José María Pino Suárez

José María Pino Suárez (Spanish pronunciation: [xosemaˈɾia ˌpinoˈswaɾes]; 8 September 1869 – 22 February 1913) was a Mexican statesman, jurist, poet, journalist and revolutionary who served as the seventh and last Vice President of Mexico from 1911 until his assassination in 1913, during the events of the Ten Tragic Days, one of the most violent periods of the Mexican Revolution.

José Maria Pino Suárez
Jose Maria Pino Suarez (2).jpg
7th Vice President of Mexico
In office
6 November 1911 – 19 February 1913
PresidentFrancisco Madero
Preceded byRamón Corral
Succeeded byoffice abolished
Secretary of State for Education and Fine Arts
In office
26 February 1912 – 19 February 1913
PresidentFrancisco Madero
Preceded byMiguel Diaz Lombardo
Succeeded byJorge Vera Estañol
President of the Senate of the Republic
In office
6 November 1911 – 26 February 1912
PresidentFrancisco Madero
Governor of Yucatán
In office
8 October 1911 – 11 November 1911
PresidentFrancisco León de la Barra
Preceded byJesus L Gonzalez
Succeeded byNicolás Camára Vales
Governor of Yucatán
In office
6 June 1911 – 8 August 1911
PresidentFrancisco León de la Barra
Preceded byLuis del Carmen Curiel
Succeeded byJesus L González
Secretary of State for Justice
In office
5 October 1910 – 25 May 1911
PresidentFrancisco Madero
Personal details
Born(1869-09-08)8 September 1869
Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico
Died22 February 1913(1913-02-22) (aged 43)
Mexico City, Mexico
Political partyProgressive Constitutionalist Party
Spouse(s)Maria Camara Vales
ChildrenMaría Pino Cámara
Emilio Pino Cámara
Hortensia Pino Cámara
Alfredo Pino Cámara
Aída Pino Cámara
Cordelia Pino Cámara
Alma materEscuela de Jurisprudencia de Yucatán

He was born in Tenosique, Tabasco “almost by accident”[1], since his family was among the most notable of Mérida, Yucatán; he was the great-grandson of Pedro Sáinz de Baranda, the founder of the Mexican Navy and a former Governor of Yucatán.[2] At a very young age, Pino moved to Mérida to study under the Jesuits, later obtaining a Law degree from Instituto Literario de Yucatán in 1894. Two years later he married María Cámara Vales, born into one of the most conspicuous families of the Yucatecan aristocracy.

After his marriage, Pino practiced law both in Mérida and in Mexico City and also participated in several business ventures with his father in law, Raymundo Cámara Luján, a wealthy hacienda owner. By 1904, with the financial backing of the Cámara family, he ventured into journalism, becoming a newspaper proprietor after founding El Peninsular, an evening daily.

He was a political outsider when he met Francisco Madero in Puerto Progreso in Yucatán in 1909.[3] Madero, the scion of one of the wealthiest families in Mexico, had published the "Presidential Succession in 1910", a bestselling book that argued for the need to transition from the Díaz regime toward a liberal democracy.[4] Pino became an early adherent of Madero's ideals, and the two developed a very close personal relationship.

Madero declared his candidacy in the 1910 presidential elections but was imprisoned by the regime. Managing to escape, he sought political asylum in San Antonio, Texas[5]. While this happened, Pino, himself under threat from the regime, joined Madero in the United States. It was from San Antonio, with the tacit acquiescence of the Taft administration[6], that Madero declared the 1910 presidential elections to have been fraudulent, effectively launching the Mexican Revolution. Forming a provisional government until such time as fresh presidential elections could be organised, Madero appointed Pino as a Secretary of State for Justice (1910-1911)[7]. In 1911, after the Revolution had succeeded, forcing General Díaz to resign, Pino was elected as Governor of Yucatán. At the same time, the Constitutional Progressist Party designated Madero as presidential candidate and Pino as the vice-presidential candidate in a ticket which would win the 1911 presidential elections. Resigning from the governorship, Pino moved to Mexico City to swear the oath of office as Vice-President, in the first democratically elected government in Mexico's history[8].

Concurrent with the vice-presidency, Pino also served as President of the Senate (1911–12) and then as Secretary of State for Education and Fine Arts (1912–13). His period in the vice-presidency was turbulent. He faced acerbic attacks from a press that had transitioned from absolute censorship to complete freedom[9]. Having been a leading figure in the Revolution that toppled Díaz, his figure was unpopular with the oligarchy that had formed under the prior regime. On the other hand, he was considered to be too moderate by many revolutionaries[10].

In 1913, army officers loyal to the old regime launched a putsch against the government. The coup was originally unsuccessful in taking over the seat of the executive, National Palace (Mexico). Contained in La Ciudadela, the coup had all but failed until Victoriano Huerta, Commander in Chief of the Army, entered into talks with the putschist officers. With the support of Henry Lane Wilson[11], the U.S. Ambassador in Mexico, Huerta betrayed the government, arresting the entire cabinet. Madero and Pino were forced to resign at gunpoint and subsequently assassinated, provoking a national and international outcry.

