Al Grito de Guerra: the Second Mexican Revolution (Revived Wikibox TL)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Roberto El Rey, Jan 1, 2019.

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  1. Questerr Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, I can’t see Aaron Sorkin naming The West Wing’s President after a noted slaveowner.
     
  2. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

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    Oh shit, you're right. Uhhh...[looks frantically at copy of Declaration of Independence on wall for non-slaveowner with Presidential-sounding name] how about Tom McKean, after this guy?
     
  3. SenatorChickpea Well-Known Member

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    I think the original idea was to cast Sydney Poitier, so perhaps instead of alt-Bartlett being a New England aristocrat Sorkin would go for civil war parallels instead? So a President Douglas, maybe.
     
  4. SandroPertini98 Well-Known Member

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  5. Questerr Well-Known Member

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  6. Questerr Well-Known Member

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    That could work, although it might change some parts of the story for the president to be Episcopalian instead of Catholic.
     
  7. CountDVB Dual Emperor of the Aztech and Maychanical Empires

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    Cue all the coffee jokes
     
  8. SenatorChickpea Well-Known Member

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    Bartlett being Catholic was actually a contribution of Martin Sheen rather than Sorkin.

    Edit: Ooh, here's a thought- given that Mr. Sheen's actual (non-professional, that is) name is Ramón Estévez, you could always lean into the theme of the timeline by having him play the first Hispanic president. (He's actually half-Spanish rather than Latin American, but let's face it, that's never stopped the networks.)

    Though that makes me want a timeline where the West Wing is led by Edward James Olmos and Martin Sheen plays a Supreme Court Justice, shortly before taking the role of Admiral Adama...
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  9. Unknown Member

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    On a side note, Martin Sheen is from my mom's hometown of Dayton; in fact, my grandfather worked for the city and interviewed him for a job once (before he became famous), but he turned it down to do a play--which was The Subject Was Roses, and which launched his career...

    He also appeared a on a local Dayton TV show called The Rising Generation...

    Didn't know that Bartlett being Catholic was a contribution of Sheen...
     
  10. Worffan101 Ain't done nothing if I ain't been called a Red

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    Oh my god, the combination of Bartlett's incredible lack of diplomatic and negotiating skill and the cartels having more national pride than Bartlett himself is freaking hilarious!
     
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  11. Allochronian Well-Known Member

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    I have known about the electoral fraud of the 1988 Mexican Presidential Election for awhile now.

    Since then, I've thought about how interesting it would be if someone would write an alternate history on the event, with either Cardenas actually becoming President of Mexico or another civil war occurring. Given how unknown and indifferent American audiences can be about events outside of the United States' involvement, I didn't think I would find someone who would spend time to create an alternate Mexico based on the 1988 election.

    Roberto El Rey, I thank you and congratulate you for creating one of the most engaging AH's that I have currently read so far. Your attention to detail and your inclusion of primary/secondary sources when comparing what may have happened to what really happened is incredible. Despite no alternate history can ever be 100% accurate/realistic, this story that you have typed on AH.com ranks up very high in my point of view.

    So far, there are three highpoints to your story that helped me admire this alternate history even more: the Fountains of Blood Speech*, the after-effects of the Assassination of Salinas de Gortari, and Gorbachev preventing the August Coup from occurring(?)

    I cannot wait to read more of this! I think that you should have really made this into an official book or script for a television series. It's that good!

    Stuff like this gives me some encouragement to put my alternate history ideas into digital paper, even if I have limited time, motivation, skill, and material to do so.

    I do have a question about your POD: How do we know that Cardenas' wife almost decided to stay late in the campaign office? Or is this something that we can assume is plausible but technically not that accurate in real-life?

    One more thing I'd like to mention: such an event would surely affect the birth/conception of an entire generation of Mexican-Americans that were born during the last decade of the 20th Century. Instead of being born as first/second generation Americans in relatively stable circumstances, they'd be born as the children of refugees.



    *The title of the speech sort of reminds me of the Rivers of Blood speech by Enoch Powell, albeit in a more positive context.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  12. Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

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    Stand and Deliver II: Garfield High White House Boogaloo hits theaters in November.

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    Thank you so, so much @Allochronian! :extremelyhappy: I'm striving to simultaneously make each update plausible and interesting to read, and I'm glad it's paying off! Your kind words are what motivate me to continue pouring so much heart and soul into this project!

    I'm glad to know you enjoyed those portions :) One of my favorite things about researching this timeline is finding little tidbits and facts that play perfectly into my story. For example, when I was first formulating the ideas for this timeline, I was having trouble deciding whether I wanted Raúl Salinas or Manuel Bartlett to become President after Carlos Salinas's assassination. Then I discovered that the Presidential succession laws in Mexico allowed me to make them both President for maximum interestingness!

