Plan of Agua Prieta

The Plan of Agua Prieta (Spanish: Plan de Agua Prieta) was a manifesto, or plan, drawn up by three revolutionary generals of the Mexican Revolution, declaring themselves in revolt against the government of President Venustiano Carranza. It was proclaimed by Obregón on 22 April 1920, in English and 23 April in Spanish in the northern border city of Agua Prieta, Sonora.[1][2]

The Plan's stated pretext for rejecting the Carranza administration was a dispute between the federal government and the Sonora state government over control of the waters of the Sonora river, although the underlying reasons were complex. Carranza backed the Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., the civilian Ignacio Bonillas, in the 1920 elections. Although Bonillas was a skilled diplomat and the relationship with the U.S. was crucial, Bonillas was a virtual unknown in Mexico. He did not have a military record in the Mexican Revolution, and critics saw the choice as a way that Carranza could continue to wield power even though no longer president of Mexico.[3]

In addition to withdrawing support from Carranza's federal government, the plan also refused to recognize the results of local elections in the states of Guanajuato, San Luis Potosí, Nuevo León, Querétaro, and Tamaulipas, and the governor of the state of Nayarit. It offered to refrain from entering into combat with the authorities, provided that they refrained from attacking the Liberal Constitutionalist Army, headed by Adolfo de la Huerta, at the time governor of Sonora.

The plan empowered De la Huerta to appoint interim governors in those states that aligned with or defeated by the Liberal Constitutionalist Army. It called on the state governments to appoint representatives to a junta, which would then select an interim President of the Republic. The interim president would, immediately upon assuming office, call a fresh general election.

Support for the Plan was widespread across the country: more than three-quarters of the Army rejected Carranza and joined the rebellion. As De la Huerta's Liberal Constitutionalist Army made rapid progress toward Mexico City, Carranza refused to negotiate or surrender and fled the capital by train in May 1920, headed for the port of Veracruz, where he intended to set up a temporary seat of government.

The train was attacked repeatedly as it left the capital and, arriving at Aljibes, Puebla, was unable to continue because of sabotage to the tracks. In addition, Carranza then learned that the military commander of Veracruz, Gen. Guadalupe Sánchez, had gone over to the rebels.

Carranza and a small group of followers were forced to change plans: they would head north, perhaps to Carranza's home state of Coahuila, where his support might be stronger. On horseback they began a crossing of the Sierra Norte, and, on 20 May, reached the town of Tlaxcalantongo, Puebla. A rebel ambush in the early hours of 21 May 1920, reputedly led by Gen. Rodolfo Herrero, left President Carranza dead.

Adolfo de la Huerta was appointed interim president. He served from 1 June to 30 November 1920, and was succeeded by Álvaro Obregón.


  1. Barbara Tenenbaum, "Plan of Agua Prieta" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, vol. 4, pp. 417-18. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
  2. John Womack, Jr. "The Mexican Revolution" in Mexico Since Independence, Leslie Bethell, ed. New York: Cambridge University Press 1991, p. 194.
  3. John F.W. Dulles, Yesterday in Mexico, Austin: University of Texas Press 1961, p. 22.
  • Historia 3, José de Jesús Nieto López et al., Santillana, México, 2005. (pp. 197).

See also

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