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Jose Godoy

José Godoy.

José Godoy was the Mayor of the city of Mérida, Chiapas in the 1870s, and a leader of the Workers' Coalition. Godoy was also reputed to be a lieutenant of Carlos Concepción, the leader of the Moralistas guerrilla movement.

In the summer of 1881, Godoy announced that the Coalition would hold a national convention in the Chiapan capital city of Palenque on 15 July. The convention, Godoy said, would be open, "and not the secret affair of the Anglos," referring to the earlier conventions held by the Continentalist and Liberty Parties, which had nominated the Anglo candidates George Vining and Thomas Rogers.

Rumors began to spread that Concepción himself would appear at the convention, and as the opening day approached, the city of Palenque was infiltrated by Mexicano newcomers, along with Anglos and Hispanos who were later identified as members of the Constabulary, a newly-established secret police force.

On the morning of the convention, as Godoy began to give a speech, Constabulary agents entered Montezuma Hall, marched to the podium, and arrested him. This led to a riot on the convention floor by Coalitionist delegates, which turned into a panic when gunshots began to be fired. By the time the hall had been cleared, twenty-three Coalitionists were dead, including Godoy.

Godoy's death and the Massacre of the Innocents at Montezuma Hall led to uprisings in the Chiapan countryside that eventually spread throughout the U.S.M.

Sobel's source for José Godoy and the Palenque Convention is Orrin Macon's The Palenque Convention in Mexican History (Mexico City, 1960).