    Actually, one reader from Mexico City has expressed interest in helping to turn this story into a comic book when he and his friend (who plans on doing the illustrations) have a chance. I hope to be able to share it with everyone when it's finished!

    You should really do it once you find a topic that interests you! I also oftentimes don't have as much time as I'd like to invest into this project, but that only makes it more satisfying for me (and, I presume, for the readers) when I do get an update finished.

    It's the second one, I'm afraid—so far as I know, Celeste Batel did not IRL almost choose to stay late at the campaign office that night. I needed poor Celeste to die so that Cárdenas would give his Fountains of Blood speech and set the country aflame, but it would be out of character to have the PRI government just kill her deliberately. I figured that it would be more plausible to have her death be the result of a mixup with the plot to kill Ovando and Gil; my initial plan was for some paperwork mistake to cause the assassin to believe Celeste was his target, but decided that a simple twist of fate brought on by darkness and tragic coincidence would be more plausible. Hopefully this doesn't take too much away from your enjoyment of the timeline!
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
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  13. rjd1997 Well-Known Member

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    I personally am a big fan of PODs based on random circumstances like that. Also a really big fan of this TL, keep it up!
     
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  14. Unknown Member

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    That's an interesting wikibox, @Roberto El Rey, and an interesting alternate Martin Sheen...

    Waiting for more...
     
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  15. Threadmarks: Part 16: The Battle of San Cristóbal de las Casas

    Roberto El Rey Minister-Chairman of the Chief Directive Executive

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    The Palenque Peace Conference was, without a doubt, one of the most historically ambiguous moments of a conflict filled to the brim with historical ambiguities. Even today, there is little historical consensus as to who was really behind the events of March 22, 1992. Some blame one of Zapata’s internal factions, several of which were dead-set against any kind of peace agreement with Mexico City. Many, however, point the finger at President Bartlett, saying he took the very existence of the State of Zapata as a personal insult and would have done anything for a raison de guerre. Others blame the DFS, which knew it stood to gain power from increased hostilities between the government and the Zapatistas; still others blame Fidel Castro, claiming he wanted to rein in the Zapatistas’ newfound independent streak by prolonging the conflict and thereby increasing their reliance on Cuban military aid. And a few maverick historians persist that the men who shaped history on that day were not agents of some shadowy, sinister power, but just two ordinary, impoverished Mexicans who saw a chance to strike back at the authoritarian system which had oppressed them for so long and took it, paying the ultimate price in the process.

    Unlike with most such mysteries, the hard facts do disappointingly little to clarify the situation. If anything, they actually make it even more confusing. For example, everyone knows that, on the morning of March 16, two men—ostensibly peace delegates from the UE Quiptic faction—walked into the Casa del Pueblo in Carranza for the ceasefire negotiations. Yet no one knows for sure whether the soldiers who searched these two men were complicit in the scheme, or just bad at their jobs. Likewise, no one has ever identified the two men as Mexican citizens, but whether that means they were Cuban secret agents or just unregistered Mexicans remains a point of contention. The only thing that is clear is that multiple different entities might have had a vested interest in sabotaging the peace conference, and enough evidence exists to either implicate or exonerate each and every one of them, depending on one’s outlook.

    In any case, the two men (whoever they were) spent the first half-hour of the negotiations observing as Governor Albores, Subcomandante Marcos and Government Secretary “Don” Fernando Gutiérrez bickered under the careful mediation of Canadian Ambassador Raymond Chrétien and Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, who had returned from his self-imposed exile to perform what he saw as a public service. Then, roughly thirty-four minutes in, the two men suddenly rose from their seats, drew semi-automatic pistols and began firing wildly at the delegates. Two soldiers standing guard outside the door heard the gunshots, burst into the room, and shot the attackers dead in a matter of seconds; but within that span of time, seven peace negotiators were shot, three of whom—Gutiérrez, Chrétien, and former Governor of Chiapas Absalón Castellanos Domínguez—would later die of their wounds.

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    General Absalón Castellanos had ruled Chiapas from 1982 to 1988 with an iron fist, earning him the universal hatred of the state’s campesinos. He was one of three delegates killed at the Palenque Conference, lending credence to the theory that the attackers were native chiapanecos rather than federal or Cuban agents.

    Needless to say, the negotiations took a rather sharp turn for the worse after that. Not four hours later, President Bartlett was giving a live, fiery speech on nationwide TV in which he blamed the Zapatistas for the attack and called it a “declaration of war upon the civilized world". News of the attack hit global headlines the following day, and although Governor Albores and Subcomandante Marcos vigorously denied all claims of Zapatista involvement, they had no means of communicating with the international media and were therefore powerless to challenge Bartlett’s narrative. Thus, when President Bartlett announced plans for a military offensive against the rebels, he had the tacit (if reluctant) support of President Bush and the vocal support of several prominent Latin American countries, including Guatemala, Peru, Honduras, Ecuador and Colombia.

