The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, March 07, 1913, Page 7, Image 7

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    The Commoner.
t MARCH 7, 1913
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A PRESS DISPATCH from Washington re
cently contained a serious error concerning
a report on bananas made by Consul Drelier of
Jamaica. In it Mr. Dreher was quoted aa say
ing Jamaica alone exported 44,520,539 bunches
of bananas in a year. Mr. Dreher really said
that the total exports of bananas from all coun
tries in 1911 amounted in round numbers to
53,000,000 bunches, Jamaica leading with ex
ports of 1G, 497, 385 bunches, Costa Rica being
second with 9,309,586, Honduras third with
6,500,000 and Colombia fourth with exports of
4,901,894 bunches. The United States, which
imports more than five times as many bananas
as any other country, received during the fiscal
year ended June 30, 1912, a grand total of
44,520,539 bunches, of which Jamaica supplied
15,4G7,918; Honduras 7,151,178; Costa Rica
7,053,664; Panama 4,581,500, and Cuba 2,478,
581 bunches.
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THE tragic death, of Madero, the deposed presi
dent of Mexico, has drawn out many in
teresting descriptions of his career. A writer
in the Boston Herald cayB: Born on October
4, 1873, on the Hacienda del Rosario in the
state of Coahunla in northern Mexico, young
Francisco Madero was sent to Europe to study
at a very early age. His family was one of the
richest in a country of great landlords, and their
holdings in land and industrial Interests were
calculated at not under $60,000,000. At the
age of twenty-one Madero left the College of
Versailles to enter the University of- California,
where he studied English literature and scientific
agriculture. With a view to fitting himself for
the task of looking- after the vaBt interests of
his family, he made a special study of cotton
and rubber planting. On his return home ho
apparently settled down to the easy and ample
life of the rich Mexican planter, but all the time
he was riding around his estates and interview
ing his managers and agents the young Mexi
can's mind was busy with problems. The dream
of freeing the brown-skinned descendants of the
Aztecs from the virtual slavery, which, under the
name of "peonage," kept them riveted to the
soil at a derisive wage, soon came to obsess his
mind, and by writings and speeches he attempted
to arouse the laboring class of his remote pro
vince. The social propaganda which the young
planter was carrying on among his poorer coun
trymen did not fail to bo reported at Mexico
City by some of the bbiquitous spies maintained
by Porfirio Diaz, but the old dictator never
stirred up trouble needlessly, and was content
to let the agitation pass as the work of a crazy
visionary until Madero went beyond tho stric
tures of the land and labor tenure system and
attacked tho muzzling of the press, the restric
tions on free speech, the cruelty of th federal
tax collectors, the graft of Diaz' immediate fol
lowers and other peculiarities of the personal
regime. These attacks on the dictatorship -were
contained for the most part in a book entitled
"Succession Presidential de 1910," which Madero
published on the eve of becoming a' candidate
for the presidentship. Diaz took the practical
hut unconstitutional course of imprisoning the
daring young candidate until the elections were
over, with their usual result of giving him a
further term of power. Largely owing to tho
intercession of his father, who disclaimed all
sympathy with his son's peculiar views, Fran
cisco Madero was then let go under bonds.
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THE same writer continues: Instead of re
turning to the hacienda to digest his lesson,
Madero eluded the federal spies, crossed the
American border ia the disguise of a peon and
goon had headquarters at the Hotel Astor in
New York, where a large number of refugee
Mexican and soldiers of fortune gathered round
him. Ia November, 1910, in spite of the vigi
lance of United States secret service agents, he
reached his native province by land, and pro
claimed open war against Diaz. After some
minor successes, which had the result of bring
ing thousands of peasants to his banner, Madero
issued his celebrated proclamation at San Luis
Potosi: "Now that the people of Mexico," this
document ran, "are alive to the situation aad
understand perfectly the dangers which threaten
them in the continued dictatorship which hns
tyrannized over thorn for tho last thirty years,
they should prepare to conquor or die. Tho time
for the strugglo is at hand, and should it be
required, let the last drop of bjood be shed to
ovorthrow the tyrant." Practically all tho ele
ments desirous of a change joined Madero, and
the Juarez regime collapsed like a house of
cards. Madero showed unexpected military,
talent and won his way, by a series of small
battleB to the stronghold of Juarez, tho seat of.
the federal power in Chihuaha and northern
Mexico. Its occupation early Ih 1911 broke the
back of the Diaz resistance, and tho march on
to the capital was ono of triumph. Officers and
men of the old army deserted by thousands, and
on May 25, after a fruitless .effort to come to
terms, the aged president resigned and wont
to Europe. On October 1, 1911, Madero was
elected president for a term of six years.
OF tho victorious general of tho rebel forces,
a writer in tho New York Sun says: Felix
Diaz has snatched victory from tho teeth of com
plete failure. When the movoment so brilliantly
begun at Vera Cruz suddenly collapsed, even
some of the rebel's friends and followers con
demned what they call his lack of shrewd and
careful leadership. It is always easy to criticise.
The rebel leader had been tricked against all
rules of civilized -warfare by a general whom
ho had known since ho was a young cadet in
the military academy of which tho general had
been the commandant. That tho death sentence
passed upon Felix Diaz by the court-martial was
not put Into effect was due merely to tho force
of public opinion and the fear of tho govern
ment, for its members know that Diaz's execu
tion would have aroused the whole country
against them. They had not dared to carry out
the sentence. Those who knew Felix Diaz inti
mately did not lose thetf confidence in him oven
after his setback, and they predicted that if he
were not killed he would give further account
of himself. A man without Impulses, solf;con
tained and deliberate, who loves his country
above anything else, and who in spite of the
difficult position he occupied during his uncle's
regime has never lost a friend that is Felix
Diaz. He represents the link between Mexico
of the past and Mexico of tho future, for, while
he admires his Uncle Porfirio Diaz, the magician
who brought order out of chaos, and was an
important lever in tho machinery of government,
he is fully alive to the requirements of young
Mexico and In thorough sympathy with its pro
gressive aspirations. A man of medium height,
barely ovor forty-two years old, ho has an Im
posing personality and dignified mien that re
minds one strongly of Porfirio Diaz. The lines
of his dark face are regular and handsome.