Outrage for their deaths was a main catalyst behind President Woodrow Wilson's decision to order the United States occupation of Veracruz in 1914, and in causing the fall of the unpopular Huerta Dictatorship[12], the last military dictatorship in Mexican history. Their sacrifice paved the way for the establishment of democracy in Mexico and for the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution. In 1969, his widow, María Cámara Vales, was awarded the Belisario Domínguez Medal of Honor by the Senate of the Republic (Mexico), recognizing their sacrifice.[13]

Early YearsEdit

Pino Suárez visits the Aerial Exhibition accompanied by the journalist Gerald Brandon
Various Congressmen of the Progressive Constitutionalist Party (PCP) host an banquet in honor of Pino Suárez, who was seen as the leader, together with Gustavo A. Madero (sitting to his right), of the more liberal and socially progressive politicians who formed a slim majority in the Chamber of Deputies between 1912 and 1913.

He was the son of José María Pino Salvatiel, a prosperous businessman of Cantabrian origin and Josefa Suárez Abreu. Both his parents had been born in Mérida, Yucatán, of Spanish origin.

He was born into a well-known family in the Yucatán peninsula. His great-grandfather was Pedro Sainz de Baranda y Borreiro (1787-1845), a former Governor of Yucatán who, having fought in the Battle of Trafalgar and in the Mexican War of Independence, is acknowledged as the founder of the Mexican Navy.[14]. Two of his sons, Joaquín Baranda y Quijano and General Pedro Baranda y Quijano, also had distinguished political careers on their own right. The former was a lawyer, politician, writer and Mexican historian who served as Secretary of State for Justice (1882-1901) for almost two decades under President Porfirio Díaz. The latter, was a deputy in the constituent assembly of 1857, and promoted the creation of the states of Campeche and Morelos, serving as Governor of both states.[15]

Shortly after the birth of José María, his mother died. His father entrusted his education to a private tutor. When Pino Suárez reached adolescence, it was decided that he would carry out his studies in the city of Mérida (Yucatán). There he entered the Colegio de San Ildefonso, a Jesuit school that had a curriculum inspired by that of the French Lyceum. Pino Suárez would become fluent in French, English and Spanish. Upon finishing his preparatory studies, he studied Law at Escuela de Jurisprudencia de Yucatán, from which he graduated on 12 September 1894.[16]

After graduating, he devoted himself to the private practice of the law. In 1896, he married María Cámara Vales (1877-1970), born into one of the most aristocratic families in the Yucatán Peninsula[17]. Through the Cámara family, she could claim direct-line descent from Juan de la Cámara (1525-1602), a Spanish conquistador and nobleman.[18] Through the Vales family, she was the niece and goddaughter of Agustín Vales, a wealthy industrialist and politician who made a considerable fortune exporting henequen (used for making ropes) to Europe and the United States.[19]

The marriage had six children[20]:

  • María Pino Cámara
  • Emilio Pino Cámara
  • Hortensia Pino Cámara
  • Alfredo Pino Cámara
  • Aída Pino Cámara
  • Cordelia Pino Cámara

Recently married, the couple moved to Mexico City, where Pino partnered with his uncle, Joaquín Casasús, a well-connected lawyer, to form a law firm.

In 1899, Pino decided to return to Mérida, partnering with his father-in-law, Raymundo Cámara Luján in several business projects. At the turn of the century, he launched El Peninsular, a newspaper that focused on opposing the government and the poor treatment of the indigenous Mayan population by the oligarchy of Spanish descent.

In his spare time, he was an accomplished poet, having published two volumes: Melancolias (1896)[21] and Procelarias (1903)[22]. He also wrote the prologue to Memorias de un alférez (Memoires of an Ensign), written by his close friend, Eligio Ancona (1904)[23].

Political lifeEdit

Having avoided public life for most of his life, Pino was drawn into politics after meeting Francisco Madero in Puerto Progreso in 1909 [24]. Madero, who had been born in into one of the wealthiest families of industrialists and landowners in the country, had been educated in France and the United States and returned to Mexico with liberal and progressive ideals. In his book, "The Presidential Succession in 1910" (1908), he argued in favor of a transition from the military dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz toward a liberal democracy.[25]

Madero also proposed an amendment to the Constitution to prohibit the President and Vice-President from seeking re-election[26]. Pino soon became a member of the National Anti-Reelectionist Party that was formed, and supported Madero as he campaigned through the Yucatán Peninsula and other southern states.

Governor of YucatánEdit

With the support of the National Anti-Reelectionist Party, he was a candidate for the governorship of Yucatán in the 1910 election. The election was a contest between Enrique Muñoz Arístegui, the official candidate backed by the government, and Delio Moreno Cantón, a rabid socialist. Through an evident electoral fraud, the triumph was granted to Muñoz, who almost immediately initiated a political persecution against the two losing candidates, forcing them to flee from the State[27]. Pino exiled himself in British Honduras before joining Madero in San Antonio, Texas.

