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Clash with Rangers radicalizes rancher


On this day in 1915, Aniceto Pizaña escaped a gunfight with Texas Rangers at his ranch north of Brownsville and became a full-fledged revolutionary. Pizaña was born in Cameron County about 1870. He met Ricardo Flores Magón in 1904 and with Luis De la Rosa helped formed the Floresmagonista movement to redress the injustices done to Mexicans on both sides of the Rio Grande. In Brownsville Pizaña helped to form a branch of the Mexican Liberal party, which by 1915 had joined other Floresmagonistas in using the Plan of San Diego to combat injustices by guerrilla warfare. The plan called for the American Southwest to become an independent republic. At first Pizaña did not fully support the plan and headed a moderate faction favoring reform over revolution. But after Pizaña's wife, brother, and son were captured, the latter having been shot in the leg, by rangers who arrived at his ranch to investigate a raid near Brownsville, Pizaña swore revenge and decided to support the plan. Commanding raiding parties from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, he was primarily responsible for the guerrilla activities of the revolutionaries, generally swift nocturnal attacks. He used regular Mexican troops in the raids, weeded out ineffective men, and used strict discipline to produce troops of combat quality. By 1916 Mexican provisional president Venustiano Carranza was being pressured by the United States government to stop Pizaña's raids. Pizaña was arrested in Monterrey in February 1916 and lived in Tamaulipas until his death in 1957.

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