Victoriano Ramírez

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Victoriano Ramírez "El Catorce"
Victoriano Ramirez.jpg
Born Victoriano Ramírez López
c. late 1800s
San Miguel El Alto, Jalisco, Mexico
Died March 17, 1929
Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico
Occupation Cristero General
Religion Catholic

Victoriano Ramírez López (born c. late 1880s, San Miguel el Alto — March 17, 1929, Tepatitlan), also known as El Catorce (The Fourteen), was a Mexican general of the Cristero War.

Early life[edit]

Legend holds that once, when he escaped from a prison in San Miguel el Alto, Jalisco, where he was waiting for a murder trial in quarrel, a detachment of fourteen armed men went to look for him over a hill. Forced to fight against his pursuers, the fugitive hid among the crags of a canyon and after a long firefight killed all his opponents. When he was sure of his victory, he took the field and picked up the fourteen arms of his victims and sent them to the head of San Miguel with a message, recommending "Not to send such few people", earning him the name "El Catorce" or "The Fourteen".

The Cristero war[edit]

Victoriano Ramirez "El Catorce", was among the first to join the Cristero rebellion. He was one of the few Cristeros who did not flee in May 1927. He commanded the "Fourteen Dragons" squadron, which was part of the San Julian regiment, under General Miguel Hernandez. In his first actions as a Cristero legendary feats were spoken of, and a version ran between Callistas that struck fear in their hearts during fighting when they heard the cry of "Viva El Catorce!". He also had a reputation for superb accuracy. It is also said that he was very fond of women. El Catorce was hard to tell if he was married, but easy to figure out the ranches in which you find his women. A discussion held between El Catorce and Father Heriberto Navarrete, is said that the priest was struck by his behavior and asked him the name of his legitimate wife, to which he replied: "Any woman is legitimate".

On March 15, 1927 the Battle of San Julian begun, where El Catorce resisted a day of federal charges by General Espiridión Rodriguez, the next day General Miguel Hernandez arrived to support El Catorce. The federal army suffered their worst defeat in the whole armed conflict.[citation needed]


A Cristero song summarizes his death: He was shot by his own comrades. The difficulties that arose between El Catorce and his companions began, it seems, with organizational reforms that General Enrique Gorostieta Velarde deemed necessary to establish between contingent Cristeros. El Catorce (perhaps feeling undermined his authority), put a number of obstacles to the proposed new organization. In view of his attitude, he was relieved of his duties, and was banned from having armed men, except for a small escort. El Catorce did not obey orders, and as he was liked by the people of San Miguel el Alto they increased his armed escorts. Father Pedroza invited him to refocus on the Cristero struggle but Victoriano refused. Aristeo Pedroza, Heriberto Navarrete, and Mario Valdes, together pursued him with 300 men. By then, El Catorce was fortified at the top of El Carretero, along with 100 colleagues. Finally, he was subjected, and was accused of embezzlement, insubordination and resistance to higher orders. For these accusations Father Aristeo Pedroza ordered his execution, and to avoid disturbances between the Cristeros, as El Catorce was highly esteemed, it was resolved immediately to fulfill the sentence. At the time of his execution, he barricaded himself in his cell, so they had to break down the door with a battering ram to lead him to the place of execution. However, he jumped out with intentions of snatching a rifle of the nearest man, but was mortally wounded by a bullet to the chest.[citation needed]

His remains rest in the Guadalupana catacombs, under the Temple of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the city of San Miguel el Alto.


At his death the Mexican Army General Saturnino Cedillo said, "El Catorce was killed by his own comrades, idiots! They don't realize what they did. They cut the head of the snake, and left the tail to me".[citation needed]

The death of El Catorce generated confrontations between General Miguel Hernandez and General Enrique Gorostieta Velarde and a strong rejection of the people.

Popular culture[edit]

El Catorce was portrayed by actor Oscar Isaac in the film Cristiada (also titled For Greater Glory), an epic historical drama also starring Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, Eduardo Verástegui and Peter O'Toole. In the film El Catorce meets a much more heroic end.


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