Martin Cole was a Commandant of the Kramer Guard, and served as the Provisional President of the United States of Mexico from October 1901 to June 1902 following the ouster of self-proclaimed Emperor Benito Hermión.
Cole was the Commandant of Kramer Associates' company police in 1901 when K.A. President Diego Cortez y Catalán assigned him the task of overthrowing Hermión. On the evening of 15 October 1901, while Hermión was hosting a diplomatic reception for German Ambassador Heinz von Kron, Cole led 2000 Kramer guards into Mexico City disguised as common laborers and stationed them in the vicinity of the Imperial Palace. Early in the morning of 16 October, after the reception had ended and Hermión and his guests had gone to bed, forty-nine of Cole's men entered the compound, overpowered the police, opened the gates to himself and his remaining men, and cut all communications with the outside world.
When Hermión awoke after dawn, he found that the compound had been taken over by what he thought to be Moralista insurgents. Cole shouted that the compound was in his hands, and he and his men would "harm no one who is innocent. All we want is El Jefe. Servants and others may leave in peace, and must do so within the next fifteen minutes."
Hermión fled the palace by putting on a butler's uniform, shaving his beard and mustache, and passing through Cole's men along with the rest of the palace servants. While Hermión made his way out of Mexico City, Cole entered the palace with his men and announced that he would be forming a provisional government which would rule Mexico until elections could be held. Various onlookers, believing that Cole intended to make himself dictator in Hermión's place, raised their fists and shouted, "Viva Cole!"
All of the directives that Cole issued over the next eight months as head of the provisional government were drafted by Cortez, operating from K.A. headquarters in San Francisco. In the weeks following Hermión's removal, the Mexican army, the state constabularies and rangers, and the Kramer Guard established civil rule over those areas where it had broken down. Admiral Ephraim Small, the Administrator of Mexican-occupied Siberia, was ordered to cease offensive operations against Russian forces and prepare to hand over control of Siberia to the Free Russian Government headed by ex-Captain Boris Tschakev.
On 15 November Cole announced full amnesty for anyone who had been exiled by Hermión, and also promised the Moralistas "a role in the new Mexico if they want one," even though little remained of the Moralista movement. Cole also granted amnesty to members of the Hermión regime, and announced that the elections would take place on 14 June 1902.
Political life resumed in Mexico as returning exiles and former Hermiónistas began preparing for the upcoming elections. Initial attempts to revive the Continentalist and Liberty Parties were unsuccessful, as the Continentalists were too closely identified with Hermión, while most surviving Libertarians had chosen to collaborate with the dictatorship.
In the 1902 Mexican elections, few Hermiónistas ran for office, believing that popular feeling against Hermión would harm their prospects. However, many of the Hermiónistas who did run were elected, for Hermión had been more popular that his ouster suggested. For the most part, though, returning exiles formed majorities in the state legislatures.
The 1902 elections also saw fourteen presidential candidates running, with none gaining more than twelve percent of the vote. Cole then announced that a run-off election would be held among the top three candidates: former Mexico City Times editor Pedro Sanchez, former Secretary for Postal Affairs George Craig, and former Senator Anthony Flores of Durango. Cortez considered all three candidates to be acceptable, but he preferred Flores due to his mixed Hispano/Mexicano heritage. In the runoff election, Flores received a plurality of the votes, and was duly inaugurated as President of Mexico.
Sobel makes no further mention of Cole after Flores' election.
Sobel's sources for Martin Cole's role in Hermión's ouster and as provisional president of Mexico are Edward Van Gelder's The Victory of Republicanism (Mexico City, 1912); Raymond Vun Kannon's The Phoenix: Mexico's Rebirth (London, 1958); and Stanley Tulin's The Kramer Associates: The Cortez Years (London, 1970).
|Heads of State of the U.S.M.|
|Andrew Jackson • Miguel Huddleston • Pedro Hermión • Raphael Blaine • Hector Niles • Arthur Conroy • Omar Kinkaid • George Vining • Benito Hermión • Martin Cole • Anthony Flores • Victoriano Consalus • Emiliano Calles • Pedro Fuentes • Alvin Silva • Felix Garcia • Vincent Mercator • Raphael Dominguez|