Mexico in the 1930's

Mexico in the 1930’s

North America

According to localcollegeexplorer, President Cárdenas continued the policy of reforms according to the six-year plan of 1934. Up to September 1940 more than 18 million ha. dispossessed had been distributed among more than 10,600 indigenous communities (ejidos), grouping over 1 million growers; the railways were nationalized (June 1937). To protect the indigenous worker, immigration was restricted, while continuing to welcome political refugees (including L. Trotsky), especially Spaniards (such as Gen. Miaja); but the obligation on stateless persons to marry Indian women stopped the immigration of Jews from Central Europe; nor was there any lack of anti-Semitic manifestations. In the dispute with the British, Dutch and United States governments for the expropriation of oil companies (whose appeals were rejected by the Supreme Court in 1939), appearing as a claim of national sovereignty (in 1937 the agreement with the United States for the repeal of art.8 of the Gadsden treaty of 1853; in November 1939 the agreement for compensation to the North American owners of expropriated lands) the government also had the support of Catholics, especially after the reopening (June 1938) of the churches in the state of Tabasco. But the new national oil administration found foreign markets closed and had to look for new ones in Sweden, Japan, Germany and Italy, which bought fuel by building 3 tankers. However, sales declined; and this, together with the loss of taxes on oil companies, and the decrease in the price of silver (the US suspended purchases during the tension preceding the agreement in 1939), with consequent devaluation of the weight and control of exchange rates (March 1938- January 1939 and from 28 June 1939), generated financial distress and therefore discontent, synarquist (the name means to sound antithesis to “anarchy”) from the confused mixed ideology of Catholic, conservative and totalitarian concepts, which were opposed by the workers’ unions headed by the pro-Communist V. Lombardo Toledano, also with a paramilitary organization. Furthermore, the sale of oil to totalitarian countries and the established diplomatic relations with the Franco government contrasted with the welcome given to the Spanish republicans, with the government’s protests against the Anschluss. Austria and the annexation of Czechoslovakia to Germany; and, Mexico declaring itself neutral in the European war on November 12, 1939, the non-recognition of the partition of Poland and the protest against the USSR’s aggression against Finland, in turn created dissent between the Cárdenas and the Communists.

Not yet approved the constitutional amendment by a sufficient number of states, women did not vote in July 1940; the candidate JA Almazán, who contested the validity of the elections, gave up, and the presidency fell to the former Minister of War Mexico Ávila Camacho. He worked for the pacification with an amnesty and then allowing the return of exiles such as T. Garrido Canabal and PE Calles; he subjected the Spanish and German propaganda to strict surveillance, excluded the Communists from the government (object of lively criticism after the attack on Trotsky and his death), he completely reconciled the Catholics to the government, who supported him; he modified the application of the agrarian reform by favoring, rather than ejidos, the formation of the small property (in 1941, about 840,000 ha. distributed among about 36,300 farmers, in inalienable and reversible farms to the state if not cultivated within 2 years); tried to discipline the workers’ movement and to curb the immigration of politically persecuted (he tried to welcome Spanish republicans from France, after its collapse, but rejected about 100,000 German Jews), both to reassure indigenous workers, and by curbing the turmoil (and therefore it kept the synarchists on target and modified their plan of colonization of Baja California), to attract foreign capital, or emigrated abroad. In fact, around 200 million pesos returned to their homeland, more than offsetting the withdrawal of French and Spanish capital. But the economic situation was serious: the railways were doing badly, managed since December 1940 by a council of 4 government representatives and 3 workers; mines badly, purchases of lead and zinc suspended from Great Britain, which accumulated in large quantities; oil was bad, due to the loss of the German and Italian markets, not compensated by more Japanese purchases. The companies had to be reorganized, and turned to the United States: economic pacts (loans for a foreign exchange stabilization fund and road construction, purchases of silver, new negotiations to fix the compensation for the expropriated), not without a military character (export ban of war materials, purchase by the US of exportable surpluses) were added to the political-military ones (mutual assistance pact, of March 1941, and granting of use of airplanes to planes to or from Panama). In addition to inter-American solidarity, Mexico’s anti-totalitarian policy was expressed with the recall of the ambassador to Berlin; with the requisition of German and Italian ships (the tanks built in Genoa were requisitioned by Italy); with the condemnation of the German aggression against the USSR; with the closure of German consulates after the Berlin protests for the application of the “black list”; with the non-renewal of fishing concessions in the Pacific to the Japanese; with declarations of sympathy for Great Britain by the Foreign Minister E. Padilla, which led to the resumption of diplomatic relations announced by A. Eden in October 1941, without however giving in on the question of expropriations; with new surveillance measures on sympathizers for the Spanish Falange, and also with the investigation that led to the resignation of col. Ochoa, commander of the troops who fired, killing 8, on demonstrating workers on 23 September.

Mexico in the 1930's