was here in the United States that he issued the famous plan of San Luis Potosí calling the Mexican people to raise arms against oppression, effectively beginning the Mexican Revolution. In the Plan of San Luis Madero was quick to declare the elections of 1910 which gave victory to Díaz to be null and void and declared himself to be the rightful President, thus forming a government in Ciudad Juárez. Pino Suárez was invited to join this government as Minister of Justice. Thus risking his own life, Pino Suárez went to Ciudad Juárez with Madero. If either was to fall into the abyss, they were to do it together. The fall of Ciudad Juárez was a step too far for President Díaz. On May 1911, he called a council for peace. Representing the revolutionary cause in this council were Madero, Vázquez Gómez and Pino Suárez, while the government was represented by the Secretary of Finance José Yves Limantour. The council called for the resignation of Díaz, and of his vicepresident, Ramón Corral and for new and fair elections to be held later in 1911. Until these elections were held, the council agreed that León de la Barra, the current Secretary of Foreign Affairs would remain as interim President. Under the Constitution of 1857, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs was to succeed the vicepresident in the line of succession if the latter resigned. After giving up power Díaz left Mexico on 31 May for exile in Paris. Several members of his cabinet and close associates also followed him to exile in Europe.

Following the council of peace, several porfirian Governors who had won by electoral fraud were forced to resign. Amongst these was Muñoz Arrestegui, Pino Suárez´s old rival to the governorship. With Muñoz gone the people called on to Pino Suárez to serve as interim Governor of Yucatán. Once in power, Pino Suárez set about calling for several reforms to a province that had suffered heavily during the revolution. Amongst these reforms was a law to reform rural education which amongst other things decreed pensions for teachers and attempted to help stop illiteracy in the country. Several prisoners who had committed minor crimes and showed to be reeducated were also pardoned as a sign of good will and justice. This went hand in hand with other legal reforms to stop several corrupt practices, and fight vengeful justice. Steps were quickly taken for agrarian reform, although this would be a process which would last a long time. Interestingly, Pino Suárez also called for the protection of lobster which was quickly becoming extinct. For an interim Governor, these reforms were several. However, Pino Suárez promised to do more should he be elected to governorship in elections to be held later that year. A man of immense energy, idealism, honesty and resolution it was not surprising that Pino Suárez won the Gubernatorial elections of September 1911. At last he was Governor of Yucatán by the will of the people.

Nevertheless, his time in office was short, for in November 1911 he would resign this post to become Vice President of the Republic, leaving behind his brother in law, Dr.Nicolás Camára Vales to remain as Governor of Yucatán in his absence.

Vice President of the Republic and Secretary of Education[edit]

Presidential styles of
José María Pino Suárez
Coat of arms of Mexico.svg
Reference style Su Excelencia Señor Vicepresidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
"His Excellency Mr. Vicepresident of the United Mexican States"
Spoken style Vicepresidente de Mexico
"Vice President of Mexico"
Alternative style Señor Vicepresidente
"Mr. Vicepresident"

Although the convention of 1910 presided by Pino Suárez had nominated Madero as President and Vázquez Gómez as Vice President, the situation by 1911 had changed. Causing much controversy, the convention of the newly created Progressive Constitutional Party (formerly the Antireelectionist Party) nominated Pino Suárez to be their Vice Presidential candidate instead of Vasquez Gomez. Winning the cleanest election in Mexican history by a clear and comfortable majority, by November Madero and Pino Suárez were inaugurated President and Vice President of the Republic by popular mandate. In February 1912, Madero also appointed him simultaneously to the cabinet post of Secretario de Educacion y Bellas Artes (Secretary of Education and the Arts). In such a post, Pino Suárez showed his real concern for education as a necessity for the progress of the nation. He would work tirelessly to bring literacy to the most remote parts of the country, a job for which he was later praised by his 20th century successor José Vasconcelos. Pino Suárez education system called for a secular and intensive programme funded by the state. During his time as Secretary of Education, the Escuela Libre de Derecho was formed as a break away from the National School of Jurisprudence which was headed by Pino Suárez appointed rector, Luis Cabrera.

