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Book Excerpt Mexico Before the World

In April 1924 President Calles outlined the political platform for his candidacy to the presidency in a radio address to the nation.

Candidate and President

Address by radio, defining his political principles and programme (From El Democrata, Mexico City, April 12, 1924.)

 

El General - Calles delivering a radio address about his candidacy

Plutarco Elías Calles addressed the nation by radio to discuss his presidential candidacy. Photo courtesy Fideicomiso Archivos Plutarco Elías Calles y Fernando Torreblanca

Being accustomed to living in contact with the sentiments and the wrongs of the Mexican people, no consideration of a purely political nature would have caused me to aspire to the Presidency of my country had I not been convinced that the historical moment and the preparatory work accomplished through the Mexican Revolution, and very especially the generous policy followed by President Obregon in dealing with social questions, would permit the executive who suceeded him, provided he was animated by desires for the betterment of the various classes, to carry on in Mexico the task of just redemption imposed upon him, to the end that some benefit in the way of happiness might be gained, not alone for those who are privileged by fortune, but also for the humble.

I also believe that a similar programme of social action, of justice and a more human coordination of rights and duties will bring about in our country a greater consolidation of all the legitimate interests of the people, which will have the result of quelling the waves of protest which, among peoples in process of development, are frequently translated into movements of revolutionary convulsion, and that, within an ambient of concord, which will bring contentment to all, it will be possible to develop amply the public riches.

Those of us in Mexico who desire to bring about social reforms are not seeking to ruin property and wealth or to upset values. But it is our opinion that if the conquests which the workers in other civilized countries have gained can definitely be brought about in Mexico, millions of Mexicans who are now social outcasts can be freed from their shackles, through education, moral and economical stimulus and proper protection under advanced laws.

I firmly believe that the Constitution of 1917, in its fundamental articles, is adapted to public necessities in Mexico, and that its honest application, without employing it as an arm of destruction, but as a medium for collective improvement, will aid in a powerful manner to solve our weighty social problems.

The handling of the agrarian problem, understood and dealt with, as I conceive it should be, as an integral and a constructive problem, which includes the distribution of lands, the creation and encouragement of small land holdings, the providing of water for irrigation purposes and the foundation of an agricultural credit which will give impetus to the national development of agriculture, far from comprehending a suicidal programme is a work which is designed to be eminently constructive, in its effect upon the well-being and the prosperity of the country. So far as this programme touches the advantages of a social character which are sought by the laboring masses, its implantation in Mexico, together with methods and systems of providing legal protection for labor, which among the most advanced peoples have brought prosperity and fortified all industries, can be resisted only by reactionaries who are fossilized and blinded by class hatred.

If the people concede me their confidence and I become President of Mexico I shall endeavor, above all, to establish a robust nationalistic spirit, with the firm and energetic proposition of transforming Mexico into a real country, and to stimulate every generous and honorable effort toward reconstruction. I cherish the hope that I shall be supported by all men of good will, who not alone possess the courage to demand their rights, but who comprehend the high duties that devolve upon us as leaders of the nation, in order that some day we shall not feel, as we do now, dispirited and ashamed as we see on one side the happiness and the prosperity of the few and on the other the interminable hosts of the sad and the disinherited, those who have poured out their blood to win us our freedom in the crises of our history, without gaining for themselves more than eternal neglect and, at the same time, perpetual glory.

El General: PDF for Candidate and President from Mexico Before the World

Excerpt from: Calles, Plutarco E. Mexico Before the World. Trans. Robert H. Murray. New York: The Academy Press, 1927. 29-31 Download the PDF (160 kb)






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For seven years General Plutarco Elías Calles has loomed indestructible in the Mexican picture, like a Toltec pyramid — huge, harsh, mysterious. His name adds naturally to the list of dictatorial gladiators that the world watches with mixed feelings. . . . He has been called a Mexican Mussolini, an Indian von Hindenburg, a Latin American Lenin.”

— Anita Brenner,
The New York Times, 1937

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