While his jaw has not the extreme prominence
.of that of his uncle, it is squaTe and with the
protruding chin and firm mouth reveals a strong
character. His dark eyes are Inscrutable and
his countenance is usually impassive. The face
is that of a man who has seen much of the
worst side of life, whose experience Is much
greater than that of other men of his age. Felix
Diaz: is known as tho man who keeps his own
counsel and has learned how to wait. . It is only
when he smiles and that ho does no do very
often that he reveals an extremely human side
and that one feels the magnetism of his strong
personality. From the generally accepted de
scription of Porfirio Diaz and that of his nephew,
one would think them as men of stone. Yet
seldom have I met men whose latent magnetic
force I felt more strongly than that of tho
two Diazes.
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DESCRIBING his first impressions with the
elder Diaz, Porfirio, the Sun writer says
that upon leaving theelder Diaz ho felt fchat he
had found a friend. Referring to the younger
Diaz tho Sun writer adds: The same was my
impression later when I felt the firm grasp of
Felix Diaz's hand and looked into his smiling
face. Yet before that, for a long time I had
believed him unfriendly toward me, Felix Diaz
hag always been a? man of few words, retiring ia
nature, with little inclination for soeial life,
and fond of his family. The only son of a e
loyed brother of Porfirio Diaz, he was carefully
educated under the supervision of his uncle.
Ho entered the military career, going through
tho full regular courso of tho Moxican military
academy, whence he was graduated a lioutonnnt
of tho engineering corps. While in tho .cadomy
and aftorward no special favors wore shown to
tho nophew of Don Porfirio, and his wise undo
refrained from advancing him too fast. In tho
courso of years and when still a major ho was
appointed chief of the president's staff. Al
though constantly cIoho to tho old president
and loyal to him, Felix Diaz soon showed a
spirit of calm Independence and shnrod with
his contemporaries a love for political freedom.
Without asking any ono's permission, on a cer
tain date Felix Diaz presented himself ns a can
didate for governor of tho state of Oaxaca. Tho
young man was undoubtedly popular and for a
while it looked as if ho would win against the
government candidate But shortly beforo the
stlmc of "election" Felix Diaz was appointed
Mexican minister to Chill and sent away to ace
tho world. Reluctantly he accepted tho honor
conferred upon him. On his return to Mexico
two years later, he was appointed chlof of pollco
of Mexico City, a post ontailing great respon
sibility, as he not only had under his supervision
tho policing of tho city but was personally re
sponsible for the safety of the president and tho
cabinet. Perhaps the best conception of the
man will be had from the fact that during tho
many years ho wus chief of police under tho
autocratic rulo of his uncle ho counted his
friends even among those opposed to tho Diaz
regime. In all my years of residence in Mexico,
and during a time when most government offi
cials were subject to bitter accusations first
covert and then open of graft and abuse of
power, I havo never heard such a charge made
against Felix Diaz. Yet this man know more
ubout the private affairs and life of most Mexi
cans than any other man In the country, his
undo excepted. While Felix Diaz know tho
secret of keeping in the background, ho took an
active part and lively interest in tho affairfl of
his country. As much as he admired and loved
his uncle, and perhaps because of this, ho was
opposed to many of the men who surrounded
him and practically held in the last few years tho
reins of government. To my personal knowledge
Felix Diaz never resorted to subterfuge or tried
to hido his feelings in this respect, but often
was in open disagreement with tho vice presi
dent, the late Mr. Corral, and with the gover
nor of the federal district, on both of whom
he was officially dependent.
& 5 J&
A REMINDER of old tlmo labor days Va
given In a Sioux City (Ia.) Journal edi
torial, as follows: "A .Reminder of Other
Days. J. R. Sovereign, a former Iowa news
paper man, labor leader and democratic' poll
ticlan, ia living at Keller, Ferry county, state of
Washington. "He is more than four scoro
years of age," a correspondent says in writing
to the Journal, -t'yct is doing a fair amount of
literary work, and the fishing in tho San Poll
river, close by, is superb, Needless to add that
his closing years are passing peacefully." Mr.
Sovereign was commissioner of labor statistics
for four years (1890-94), during tho governor
ship of Horace. Boles. Mr. Sovereign collected
statistics on tho cost of raising corn In this
state, and figured out that tho farmers wero
raising this staple at a loss. Governor Boles
fathered tho conclusions of Mr. Sovereign's re
searches in some of his political speeches,
notably on the occasion of a visit to New York.
Tho matter was In the newspapers for some
time, and was made the excuse for many gibes.
As Governor Boies was extensively engaged In
farming In Grundy county, his Indorsement gave
weight to the commissioner's conclusions. It
can not be denied at this late day that Iowa
farmers at that time were not as a class pros
perous, and it is to be hoped that the price of
corn may never drop to tho level of that time
again. Mr. Sovereign did not Ix responsibility
at the time on the political party to which he
was attached and which he sought in all ways
open to him to serve. Mr. Cleveland was i
jwgurated for his secoad term on the 4th e
March, 1893, and industrial coaditieas were
met at all agreeable throughout Mr. Stareretfk's
service as commissioner of labor statistics.
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