    However, Bartlett would soon run into trouble mobilizing enough troops for his counterinsurgency. Ever since the Law of Regional Security had been passed in 1990, each of the Army's eight Independent Brigades had been permanently deployed throughout the country to keep order in several of Mexico's more seditious cities. Over time, the brigades began to function less like military units and more like crime syndicates—in the hallowed Mexican tradition of exploiting power for profit, the commanding general would divide the city up into sections and give control over each to one of his coroneles. Each coronel, in turn, would partition that authority among various capitanos, tenientes and sargentos, who would spend their days shaking down the city for all it was worth. The Army had refined its methods considerably since the crude extortion of the Autumn of Terrors; no longer targeting ordinary citizens on the street for the pesos in their pockets, it now concentrated solely on local businesses, criminal gangs, and even underground political dissident groups, all of which were happy to pay hefty bribes if it meant they would be left alone.


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    A patrol unit of the 2nd Independent Brigade rolls down a highway in the Federal District in November of 1991.

    Surprisingly enough, this arrangement made for highly effective peacekeeping. Indeed, many scholars attribute the lack of significant political unrest in Mexico City between 1990 and 1992 to the relatively permissive dominion of the 1st, 2nd and 7th Brigades, which were happy to let the City’s many “independent revolutionary committees” hold meetings and adopt resolutions, so long as they paid their bribes and kept a low profile. The system also allowed high-ranking officers to accumulate vast personal fortunes as bribes, kickbacks and other such tributes crept up the military ladder, making each rung richer than the last. By 1992, many of these officers had bought homes and begun extramarital affairs in their adoptive cities, settling into lives of such power and comfort that, when President Bartlett announced plans for a new assault on the rebel state, they shuddered at the thought of leaving their mansions and mistresses for a hot, humid jungle infested with insects and insurgents. The more senior officers pulled every possible string to resist reassignment, and Defense Secretary Juan Arévalo Gardoqui soon realized that the only units he could mobilize without antagonizing his own staff (other than the Armored Brigade, which was the least useful for keeping order in urban areas) would be the ones with the least seniority: the 8th Independent Brigade from Guadalajara, which had been created just two years before in response to heightened social unrest; and the 4th Light Infantry Brigade from Tijuana, which was headquartered the farthest away from Mexico City and therefore had the fewest links to the highly centralized Army bureaucracy.

    Meanwhile, as the Army was working to sort out its bureaucratic logjams, the Zapatistas were rushing to prepare for the invasion. Since mid-1991, Cuba had been embroiled a severe economic depression which Fidel Castro had euphemistically called the “Special Period”, leaving the fledgling State of Zapata to subsist without help from its patron for the first eight months of its existence. After the Palenque attacks, Havana reluctantly stepped up its shipments of military aid, which mostly took the form of weapons and combat advisors (two of the few things of which Cuba did not have a chronic shortage now that the Cold War was over).

    No sooner had the Zapatistas finished arming themselves than the Army was ready to press ahead with the offensive. The plan was fairly simple: the attacking troops would assemble in southern Veracruz and blitz through a narrow corridor of Zapatista territory, slicing the rebel state in half and opening up a land route to southern Chiapas, which had been cut off from the rest of the country since July of 1991. These forces would then regroup in the federally-held city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez and proceed thence to San Cristóbal de las Casas (or Jovel, as the Tzotzil called it), the largest city in rebel-held territory and the "cultural capital" of Chiapas. After taking Jovel, the Army would have a base of operations from which to reconquer the highlands, while the rebels’ ability to counterattack would be crippled with their territory divided into two pieces—or so the plan went. Despite warnings from Secretary Arévalo, Bartlett expected it to be an easy fight, remembering how the Zapatistas had struggled to fight back during the Selva Rebellion and believing they would crumble at the first application of substantial military force. Hoping that a widely-publicized victory would bolster his international support, Bartlett invited journalists from several international news agencies to cover the offensive so that they could broadcast his triumph to the world.

    On May 2, an armored brigade led by General Miguel Ángel Godínez Bravo crossed into a rebel territory, followed one day later by two infantry brigades under the respective command of Generals Horacio Montenegro and Luis Humberto López Portillo. The first three days of the campaign were a great success: the ELM had few forces concentrated in the area, allowing the brigades to march right across Zapata with practically no resistance. On May 4, López Portillo’s company of 2,600 men encountered a team of 15 ELM guerrillas and pounded it into blood and bonemeal; that evening, President Bartlett held a press conference to announce the Army’s “crushing and decisive victory” to the public.

