Mercator was a Jeffersonian lawyer when the U.S.M. entered the Global War in 1942. At the time of the 1950 Mexican elections, Mercator held a reserve commission as a colonel in the Mexican army and was commander of the army garrison in Guadalajara, Chiapas. As the disorders mounted in the U.S.M. following the disputed election of Admiral Paul Suarez, Mercator declared martial law in Guadalajara on January 16, 1950, three days before Suarez' inauguration, and other garrison commanders followed suit. On January 18, Mercator met in Mexico City with ten other garrison commanders, then announced that Suarez would not be permitted to take office. Instead, a provisional government was announced with Field Marshal Felix Garcia as President and Mercator as Secretary of War. Suarez was placed in protective custody, while President Alvin Silva was arrested for "crimes against the republic." Both the Liberty Party and the United Mexican Party were outlawed.
Mercator enlarged the Constabulary and used it to put down ongoing insurgencies by the Black Justice Party and Causa de Justicia. He also nationalized all the private companies in the U.S.M. under the control of Kramer Associates. By 1952 the insurgencies had been put down, and 70% of the U.S.M.'s major companies were under government control. Mercator also established a government health care program while Secretary of Education Dr. William Chron expanded and reformed the education system, initiated a wide-ranging land reform in which land confiscated from Kramer-controlled companies was distributed to peasant farmers, extended the Mexican road system, and reduced fares on Mexican railroads until passage was free by 1968. In 1958 he issued a law restricting individual incomes to $4,600, and in 1960 he raised the estate tax to 100% except for houses of less than six rooms, using the revenue to fund a major housing program.
In his early years as Secretary of War, Mercator rebuilt the U.S.M.'s armed forces and enlarged Mexican military bases in Hawaii. However, contrary to expectations, Mercator did not resume the Global War. When Field Marshal Garcia retired from the Presidency in 1954, Mercator assumed that office as well. When K.A. President Carl Salazar began a campaign to destabilize Mexico's economy, Mercator responded with a speech on January 4, 1955 in which he stated that "Mexico's enemies will not go unpunished. We will push in Mr. Salazar's ugly snout, and make him wish he hadn't thought of his slimy plan to destroy us." Mercator rejected a proposed summit meeting with Governor-General Richard Mason in 1958. The following year warships of the Mexican Pacific Fleet began patrolling the west Pacific, while the U.S.M. established military bases on Cuba, Martinique, and St. Maarten.
On July 20, 1962, Salazar announced that K.A. had detonated an atomic bomb three weeks earlier in the north Pacific. Mercator had already learned of the bomb test, and on July 8 Mercator placed the U.S.M. under martial law in expectation of a surprise attack. Mercator also ordered Secretary of War Diego Calvares to begin a crash program to build an atomic bomb. Following Salazar's announcement, Mercator lifted martial law.
Mercator announced his Offensive of the Dove, a global peace initiative, on November 20, 1962, calling for a world-wide non-aggression pact and a peace conference at Geneva to formally end the Global War. 113 nations signed the non-aggression pact, but Great Britain and Germany both boycotted the Geneva Conference because no agenda had been agreed to.
In 1965, Mercator announced that national elections would be held in November. Rather than revive the old parties, he formed his own Progressive Party, which ran a full slate of candidates for the Mexican Congress, as well as nominating Mexico City attorney and law professor Raphael Dominguez for President. Dominguez won only 14.7 million of the 31 million votes cast, but was sworn in as President on November 22, 1965, while Mercator replaced Calvaresi as Secretary of War, a post he continues to hold today.
Robert Sobel's sources for Vincent Mercator include Arnold Saypoe's A Life of Vincent Mercator (London, 1961), Heinz Kerl's Mexico Under the Banner (London, 1966), David McAnson's The Proud Humanitarian: Vincent Mercator of Mexico (Mexico City, 1968), John Silver's Vincent Mercator and His Mexico (Mexico City, 1968), and Kenneth Zarb's Inside the U.S.M.: Mercator's Folly (New York, 1971).
This was the Featured Article for the week of 11 November 2012.
|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|