The coup d'état[edit]

Main article: La decena trágica

The Revolution of 1910 had been thought of as a means of overthrowing the dictator and establishing democracy. However, the result of it was very different from the intention causing widespread social upheaval. Although Madero tried to govern in the most constitutional, just and democratic of ways, several reactionary elements within the country wanted a return to the ways of the old Díaz dictatorship. With Porfirio Díaz a broken man exiled in Europe, his nephew, Félix Díaz was seen as a natural successor. Throughout Madero´s government several rebellions were crushed and their leaders jailed. However, Madero never sanctioned the death penalty for any of the usurpers. In 1913, General Manuel Mondragón attacked the prison where rebels Bernardo Reyes and Félix Díaz were held, with the purpose of liberating them. With these three Generals allied against the Government, the ten tragic days (la decena trágica) would begin.

Accompanied by Pino Suárez, Gustavo Madero and the cabinet, Madero personally lead an army from the Castle of Chapultepec, where he resided, to the National Palace, the seat of the executive which was being attacked by the usurping generals. Soon the usurpers were forced to retire to la ciudadela, and area storing ammunition, here they would hold out against the Government. At this point Madero committed a mistake which would cost him his life: he appointed the seemingly loyal General Victoriano Huerta to head his army. Pino Suárez had never trusted Huerta, and soon his suspicions were to be proved correct when Huerta turned against Madero. With the help and support of the United States Ambassador, Henry Lane Wilson, Huerta would take over the National Palace. Pino Suárez at this time was offered to retire to the Hacienda of a close friend, but he would stay loyal to Madero to the very end. Both Madero and Pino Suárez had for long refused to resign the job the people had elected them to lead. However, now prisoners of Huerta, there was no chance of their Government continuing. With the false promise that they would be allowed exile along with their families to Cuba, Madero and Pino Suárez resigned their respective jobs. The resignation, however, were not given to Huerta but to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Pedro Lascuráin. He was instructed not to hand the resignations over until Madero and Pino Suárez were aboard the cruiser Cuba which would take them to exile in the island of Cuba along with their families.

However, Lascurain was too weak-willed to refuse Huerta the presidency he craved, and so he handed the resignations over to the Congress of the Union. The Congress, held hostage at gun point by Huerta's men accepted the resignation. Following the resignation of the President and Vice President, Lascurain himself, as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, succeeded to the Presidency. He would last a mere 45 minutes (the shortest term in history), only long enough to appoint Huerta as Secretary of the Interior, the next rank in the step of succession. Upon Lascurain´s resignation, Huerta succeeded to the Presidency.

Assassination[edit]

No longer President and Vice President, Madero and Pino Suárez held few hopes of being allowed their promised exile. Before his death, Pino Suárez is quoted as saying in his last letter ever written, addressed to Serapio Rendón "we shall be greater in death than we were ever in life". This proved to be true. They had attempted to establish democracy, and now their reward was to be death. On 22 February 1913, Madero and Pino Suárez were assassinated before the Palace of Lecumberri, while allegedly attempting to escape. It is well known that in fact the assassination had been ordered the night before by Huerta.

Pino Suárez died leaving several children orphans, and his young wife a widow. His body is now buried in the Rotunda de las Personas Illustres, along with several of his ancestors, after having died in the pursuit of liberty and democracy for Mexico. Not surprisingly, to this day, he is considered a national hero and several streets and public places in Mexico are named after him, including a main street in central Mexico City where the Supreme Court of Justice Building is situated and Pino Suárez station on the Mexico City Metro. He was the last vice president of Mexico.

Family[edit]

In 1896, Pino Suárez married María Camara Vales, a scion of the old Camara family of "noble and impeccable lineage" which are part of the divine caste of Yucatán. They were a happy couple and had six children, all of whom were orphaned after the infamous events of la decena trágica. The oldest María (Mimi), was 15, the youngest, Jordelia was 3 months old. Their other children were Alfredo, José Abigail, Aida, and Hortensia. Widowed and peniless (the revolution had consumed all of their family's assets and estates), María Carmen Vales was forced to go to Yucatán, where her brother, Nicolás Camára Vales, was Governor (her husband's successor). In 1969, María Camara Vales was honoured with the Belisario Domínguez Medal of Honor by the Mexican Congress. Ambassador Ismael Moreno Pino is his grandson.

See also[edit]

External Timeline A graphical timeline is available at
Timeline of the Mexican Revolution
Political offices
Preceded by
Ramón Corral
Vice President of Mexico
1911–1913
Succeeded by
Office abolished