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Garrido Canabal, Tomás

© 2001 Donald J. Mabry

Tomás Garrido Canabal was elected Governor of Tabasco for the 1922-26 term and then again in 1931-34. Under the constitution of 1917, state governments had the right to specify how many ecclesiastics (for example, priests) could work in a state. He was virulently anti-clerical, so, in 1925, he ordered all priests to marry, closed and ransacked churches, removed the crosses from grave stones, removed religious images, and suppressed the word "adios," [to God]. On his experimental farm, La Florida, he owned a bull named God, a donkey named Christ, a cow the Virgin of Guadalupe, an ox the Pope. and a hog also named the Pope. His son was named Lenin and his daughter Zoila Libertad. He had a nephew named Luzbel [Lucifer]. The novelist, Graham Greene, used Garrido Canabal's attitudes and actions in The Power and the Glory.

During his second term, he formed the Red Shirts, males between the ages of 15 and 30. They wore blacks pants, red shirts, and black and red military caps. This para-military organization was used to enforce his will. He even used them hundreds of miles away in Mexico City in student politics in the National Autonomous University of Mexico.