Twentieth century Mexico through the eyes of Antonio Diaz Soto y Gama

Jeffrey Kent Lucas, University of Texas at El Paso


To understand how Mexico came full circle from the Porfirian dictatorship of 1876-1911 to the massacre at Tlatelolco in October 1968, a study of the life and times of Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama is ideal. Born in January 1880, he attended preparatory school, college, and law school in the city of San Luis Potosí from 1896 to 1901, and graduated with the title of licenciado. During his college years, he became active in the anarchist movement; such activism entailed harsh criticism of the Porfiriato. Soto y Gama fled Mexico in 1903 to avoid arrest. However, he returned in the spring of 1904 to help his financially struggling father, promising not to criticize the government. Soon after the revolution was launched and Díaz capitulated to the forces of Francisco Madero, Soto y Gama became a staunch critic of the Madero government. After helping found a radical labor organization in 1912, he fled Mexico City in 1914 to avoid arrest by the government of Victoriano Huerta, which had removed Madero from power in a military coup. From then until mid-1919, Soto y Gama was with Emiliano Zapata and his agrarista movement, based in Morelos. After Zapata's assassination in 1919, Soto y Gama and other zapatistas entered Mexico City at the invitation of a former enemy, Álvaro Obregón. In 1920, Soto y Gama won election to the Chamber of Deputies, and served until 1929. After Obregón's assassination in 1928, he fell outside the circle of power and, over the ensuing decade, became an avid critic of the revolutionary government. He supported the 1940 presidential candidacy of Juan Andreu Almazán and thus helped found the conservative PAN. Following World War II, while continuing to call himself an agrarista, Soto y Gama became deeply ensconced in anticommunism---an obsession that had begun to affect him in the 1920s and 1930s---and incessantly lamented what he considered a worldwide communist threat. This obsession accompanied him to his grave in 1967; he was convinced, to the very end, that the Mexican government was not doing enough to arrest the spread of communism. ^

Subject Area

Biography|History, Latin American

Recommended Citation

Lucas, Jeffrey Kent, "Twentieth century Mexico through the eyes of Antonio Diaz Soto y Gama" (2006). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3223774.