Plutarco Elias Calles

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Calles, Plutarco Elias


Born Sept. 25, 1877, in Guay-mas, Sonora; died Oct. 19, 1945, in Mexico City. Mexican statesman and political figure. Teacher by profession.

Calles was one of the participants in the Revolution of 1910— 17, and in 1914 he became a general. From 1918 to 1923 he occupied important ministerial posts. He was president from 1924 to 1928. At first he pursued a policy aimed at strengthening the national sovereignty of the country, defending Mexico’s right to its own natural resources against the encroachments of American monopolies and supporting Nicaragua in its national liberation struggle against US imperialism. However, he eventually capitulated totally to native reaction and American capital, supporting a policy of concessions to US oil monopolies and suppressing democratic forces within the country. In 1930, under his immediate influence, Mexico severed diplomatic relations with the USSR. From 1933 to 1935 he was minister of finance. In 1936 he was expelled from the country for his antinational reactionary activity and interference in the affairs of the progressive government led by L. Cárdenas y del Rio. Returning to Mexico in 1941, he abandoned politics.

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Sheffield spoke about Plutarco Calles, who was President of Mexico during the worst days of the persecution: "He is so violent on the religion question that he has lost dominion of himself--his face burns and he hits the table to express his deep hatred of religion.
He prefaces his account, early in the book, of the martyrdom of the Mexican Jesuit, Father Miguel Pro, in 1927 with a reference to that other Jesuit, the English Edmund Campion, in 1581, finding similiarities between the persecution of priests by President Plutarco Calles in Mexico in the 1920s and that in England at the time of Elizabeth I.
The Cristiada or the Cristero uprising had its origins in the implementation by the administration of Elias Plutarco Calles of the anti-clerical provisions of the 1917 constitution.