Who was Vicente Guerrero, the first Afro-Mexican president?

15/02/2021

Vicente Guerrero, one of the great figures of Mexican history, was shot on February 14, 1831. On the 190th anniversary of his death, Mexican authorities paid tribute to the man who is considered the last commander of the insurgency in the company of Martin Luther King III.

Vicente Guerrero was shot in 1831 (Photo: Government of Mexico)
Vicente Guerrero was shot in 1831 (Photo: Government of Mexico)

During the event, the son of the Afro-American leader of the same name said: "I come from the United States to commemorate Vicente Guerrero, who was one of Mexico's great leaders. He was a leader of the people who lived and died for his own principles for the independence and freedom of the people. His motto My homeland comes first has inspired many patriots".

He stressed that the insurgent was one of the characters in Mexican history who fought the hardest to abolish slavery. "As an Afro-Mexican he experienced discrimination, but he used it as a voice for freedom and for people of color no matter where they came from."

Martin Luther King III thanked López Obrador for upholding the historic legacy of a leader like Guerrero. He also recalled his happiness when Barack Obama was elected president in his country and celebrated that he now has Kamala Harris as vice president. "It is important that we publicize and celebrate the beautiful diversity of our society," he said.

Vicente Guerrero was an insurgent who was under the orders of José María Morelos y Pavón before he was shot in 1815. He was part of the national army that managed to overcome the war and consummation of independence and is recognized in history for his military and political skills.

He became president of Mexico in 1829, becoming the first Afro-Mexican president in history. However, despite the fact that he was the one who decreed the abolition of slavery and advocated rights for the entire caste system, racial prejudice in Mexico remained latent and he was the object of constant accusations.

The National Commission of Human Rights in Mexico emphasizes in a portrait of the general in a semblance of the character, "Proof of this discomfort for the origin of the general, are the images that were captured of him that go from praise to insult, including the intentional whitening to make him more similar to the ideals of the dominant political and military classes of the moment".

His career in the arms of the insurgency began at the side of Hermenegildo Galeana, with whom he advanced in the struggle until he was assassinated. Later on, it would be Morelos who would recognize the commander's abilities and would name him captain, but not before instructing him in weapons, gunpowder manufacturing, and war strategies.

During the conclusion of independence in 1821, he established communication with the royalists, among whom was Agustín de Iturbide, who would triumphantly enter the country's capital in September of that year. However, a year later he would proclaim himself emperor and Guerrero would be part of the uprising that removed him from power.

It was then when he began to get closer to the presidential chair, since Guadalupe Victoria was emblazoned as the first president of Mexico and named him Minister of War in his cabinet.

In 1829 he managed to obtain the presidency, after the elections held a year before were won by Manuel Gómez Pedraza, but were annulled due to Guerrero's uprising. However, during the first months of his government, he had to give legitimacy to his administration.

During his short time at the helm, Guerrero faced a reconquest attempt led by a Spanish brigadier named Isidro Barradas, although the main agony of his government came from within.

In 1829 Anastasio Bustamante proclaimed the Plan of Jalapa and disowned his government. Guerrero requested permission from the Chambers to go out to confront the nonconformists, but as soon as he left the city another uprising began against him and he lost the presidency in 1830.

His death has become a mystery, since some specialists who analyzed his remains assured Milenio that they have no signs of having been pierced by bullets. But Mexican history suggests that the Minister of War, Antonio Facio, had an agreement with a Genoese mercenary sailor. Antonio Picaluga, to invite him to lunch on January 14, 1831, according to Natalia Arroyo Tafolla in her book "El mes de la bandera".

Once inside the Columbus ship, the insurgent was chained and taken to Huatulco. He was transferred to Oaxaca where he was accused of rebellion, usurpation and finally shot on February 14, 1831. To this day, his phrase "La Patria es primero" (The homeland comes first) remains in the Senate of the Republic and his figure is remembered as one of the greatest in history.

Source: Infobae