Ijf
OR
SEVERAL DAYS
after the killing of Manuel P. Montes, San Martin
TexmeluGll1lay under something like a state of siege. Merchants closed
their doors for fear of agrarista reprisals, and citizens remained ner-
vously indoors, leaving the streets, plaza, and marketplace deserted.
Some three thousand mourners attended Montes's funeral in
EI
Moral. Three
bands played, and a series of orators urged the people to carry their agrarian
struggle forward and to exact a fitting revenge against their leader's killers.
'When Montes's coffin was lowered into the earth, agraristas gathered around
and extended their right arms over the open grave, swearing solemnly to main-
tain their ideals until they triumphed.
l
Leaders of the National Agrarian Party pondered the problem of succession
to the leadership of the Domingo Arenas Confederation (which in
1926
had
become the State Peasant League, linked with the Communist National Peasant
League). They wanted a reliable representative in the vital Texmelucan region,
but they no doubt were leery of another Manuel Montes - charismatic, but also
ruthless, ambitious, and not readily controlled.
In
the end, the national leaders,
represented by the Veracruzano Ursulo Galvan, gave the nod to General Mon-
tes's sixteen-year-old son, Antonio. "Compaiiero;' they told him, "we have
confidence in you. Never betray
US."2
Now well-advanced in years, Antonio Montes is still the key figure in agrar-
ian politics in the region, a loyal- if occasionally irascible - representative of
Mexico's longtime ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party.
Octavia Paz (father of the poet) was sent by the National Agrarian Party to
investigate the killing of Montes. The general opinion, Paz reported, was that
Previous Page Next Page