Juan Jose Arredondo - Revolutionary Leader

Arcilia A. Gonz?�lez

Juan Jose Arredondo was born in 1850 in the northern town of Morelos, Coahuila, Mexico. He had served in the Mexican Army, and was a former captain and had been commander of the Rio Grande District. He had also served as the Municipal President of the town of Morelos. Arredondo was a casualty of the abolition of the Military Colonies, and the land concentration by the Hacendados;Wealthy Landowners. As a result many small landowners were displaced in northern Mexico.

By 1906 Arredondo was a resident worker of an Hacienda in Jim?�nez, Coahuila. The hacienda belonged to a wealthy and powerful man by the name of Lorenzo Gonz?�lez Trevi?�o. He was also a member of the Partido Liberal Mexicano, the Mexican Liberal Party or the PLM as it was known. The party had been founded by a man named Ricardo Flores Magon, and his brother Enrique in the beginning of 1906. Flores Magon published a political newspaper that called the Mexican people to rise and overthrow the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, who had been President of Mexico for over 34 years, in clear violation of the Constitution of 1857. During that time the common folk of Mexico suffered great poverty and their rights were practically taken from them by the government.

Flores Magon began speaking out against the government in 1900 and had been imprisoned because of his political views many times. Diaz���s government took his printing equipment several times, but Ricardo and Enrique and other followers continued in calling for the end of the Diaz dictatorship.

Eventually fearing for his life The Flores Magon brothers fled to the U.S. to continue the fight. In San Antonio an agent for Diaz tried to assassinate Ricardo, but he managed to escape. They went to St. Louis, Missouri. And started printing their political newspaper ���Regeneracion���. By now the U.S. authorities were also persecuting them. The Magon brothers decided to go to Canada to continue their operations.

Flores Magon had come into contact with a political newspaper publisher and PLM member in Del Rio, Texas named Crescencio Villarreal Marquez, who had organized a large group in Del Rio. Among these members were many men from the town of Jim?�nez, Coahuila, who also lived in Del Rio. The leader of the PLM members from Jim?�nez was a man named Dimas Dominguez, a close friend of Juan Arredondo. Crescencio V. Marquez and Ricardo Flores Magon decided to commission both Dimas Dominguez and Arredondo with the rank of colonels of the rebel force they had assembled.

Villarreal Marquez then worked closely with Dimas Dominguez in transferring arms and ammunition into Mexico for the upcoming revolution.

Unknown to the PLM, Diaz and the U.S. authorities had spies and agents watching them closely. The planned rebellion was set for early September of 1906, but the Diaz and U.S. agents believed it would take place on the 16th of September, Mexican Independence day. It did not happen. But, on the morning of September 26, the 56 year Arredondo led a force of over sixty men across the border from Texas and attacked the town of Jim?�nez. The surprise attack worked perfectly. The Liberals overran the small army garrison and seized the municipal building, cut the telegraph lines and captured the mayor and other officials. They appropriated municipal arms, horses and the amount of $100 from the town treasury. But for everything they took they wrote a receipt in the name of the PLM party. They also published a Manifesto that day in which stated the reasons for taking up arms against the government. It was signed by many of the PLM men from Jimenez.

The Liberals proceeded the next day upriver to the Hacienda Victoria, where they hoped to enlarge their forces and get more supplies, but word had reached the federal garrison at Piedras Negras about thirty miles south. Reinforcements were sent to meet the Liberals at Victoria.

Arredondo and his men were surprised at Victoria on the morning of the 27th and a battle took place. It was said that the previous day at Jimenez the rebels had lost a young man by the name of Almaraz, who was the first casualty of the Mexican Revolution.

After an intense battle more Federal troops arrived and the Liberals had to retreat. In an effort to evade capture by the federals, Arredondo���s men split into three groups led by Arredondo, Calixto Guerra, and Dimas Dominguez . Their goal was to make their way across the border into Texas.

In the battle of Victoria, the Federals had lost one soldier, and the Liberals had three men taken prisoners, three wounded, one of the leaders, Antonio Villarreal died by a firing squad. The rest of the Liberals managed to escape into Texas, but were soon being sought by

U.S. authorities. The Newspaper of October 27, reported that U.S. officials had captured most of the PLM members throughout Texas. Juan Arredondo was captured in Spofford Texas, and taken to Del Rio to be held in the county jail. Crescencio V. Marquez was also arrested in Del Rio.

The Diaz government sent a list of 65 men including Arredondo so that they could be extradited back to Mexico to face charges. Of course the PLM hired a team of defense lawyers for Arredondo and his men. Their trial was held in San Antonio, Texas on December 18, 1906. After three weeks, the defense was successful and the Judge ruled that the charges against them were political and therefore could not be extradited to

Mexico. The U.S. Customs then tried them for deportation, but again the judge ruled infavor of Arredondo and the Liberals. They were set free on January 5, 1907.After that the Mexican government had no choice but to withdraw the charges.

By April of 1907 Arredondo was reorganizing once again with Flores Magon and Salomon Espinoza from Jim?�nez, Coahuila. They realized that the last time the rebellion failed due to a lack of organization and resources, this time they planned to prepare better. By this time the Diaz government was working closely with the U.S. authorities in putting the PLM out of business. Their agents were tracking them and even managed to bribe some party members for information. They continued to arrest and detain the Flores Magon brothers as well as the other party leaders. Preparations were being made to try another armed uprising in June. Arredondo was tracked down by the Diaz agents to Eagle Pass Texas, where he was kidnapped and taken across the border into Mexico and held prisoner. Never to be released again. According to Magon���s letters, he was sent to the Mexican prison of San Juan de Ulua on the gulf coast, where he unfortunately died.

In June of 1908, another attack was led by the Liberals, this time they attacked the federal garrison at Las Vacas ( Acu?�a) Coahuila. many of Arredondo���s men from Jimenez who had fought in September of 1906 took part once again. Including Calixto Guerra and Benjamin Canales. This was a fierce battle, and unlike the Jimenez and Victoria battles of 1906, this time both the Liberals and the Federal troops lost a great many men. Among the casualties of that day was Benjamin Canales who lost his life in the initial assault. After an 8 hour battle the Liberals were completely out of bullets. They had to retreat once again across the border in to Texas. Calixto Guerra would be picked up by U.S. agents and kept jailed until April of 1910. By this time Francisco I. Madero also of Coahuila had called upon a Revolution after an election that Diaz committed fraud to remain in power.Flores Magon would be arrested also and would be sentenced to 20 years in a Federal penitentiary for sedition. He would die at Leavenworth prison in 1922. But the real spark that started the Revolution had begun on that morning of September 26, 1906 in Jimenez, Coahuila.

A monument in the plaza of Jimenez to Ricardo Flores Magon, also has a plaque that is dedicated to: ��� The Men of Jimenez who rose up in arms against Tyranny.���

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