IFC: Politicians and the Pedagogue

Probably the street that is the best-known in Puerto Vallarta by visitors and ex-pats, after the Malecon, is Basilio Badillo. With wide sidewalks and planters with trees and flowers it’s a very pleasant stroll any time of the day or evening.

Starting at the ocean, Basilio Badillo takes us across Olas Altas and then dives into the stream of restaurants, art galleries and other hot spots. These include Café De Olla, Fajita Republic, Galeria Dante and Act 2 Entertainment. The street then becomes Highway #200 as it crosses Insurgentes. Just up from that corner is the CMQ hospital, then Hacienda Alemana, Wild Treks Adventures and Unique ATV tours. Talk about something for everyone!

But who was Basilio Badillo? The last streets of Carranza, Cardenas and Madero are all named after Mexican presidents but Basilio’s claim to fame was to serve as the governor of Jalisco for a couple of years, 1921-1922 and, probably more important politically, served as a National Congressional Deputy and as president of Partido Nacional Revolucionario (the forerunner of the modern PRI). So, although the street named Basilio Badillo is the heart of downtown PV, the man, whose name it was given, was a long way from the heart of the Revolution a hundred years ago.

The next street, as we walk south along the Malecon, is named Manuel Dieguez who became a general in the Mexican Revolution. Born in Guadaljara in 1874, he moved to Sinaloa and worked as a farm labourer, then caught on as a sailor in the Mexican Navy before moving to Cananea, just south of the Mexican border with the USA. Here he worked as a miner for the Cananea Consolidated Copper Company (CCCC) and became a labour leader. In 1906 the miners went on strike and this action earned a vicious reaction from the company. The law, being what it was in those days, found Dieguez guilty of murder, sedition and armed resistance and threw him in jail with a fifteen year sentence to serve.

Five years later in 1911, the Revolution was in full swing and when the the new president, Francisco Madero, came to power he released all political prisoners and so our man, Dieguez, was freed. He returned to Cananea , became involved in the Revolution and in 1914 and 1915 served as Governor of the state of Jalisco.

He was more a soldier than statesman though and left politics to served with General Álvaro Obregón against the forces of Pancho Villa. But things went badly for him. He fled to the USA, then returned to Mexico in 1923 and took up arms against his old friend and mentor, Obregón. That was a bad move. He was captured in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas and on April 21st 1924, aged 50, was shot by a firing squad.

So far, all of the streets south of the Rio Cuale have been named after politicians involved with the Mexican revolution. But the next street, Francisca Rodriquez, takes the name of a lady and one of Puerto Vallarta’s most peaceful and progressive leaders in the community.

Francisca Rodríguez y Rodríguez was known affectionately as “La Señorita Pachita”. She came to the newly created municipality of Puerto Vallarta, a hundred years ago, in 1918 to teach at the school that was next to City Hall and separated from the jail by nothing but a low hall. Furniture was scarce and bathrooms had to be shared with the inmates.

In 1928 the first formal school, divided into two divisions, was built and Miss Pachita became the director of the “Manuel López Cotilla” section for girls.

An educator with a vocation, at her death on February 21, 1958, all the businesses in town closed in mourning. More than half a century later, her memory still lives in the hearts of the families of Old Vallarta and this is the street that bears her name There is also a plaque on her house on the corner of Juarez and Allende.

In 2012 City Council decided to grant an annual award, the Francisca Rodriguez Rodriguez  award, to people who are distinguished members of the teaching profession, writers, and benefactors of public education. In 2017 the award was given to Edmundo Andrede Romo.

It’s a lovely street anchored by the iconic Pier of Puerto Vallarta. A beautiful structure and a beautiful person.

So that’s it, folks, for the streets that run west to east, south of the Rio Cuale. There are a few more in the colonia of Emiliano Zapata that we will have a look at next week.

John Warren on Email
John Warren
John Warren is in charge of Publicity for the International Friendship Club (IFC). His articles describe the programs and charities that IFC supports, the sources of income of IFC and the social experiences, lectures and classes that members can enjoy.