Today in fact – 18 February.

I like it when heads of state resign. There’s a certain dignity in walking away from power. Sometimes however less is not more dignified. Today in 1913, Pedro Lascuráin was appointed President of Mexico and within the hour, resigned. The briefest presidency in History. It was all a fix-up and part of the turmoil of the decade-long Mexican civil war. The United States had supported the 31 year presidency of Diaz who was entirely in the thrall of American big business interests. The US Ambassador to Mexico at the time was a “dollar diplomat” and dipsomaniac by the name of Henry Lane Wilson. When President Diaz lost the 1910 election to a populist opposition leader Francisco Madero, Ambassador Wilson conspired with rebels and the army general Huerta to overthrow their elected President. General Huerta and the rebels pretended to fight each other for ten days in Mexico City with the approval of the US Ambassador. Hundreds were killed, including President Madero and his Vice-President. In order to lend legitimacy to the ascent of the traitorous General Huerta, Pedro Lascuráin, the only senior government minister left standing, was appointed President and then, at gunpoint made to appoint General Huerta his vice President. Lascuráin was then forced to resign within 45 minutes, leaving Huerta to take over the reins of power in Mexico. Lascuráin left politics and went back to practice law at a quiet coastal town. It was a mess and led to a ten year spiral of violence, betrayal and looting.

– Douglas Racionzer (see back issues of “Today in fact” on