1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Huerta, Victoriano
HUERTA, VICTORIANO (1854-1916), Mexican general and dictator, was born in Colotlán, Jalisco, Dec. 23 1854. He began his military career as a boy, graduating from Chapultepec Military College in 1876, and immediately serving in the successful revolt of Porfirio Diaz against President Lerdo. He was then eight years on the Military Map Commission, from 1890 to 1900 was a member of the General Staff, and later fought Indian campaigns in Sonora and Yucatan. Diaz made him a brigadier-general. When the latter fell, Huerta escorted him to Vera Cruz, then joined Madero, and conducted campaigns against Zapata in 1911 and Pascual Orozco in 1912. From Feb. 9 to 18 1913 he commanded the Madero forces when the Díaz revolutionary forces were besieged in the arsenal at Mexico City and when several thousand non-combatants were shot by the ill-directed gunfire of Huerta's men. On Feb. 18 he betrayed Madero, forcing him and the vice-president Pino Suárez (who were later murdered) to resign and obliging Congress to ratify his usurpation of power. He was recognized as president by the foreign embassies, but President Wilson refused him recognition and insisted upon his elimination. In Oct. 1913 he was characterized as a murderer by a member of the Mexican Congress, who immediately disappeared. The deputies remonstrated, whereupon Huerta arrested 110 of them and seized the legislative and judicial powers. In April 1914 came the Tampico incident, when two American sailors were arrested and removed from a U.S. boat for a trifling cause. Huerta's refusal to make adequate apology brought about the occupation of Vera Cruz by U.S. troops. His resignation was forced on July 15 1914. He went first to Spain, then came to New York in April 1915. In July he was arrested in Texas, charged with instigating invasion of Mexico. He was taken ill after his arrest, and was released from custody just before his death at El Paso on Jan. 13 1916. He was a man of great will power, remarkable physique and native astuteness, but possessed no training in statecraft or exceptional ability as a soldier.