Madero, meanwhile, had also launched his own bid for the presidency, but had been imprisoned before the election even took place. Escaping prison, he fled to San Antonio, where he was granted asylum by the Taft Administration. Through the years, the Madero family had developed close connections in Washington and Wall Street[28]. Therefore, when Francisco Madero launched the Mexican Revolution in San Antonio, no attempts were made by the U.S. Government to stop him[29].

When Madero declared the 1910 presidential election to have been fraudulent and assumed the provisional presidency according to the Plan of San Luis Potosí, he appointed Pino to his cabinet as Secretary of State for Justice. Under the San Luis Plan, he also called on his countrymen to revolt against the Díaz Government. Soon, Madero's Revolution managed to temporarily unify various disparate forces around his cause.

Pino Suárez, standing behind Madero, attends a ceremony to commemorate Benito Juárez, it would be the last public event he would attend before the events of the Ten Tragic Days and his assassination.

By May 1911, the revolutionaries had already captured Ciudad Juárez. Under intense domestic and U.S. pressure, General Díaz agreed to negotiate with Madero, who named Pino one of the principal negotiators representing the revolutionary side[30]. According to the deal struck by the parties, Díaz would resign and would be allowed to seek exile in Europe. He would be succeeded by Francisco León de la Barra, the Foreign Secretary and a career diplomat, as interim president. León de la Barra immediately organized fresh elections both at the Federal level, as well as in several States. While such elections were held, he appointed Pino as interim Governor of Yucatán.

After the State Elections were held in Yucatán, Pino won a full four-year term as Governor for the period 1911 and 1915.[31] However, as these developments were occurring at the State level, at the Federal level, the National Anti-Reelectionist Party was disbanded and reorganized into the Progressive Constitutionalist Party (PCP). During the first party congress, the PCP decided to select a Madero-Pino ticket to contest the 1911 presidential elections.

Vice-President of MexicoEdit

Having been elected to the Vice-presidency, Pino resigned as Governor of Yucatán, where he was succeeded by Nicolás Camára Vales,[32] his brother-in-law, and travelled to Mexico City to take the oath of office on 15 November 1911.

Between 1912 and 1913, he was also appointed as Secretary of State for Education and the Fine Arts[33].

The new federal government faced several difficulties. Madero immediately ended all forms of censorship and introduced immediate reforms for democratization and increased political freedom. The new agenda was unpopular with the old oligarchy that had grown wealthy during thirty years of military dictatorship. It was also considered to be insufficiently radical by his former supporters who were more interested in social revolution than liberal reform. During the fifteen months that the Madero administration governed Mexico it faced no fewer than four putsch attempts from both sides of the political spectrum.[34]

In February 1913, a putsch lead by army officers loyal to the old regime managed to arrest the Cabinet of Madero after Victoriano Huerta, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, turned against the government. Huerta had the tacit support of Henry Lane Wilson, the U.S. Ambassador, who was himself acting against the instructions of his government. The outgoing Taft administration had refused to intervene in Mexican politics, until the Wilson Administration was inaugurated in March. Woodrow Wilson closely sympathized with Madero who had similar political ideas to his own, and would later investigate the action of Henry Lane Wilson, having him sacked[35][36].

After arresting the cabinet, Huerta forced Madero and Pino to resign at gunpoint, allowing him to usurp power. Once Huerta was interim president, he ordered the assassination of Madero and Pino on 22 February 1913.[37]


This Statue was erected in 1927 on the site where José María Pino Suárez was assassinated during the events of the Ten Tragic Days. On the plaque of the statue, Pino Suárez is praised as the Martyr of Democracy.

Pino's widow, Maria Cámara, fearing persecution from the new military dictatorship, fled Mexico City. Returning initially to her native Mérida, she later fled through Havana to Europe, where she lived for a time in France and Switzerland, settling in Lausanne with her six children. She would later return to Mexico, where she died in 1970 at the age of 93. In 1969, before her death, she was granted the Belisario Domínguez Medal of Honor by the Mexican Senate, the highest award Mexico can award to her own citizens [38].

In 1986, President Miguel de la Madrid ordered the remains of José Pino to be transferred with full military honors to the The Rotonda de las Personas Ilustres (Rotunda of Illustrious Persons)[39], a site that honors those who are considered to have exalted the civic and national values of Mexico. The Pino family was represented by his grandson, Ismael Moreno Pino, then the Ambassador of Mexico in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

In 1915, the Congress of the State of Tabasco ordered that the birthplace of Pino was to be renamed as Tenosique de Pino Suárez[40]. In Villahermosa, the state capital of Tabasco, a similar statue was erected[41]. Later, his name was written in golden letters in the assembly hall of the Congress of the State of Tabasco.

Throughout the country, several cities have streets named in his honour near the city center. Mexico City is no exception, having named one of the main avenues running out of the Zocalo (where the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation building is located) in his honor. Metro Pino Suárez, one of the most important stations of the Mexico City Metro also bears his name.

See alsoEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Ramón Corral
Vice President of Mexico
Succeeded by
Office abolished


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