The Capture and Escape of General Maycotte in San Pedro Mixtepec

From our archive of November 2014

From December 1923 to March 1924, Adolfo de la Huerta led an unsuccessful uprising against the government of Álvaro Obregón. The rebels had the support of half the army and the fighting was fierce, thousands of men died in battle. The victorious Obregón ordered the execution of all the rebel generals, including his compadre Fortunato Maycotte who was, in the words of Enrique Krauze, “hunted down like a deer” as he fled across Puebla, Morelos, Guerrero and Oaxaca. Here is Gopar Martinez’s account of Maycotte’s capture and escape in San Pedro Mixtepec:

General Fortunato Maycotte
General Fortunato Maycotte

Traveling on footpaths at night, General Maycotte and his entourage arrived at the rancheria of Guarumbo in the Municipio of San Pedro Mixtepec. Since the new arrivals came with a lot of money they were given food, lodgings, and protection for several days. Maycotte sent the owner of the ranch out to buy provisions while he waited for the opportune moment to continue his flight to Puerto Ángel from where a ship was to take him out of the country.

According to the oral history of the people of San Pedro, suspicion was aroused when someone from the ranch came to town to buy provisions for 10 men, given that only three to five people lived on the property.

The municipal authorities were alerted and a posse was organized to put the ranch under surveillance. After three or four days of observation, the decision was made to capture the intruders… but they were soldiers and obviously armed… so the San Pedro men waited until they were bathing in the river and took them by surprise. Maycotte and his soldiers were taken to the San Pedro jail, and the municipal president sent a message to Obregon’s government that one of his worst enemies had been taken prisoner.

Maycotte, however, still had a lot of silver coins in his possession … so he offered silver to the authorities and they opened the doors of the jail in the middle of the night and the prisoners escaped to Chila.

Álvaro Obregón
Álvaro Obregón

Another version has it that the vice president (síndico) freed them during the night because he was moved by the prisoner’s words… [According to this version] Maycotte came without funds and perhaps the síndico was convinced by the honesty of the principles for which he had fought against Álvaro Obregón.

When President Obregon’s envoys arrived in San Pedro two days later, they were greatly surprised to find that there were no prisoners… The síndico said that they had escaped. The municipal president, the síndico and the other officials were quickly put in the jail. After an investigation only the president and the síndico were held responsible. The síndico was sent to a jail in Oaxaca, but the president and the other officials were freed.

The fugitives made it to Puerto Escondido… and continued their journey along the beach… They were finally captured on the beach in Escobilla, Tonameca, and there they were executed by order of General Obregón. These events occurred in March of 1924.

The síndico served 20 years in prison in Oaxaca, and then he returned to the community where he died in 1944.

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