The Plan de la Soledad was a document prepared by the Mexican general Bernardo Reyes against the then President of the Republic, Francisco I. Madero . The Plan was proclaimed on November 16, 1911, in the American town of San Antonio, Texas.
Bernardo Reyes appeared to be the natural successor to Porfirio Díaz after he remained in power for 30 years. However, at the last minute, Díaz preferred to stand in the elections again, not before ordering the arrest of his most dangerous rival, Madero, and sending Reyes to Europe.
This attempt to continue in the Presidency caused the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution. The revolutionaries defeated Díaz and Madero ended up taking his place. From the beginning of his tenure, Madero encountered opposition from some of his former fellow revolutionaries and from Diaz’s supporters, including Bernardo Reyes.
Although Reyes claimed that he was going to compete with Madero democratically, he later changed his mind and left for the United States. There he presented his Plan of Solitude, ignoring the President and calling for his dismissal. The lack of support meant that his attempt had little impact.
The Mexican Revolution broke out with the main objective of ending the presidency of Porfirio Díaz. This, after 30 years of mandate, had returned to appear in the elections of 1910, arresting before his maximum rival, Francisco I. Madero.
Madero managed to escape from prison and, together with other revolutionaries, promulgated the Plan of San Luis to call for Díaz’s resignation and call for rebellion.
The triumph of the Revolution brought Madero to the presidency, but, from the beginning, he encountered opposition from former Diaz supporters and some of the revolutionary leaders.
General Bernardo Reyes had become Porfirio Díaz’s right hand man over the years. Being governor of Nuevo León, Díaz visited him to praise his management and entrusted him to move to the capital to reorganize the army.
Bernardo Reyes had gained great popularity for the social reforms introduced in Nueva León, from health campaigns to the regulation of social work.
Thanks to his efficiency, Reyes was considered Diaz’s natural heir. However, as had been customary for a decade, Profir had no intention of leaving power.
An interview given by Díaz in 1908 to the American journalist James Creelman, seemed to announce his retirement. In it, the dictator stated that he was willing to call free elections and not to appear. Reyes and his supporters, like Madero, believed it was their chance.
However, shortly before the 1910 elections, Díaz changed his mind. He ordered Madero arrested and sent Reyes to Europe. The excuse was a supposed “military commission”, but historians claim that it was a forced exile.
Porfirio Díaz’s decision was the last reason for the beginning of the Mexican revolution. Madero, who managed to escape from prison, promulgated the Plan of San Luis and, along with Emiliano Zapata , José Clemente Orozco , Pancho Villa and other revolutionaries, took up arms. In a few months, the rebels achieved their objective and Madero himself acceded to the presidency of the Republic.
Once proclaimed President, Maduro met with opposition from conservative sectors close to Díaz. His attempt to maintain stability led him to give in in some respects, causing his former fellow revolutionaries to turn against him.
However, their performance did not make the porfiristas support them. Thus, for example, the landowners criticized his lack of forcefulness to end the peasant agrarian revolution.
Madero, according to historians, made the mistake of maintaining the army structure inherited from the Porfiriato and high-ranking military officials took a stand against him.
Among the leaders of these military men were General Félix Díaz and General Bernardo Reyes, who received support from the Porfiristas in exile.
Kings in San Antonio
Bernardo Reyes’ movements were, in the following months, contradictory. On the one hand, he met with Madero to assure him that he was not going to use arms to try to dismiss him. The general promised him that he would opt for democratic channels, appearing in the next elections.
After the meeting, Reyes issued a manifesto stating that Madero had not been hostile to his candidacy and his supporters began working to present themselves to the vote.
However, shortly after, he claimed lack of democratic guarantees and went into exile again, this time to San Antonio, in the United States.
From San Antonio, Reyes began to organize an armed uprising against Madero. On September 16, 1911, he proclaimed the Plan de la Soledad, in which, in 16 points, he outlined his position against the government.
Justification of the Plan
In principle, the Plan de la Soledad was very similar to that of San Luis. It only modified some aspects, such as being directed against Madero instead of Diaz.
The justification provided by Reyes for his lifting was reflected in the first paragraph of the document:
“The anarchic situation in which the Republic finds itself today under the bastard power of the citizen Francisco I. Madero, determines it to formulate the following plan to save the disgraceful condition in which the country finds itself.”
Most important points
The main point of the document prepared by Reyes was his rejection of the Madero government. Thus, the general did not acknowledge the result of the elections that led Madero to the presidency and Pino Suárez to the vice-presidency. Likewise, he rejected the legitimacy of all authorities who did not want to support his plan.
To replace Madero, the Plan named Bernardo Reyes himself as provisional president, with powers to wage war. At the same point, he announced that, once the government had been overthrown, new elections would be called in the country.
Another important aspect was the recognition of the principle of non-reelection, one of the main claims that appeared in the Plan of San Luis.
The Soledad Plan had a very short journey. Reyes hoped to find support in both Mexico and the United States, but failed to get almost anyone to adhere to her proclamation.
The Americans began to monitor him and seized his money and weapons. Similarly, several of his supporters were arrested in various locations in the United States.
Reyes, however, crossed the border with the intention of carrying out his plans. However, the lack of support caused him to surrender to the authorities in Linares, Nuevo León, on December 25, 1911.
The general was transferred to a prison in Mexico City. In the trial he was sentenced to death, but President Madero commuted the sentence, although he kept him in prison.
The following year, several anti-Madero generals planned a coup to seize power. As part of the preparations, they visited Reyes in jail, enlisting his support and that of Félix Díaz.
It was Bernardo Reyes who advised the conspirators to contact Huerta to make him a participant in their rebellion. However, Huerta considered that it was not yet the moment and rejected the invitation.
Finally, on February 9, 1913, the real coup against Madero began. The Tlalpan Military School and the soldiers from the Tacubaya barracks took up arms against the government. One of his first moves was to free Reyes.
The rebels attacked the National Palace, but the defenders managed to repel them. The first to fall during the assault was Bernardo Reyes, whose body was taken inside the Palace to be shown to Madero.
A few days later, the uprising achieved its objective. Madero and his vice president were first deposed from their positions and then assassinated by Victoriano Huerta’s men .
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