By Will Fowler
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Additional info for Malcontents, Rebels, and Pronunciados: The Politics of Insurrection in Nineteenth-Century Mexico
Eventually Dueñas was forced to get off his fence, but only after the other revolts had proved premature, and after it had become clear that he would be the true leader of the Reform War’s Liberal Tabascan leadership. Of course, every rule has its exception. The Tuxtepec Revolution offered the final and most convincing reason to hitch one’s wagon to a distant star. Particularly in Yucatán, unreconstructed former imperialists—never really concerned about monarchy but deeply attached to the proposition of eternal Caste War and a hatred of Mérida—continued the fight to get back into regional politics.
The conflict immediately swept away submerged federalist rhetoric in a far deeper crisis. Once Mexican general Rómulo Díaz de la Vega had created Yucatán’s first successful military cacicazgo (1851–54), eastern generals became hardliners. They disliked Mérida’s lawyers and double-dealing politicians to begin with. Beyond that, wars with armed Mayas brought out all the latent racism of the society, while the potential profits of selling Maya pows to Cuba gave generals all the incentive in the world to pronounce any time a Mérida-based government appeared to be even remotely dovish.
The pronouncements began when an anti-centralist movement of 1839 attempted to turn the clock back to 1825; failing, they recruited the larger-than-life Cuban filibuster Francisco Sentmanat, who supplanted his employers and assumed a kingly control over Tabasco that even won national recognition for some two years. Compass Points of Unrest 3 Sentmanat overplayed his hand and fell, but the Tabascan roulette continued to spin. Tabascans won a pop-up victory over the United States Navy in 1847, but armed groups born of the provincial resistance rebelled until the early 1850s.