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    Federal APCs blitz through the jungle of eastern Oaxaca after a bloody battle with an ELM fireteams.

    But beneath this pompous veneer, tensions lurked. Over the preceding two years, each brigade’s officer corps had devolved into an exclusive clique built on patronage and trust—a setup which worked perfectly for the extraction and distribution of bribes, but was decidedly ill-suited for cooperation in the field, as the commanding officers of each brigade barely communicated with and actively mistrusted one another. On top of that, the troops’ enthusiasm to fight was dubious at best: the officers were bitter at President Bartlett for ripping them away from their money-making machines, while many enlisted men were draftees from humble backgrounds who resented Bartlett’s apparent indifference to their problems of poverty and political corruption. When these units entered San Cristóbal on May 13, they expected to find it garrisoned by no more than a few hundred lightly-armed ELM guerrillas, but they quickly found themselves surrounded by an enemy that knew the city far better than they did and had enough Cuban-supplied weapons and advisors to suspend each attacking soldier within the confines of a personal, bloody hell.

    Within an hour of entering San Cristóbal, General Godínez’s armored columns were hit by a ubiquitous barrage of Chinese-made anti-armor rockets which seemed to rain down from every building on every street. Within four days, so many armored vehicles had been lost that the Army was forced to adopt a horribly destructive strategy of taking the city house by house, block by block. Entire neighborhoods were leveled and over 2,000 ELM fighters killed or captured (not to mention 2,200 civilians, of whom over 300 were children), but the Zapatistas dug in, defended every inch of their city with blood and steel and gave nearly as good as they got. After three weeks, the Army controlled less than a third of the city with nothing to show for it but bad press. The mistrust between the 8th and 4th Brigades flared into open hostility, as Generals Godínez and Montenegro blamed each other for the grinding costs to manpower and material. Two battalions under Colonel Genaro Robles Casillas were called in from southern Chiapas as reinforcements, but this only added to the tension as the brigade commanders looked down their noses at the chiapaneco soldiers, whom they saw as impoverished, uncivilized bumpkins.

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    Eliminating federal armored cars was key to halting the Army's advance into San Cristóbal. At the prompting of Cuban advisors, ELM Comandante Ramona adopted a strategy of luring entire armored columns into narrow alleyways and picking off the first and last vehicles in the line, thereby trapping the rest of the battalion in the middle for easy destruction.

    By mid-June, much of the city lay in ruins and more than 1,400 federal troops had been killed or wounded. The strain between the brigade commanders finally came to a head: Godínez and López Portillo wanted to cut their losses and retreat, while Montenegro was determined to capture San Cristóbal at any cost, even if it meant turning the city into a corpse-riddled crater. After bickering for two days, Godínez and López became fed up with Montenegro’s arrogance and withdrew the 8th and Armored Brigades on June 9; knowing his forces stood no chance alone, Montenegro was forced to pull his remaining troops just two days later. The Battle of San Cristóbal was over, and the mighty Mexican Army had found itself routed by a rinky-dink troupe of minimally-trained guerrillas. President Bartlett was humiliated, while the Zapatistas saw their reputation grow almost overnight from that of a brutal terrorist militia to that of a plucky David standing up to a repressive, authoritarian Goliath. Against all odds, the Zapatistas had prevailed, and although their victory came at a pyrrhic cost to their core strength and a tragic loss of life, the dream of a Mexico which truly embodied the ideals of Villa and Zapata lived on—for now, at least.

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    __________
    [1] Many, many thanks to the amazing @RamscoopRaider for putting up with my stunning ignorance on all military matters, and giving me some truly invaluable advice without which this update would have been a steaming heap of implausibility. This one's dedicated to you, Ramscoop!
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
  16. Baron Steakpuncher Probably stupid

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    Looks like the Zapatista's have some bite to go with their bark.
     
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  17. Reisen Storm Well-Known Member

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    Feb 18, 2019
    Once again, Roberto, You have written another great chapter for this Story. I do wonder if you are going to write a chapter on the foreign journalists who covered the offensive.

    Also, You know, If the Soviet Union never collapses in TTL, and the first Chechen war never happens, The battle of San Cristóbal could be a stand-in for the Battle of Grozny for our TL.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2019
  18. SenatorChickpea Well-Known Member

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    A minor typo here, just fyi.

    Great to see this back.
     
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  19. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

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    If the USSR has not collapsed pretty much on OTL schedule, why is Cuba undergoing a "Special Period?"
     
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  20. Reisen Storm Well-Known Member

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    Maybe the Soviet Union is trying to bolster its economy and stop propping cuba and north Korea? Let's just wait for Roberto.
     
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