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Mexico detains American sailors

April
09
1913

On this day in 1913, federal forces in Mexico temporarily detained a group of American sailors in Tampico. Tensions were high in the port city because it had been under attack by rebels seeking to overthrow the government of Victoriano Huerta, and because U.S. President Woodrow Wilson had refused to recognize Huerta as the legitimate leader of Mexico. The commander of the American naval forces at Tampico demanded a formal apology from the government, which Huerta refused to issue. When the U.S. invaded Veracruz on April 21, rebel leader Venustiano Carranza accused Huerta of having provoked the invasion and the rebels stepped up their campaign against the government. The embattled Huerta resigned in July 1914, though he continued to entertain hopes of a comeback. In June 1915 he and Pascual Orozco Jr. were arrested in New Mexico and charged with conspiring to violate U.S. neutrality laws. Huerta died in El Paso in January 1916 of cirrhosis of the liver. Mexican and Tejano resentment of yanqui high-handedness continued, and doubtless contributed to support of the Plan of San Diego and the raids carried out on U.S. soil by Luis De la Rosa and Francisco (Pancho) Villa. Those living on both sides of the Rio Grande continued to feel the effects of the Mexican Revolution until 1920.

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