A day like today, but 210 years ago

They say that before breaking the siege, the insurgent soldiers, commanded by José María Morelos, ate a well-roasted shoe sole, divided into tiny parts. There was no more left. No bugs to put in your mouth. The siege imposed by the royalist army had lasted 73 days and the escape attempts had been unsuccessful. But tonight everything was going to be different. It ran on May 2, 1812.

It all started when Viceroy Venegas, fearful that Morelos and his army would come to take the capital of New Spain, had given precise orders to General Calleja to stop him. Morelos, with a military strategy never seen before, caused panic, won battles and escaped to take cities. Furthermore, he had repulsed the royalist army, not once, but three times. For this reason, Félix María Calleja, the most fearsome general of the viceregal army, was determined to put an end to fame, meetings, meetings and cries for freedom. He appeared with his men in Zitácuaro and the Junta dissolved, but the fighting did not stop. Hermenegildo Galeana seized Taxco and Morelos did the same with Izúcar. He then went to Cuautla. His purpose was to take the city, divert to Puebla and advance to the capital.

They say that as soon as he entered Cuautla, Morelos apprehended 50 royalist soldiers and launched a speech to gain the support of the people and recruit more men for the insurgency. Leonardo Bravo began to fortify the trenches and had embrasures opened in convents and main houses. Mariano Matamoros managed to obtain food and supplies, but it did not help much: Ten days later Calleja decided to besiege the city.

The siege of the insurgents began on March 5, 1812. The royalist army cut off all communications with the outside, the water and the carriers of food. But it ended up being a curse for both parties

It was the first of May when Calleja, in desperation, told the besieged of the existence of a pardon that they could avail themselves of. He then gave them four hours to surrender. Morelos did not accept and instead of wasting time, along with his lieutenants, Hermenegildo Galeana and Mariano Matamoros decided to escape and flee. The fence was broken.

They say that once the siege was broken, Calleja’s forces dedicated themselves to destroying what was still left of Cuautla. And that the heroism of the independence leader crossed the seas. Napoleon Bonaparte, upon hearing of such events, said that if he had four generals like Morelos, he could conquer the world.

Everything turned out as it should. Morelos, who knew about “after the storm comes calm”, also learned about the bitterness that follows each victory. During his retreat from Cuautla, José María fell from a mule, broke several ribs and fell ill many times. days. On his bed of pain he found out that Calleja had made a triumphal entry in Cuautla, showing off and showing off uniforms, banners and soldiers. And that despite having been defeated, he acted as a winner. The Gazeta Extraordinaria of the Government of Mexico excitedly reported the capture and siege of Cuautla. However, some knew of a letter sent by Viceroy Venegas to Calleja in which, speaking of Morelos, he wrote: “let us give thanks to that good cleric that he has spared us the shame of lifting the siege.” Calleja had reacted with murderous fury. Angry, he organized a brutal repression against the residents of Cuautla. He destroyed houses, seized property and ordered summary shootings. No one forgot to scoff that a 72-day siege had left the besiegers empty-handed. And each one had to deal with his joy or shame. The chronicles tell that a jácara used to be heard in the streets saying:

The comedy is being performed here in which a rogue enters the theater with a turban very proud and says: “Here is the turban of the Moor that I captivated. And the Moor? they asked him. . ..ah!, that one is gone”.

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