Monday, June 17, 2024

Exhibition marks 190th anniversary of revolutionary general’s murder

Independence hero and former president Vicente Guerrero died almost two centuries ago but a new exhibition in Oaxaca is helping to keep his memory alive.

Organized by the National Institute of Anthropology and History, the exhibition Vicente Guerrero: Hero Liberator of Mexico opened Sunday in Cuilápam de Guerrero, located just south of Oaxaca city, to mark the 190th anniversary of the revolutionary’s death.

Guerrero, who was of mixed Afro-Mestizo descent, was executed by firing squad on February 14, 1831 in the Ex-Convent of Cuilápam, where the exhibition is being held.

Born in Tixtla, a town east of Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo, in 1782 to a mother of African slave descent and a mestizo father, Guerrero joined the revolt against Spain in 1810.

He became a major leader in the fight for independence, rising to the rank of chief general of the rebel troops after the execution of Catholic priest and independence leader José María Morelos in 1815.

About 7 1/2 years after Mexico gained its independence from Spain, Guerrero became the second president of the first Mexican republic after a liberal revolt forced president-elect Manuel Gómez Pedraza to resign and leave the country.

But Guerrero, who abolished slavery in Mexico, only lasted 8 1/2 months as president before he was deposed in a rebellion led by his vice-president, Anastasio Bustamante.

In early 1831, he was lured onto a ship in Acapulco by an Italian sea captain who promised to serve him a meal but had actually reached a lucrative deal with Bustamante’s government to capture the ex-president.

Guerrero was taken by sea to Huatulco, Oaxaca, where he was handed over to federal troops at a beach that is now called La Entrega (The Handover). Guerrero was put on trial, convicted of rebellion and treason and sentenced to death. He was executed at the age of 58.

The exhibition in Cuilápam makes use of high resolution images, didactic texts, maps, artworks and other sources to tell the story of the erstwhile general and ex-president. It focuses on his fight for freedom and independence, his presidential term, and his “last breath,” among other stages of his life. It also examines the legacy he left for the generations that succeeded him.

The curator of the exhibition, Salvador Rueda Smithers, told the newsmagazine Proceso that the exhibition will travel to other parts of the country with Guerrero’s native Tixtla slated to be the first stop after Oaxaca.

A digital version is to be uploaded here but has not yet appeared. Another Guerrero exhibition (Spanish only) is available online at the federal government’s historical repository, Memórica.

Mexico News Daily 

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