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Violence, Coercion, and State-Making in Twentieth-Century MexicoThe Other Half of the Centaur$
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Wil G. Pansters

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780804781589

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804781589.001.0001

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Who Killed Crispín Aguilar?

Who Killed Crispín Aguilar?

Violence and Order in the Postrevolutionary Countryside

(p.91) Chapter Four Who Killed Crispín Aguilar?
Violence, Coercion, and State-Making in Twentieth-Century Mexico

Paul Gillingham

Stanford University Press

In the late 1930s to the early 1950s, a pistolero by the name of Crispín Aguilar struggled for power across most of Mexico. As one of the violent entrepreneurs after the armed revolution, Aguilar, who had ties to the army and President Miguel Alemán, underwent trial, was acquitted, and subsequently landed in prison. He was killed in March 1950 in an ambush during semana santa in Actopan. This chapter examines violence and order in the Mexican countryside during the post-revolutionary era through the lens of Aguilar's death. Aguilar was killed at a time when the state was involved in a bloody campaign to exterminate violent entrepreneurs in the state of Veracruz. Although the decade in which he died appeared to be less violent than the later 1930s, it was clearly more violent than what the “national unity” propaganda of Avila Camacho and the early PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) portrayed. In 1950, the year Aguilar was killed, the regional homicide rate increased but fell dramatically thereafter. This chapter also looks at the Mexican army and agrarian capitalism in Veracruz.

Keywords:   Crispín Aguilar, violence, order, army, agrarian capitalism, Veracruz, Avila Camacho, Partido Revolucionario Institucional

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