buffalo

People tend to think that the loaded one – that very Mexican political custom – was invented for the uncovering of José López Portillo.

It is true, there was in those times an organization of small rural owners, adhered to the PRI and headed by the Sonoran deputy Salomón Faz Sánchez, who was in charge of supporting the newly anointed presidential candidate.

Los Búfalos, as they were known, set up the theater to make believe that the candidacy had come from the people and not because of Luis Echeverría’s finger in favor of his childhood friend, who, by the way, would go alone on the election ballot. from 1976.

But the bufalada is older than that. In fact, its most remote antecedent is about to turn two centuries. It was the night of May 18, 1822, when a crowd showed up at the house of Agustín de Iturbide to ask him to accept being emperor of the newly independent nation. They didn’t call it loaded then, but, in essence, that was it.

In his book The Empire of Iturbide, historian Timothy E. Anna relates that the contingent was made up of a regiment from Celaya, whose command the liberator “had reserved for himself,” as well as townspeople recruited for the occasion. At the head of the demonstration was Sergeant Pío Marcha, shouting cheers to Agustín I. “Long live!”, responded the loyalists and those who were carried, who carried torches.

Pedro J. Fernández, in his historical novel Iturbide. The other father of the country, says that the Michoacan played cards with Colonel Vicente Filisola and his respective wives, on the second floor of the house. Hearing the uproar, he leaned out the window and was cheered by the mob.

“Comrades,” he said, playing hard to get. “The crown of this great empire is too heavy for anyone who wants to wear it. I ask you: don’t make me do what I don’t want to do.”

Immediately, he stuck his head in. After a while, and before the claim of the demonstrators, she leaned out again. “Mexicans –he corrected–, I am honored by his request to take the crown and define the destinies of my new homeland. It is a position that I did not ask for, but I know that it carries a great responsibility and a reward that cannot be expressed in words. I will do what the people, the army and the congress say, because it is only up to them to award that crown.”

Francisco Castellanos, in Thunder. Glory and martyrdom of Agustín de Iturbide, narrates that nobody slept that night in Mexico City. “The generals, chiefs and officers signed, at three in the morning, a petition addressed to Congress to deliberate on the pronouncement.”

At seven in the morning of May 19, the deputies met. At half past one in the afternoon, Iturbide arrived, and two proposals were put to the vote. One, to proclaim him emperor immediately and another, to consult the provinces.

The first won by 77 votes against 15. Two months later, the short-lived Emperor Agustín I was crowned in front of the old High Altar of the Cathedral (destroyed by fire in 1967).

That pronouncement in favor of Iturbide’s coronation differs little from the way in which the candidates are proclaimed in our days.

Despite the political changes that Mexico has experienced in the last quarter century, the charge is still alive.

In December 2011 it occurred to me to go witness the act of registration of Miguel Ángel Mancera as a candidate for the head of Government of Mexico City. A horde of organized merchants had taken over the PRD building on Benjamín Franklin Avenue. As if it were the Nazarene himself, everyone wanted to see and touch the candidate, who had to make way for him down a narrow staircase, where elbows flew and people fought hand-to-hand for every inch.

With the arrival of Morena to power, this practice has not disappeared. Today, to the cry of “Pre-si-dente!” (or “Pre-si-denta!”) receive those who aspire to succeed Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

If these early acts of adherence are put in this way –obviously orchestrated–, we can already imagine how the bufalada will be when the favorite “corcholata” is uncovered, disguising the finger as a survey.

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