On October 3, 1935, one hundred thousand Italian Army soldiers attacked Ethiopia from Eritrea and Somalia, Italian possessions in East Africa.
With this invasion, the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini put his boot on the only African country that had not been colonized. The Duce wanted to claim the affront of the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II to Italy in the war of 1895-96 and, incidentally, acquire mineral resources to combat the effects of the Great Depression.
In Geneva, headquarters of the League of Nations, Mexican Ambassador Marte R. Gómez made a heated defense of Ethiopia.
In fact, the Mexican was the only delegation that protested the attack. And, on October 9, 1935, she succeeded in having the Assembly of the organism declare Italy the aggressor.
When casting its vote, Mexico established a criterion for these cases: “The non-recognition of solutions that are not obtained by peaceful means and the non-validity of the territorial acquisitions achieved by occupation or conquest, by force of arms.” .
In accordance with the precepts and procedures established in the Treaty of Versailles, once the Italian aggression was legally recognized, a Coordination Committee was appointed in charge of imposing sanctions. Mexico was part of it.
Financial and commercial sanctions were adopted. Mexico proposed including oil among the products that could not be exported to Italy, but in the face of Mussolini’s threat to go to war if that happened, France and other countries did not accept it.
The non-recognition of the government of President Lázaro Cárdenas to the annexation of Ethiopia ‒which took place on May 7, 1936‒ led to the decision not to appoint an ambassador to the court of King Víctor Manuel III, who had appointed himself Emperor of Abyssinia (Ethiopia).
The conflict had been bloody. To fight a counter-offensive by the Ethiopian army, Italian General Pietro Badoglio ordered the use of mustard gas in aerial bombardments, in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Badoglio would replace Mussolini as prime minister in July 1943, after his arrest by orders of the king.
In 1937, Mexico opposed Poland’s proposal to exclude Ethiopia as a member of the League of Nations by virtue of the fact that, due to Italian annexation, it had ceased to exist as a country.
“By refusing to recognize the conquest of Ethiopia ‒ declared on that occasion Ramón Beteta, undersecretary of Foreign Relations, Mexico is only fulfilling the obligation to uphold the right to life, liberty, and independence of the weak peoples among those that are counted ”.
The sole opposition to Mussolini’s aggression is one of the most brilliant pages of Mexican foreign policy, which was recognized by the Ethiopian King Haile Selassie with his visit to Mexico in 1954. Since then, there has been a roundabout called Ethiopia in Mexico City and another called Mexico in Addis Ababa. That’s what I think of when I hear about Mussolini, and not whether Alessandro, his father, named him Benito because he admired Juárez.
The President of Mexico should always keep in mind the role that the country played in the League of Nations when preparing to speak at the United Nations, its successor.
* As a journalist, I had the most resplendent stage of the political parties in Mexico, when the PAN was led by Carlos Castillo Peraza; the PRD by Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, and the PRI by Santiago Oñate. Those were the years when the Barcelona street agreements were negotiated, which gave life to the autonomous IFE. What we see today is regrettable.
* Jaime Cárdenas’ resignation letter to the Institute to Give Back to the People the Stolen is the best example of the limitations of voluntarism to end corruption. This is practiced by human beings who do not become honest just by the example of the President. The country needs rules and procedures that are valid for everyone and with clear sanctions for those who violate them, whoever they are.
Who was Marte R. Gómez Segura?
Biography, Marte Rodolfo Gómez Segura came to the world in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, on July 4, 1896. His father was Rodolfo Vidal Gómez and his mother Esther Segura de Gómez. He studied at the National School of Agriculture, where he obtained the title of Agricultural and Hydraulic Engineer in 1917.
Later, in Paris, he took a course in Mutuality and Agricultural Credit, as well as a course in Agrarian Reform at the School of Higher Agrarian Studies, dependent on the Sorbonne University.
He was part of the Agrarian Commissions organized by General Emiliano Zapata Salazar, for the distribution of lands in the State of Morelos and by General Salvador Alvarado, for the distribution of lands in Yucatán, in the period 1914-1916.
His very extensive agronomic knowledge led him to the leadership of the National School of Agriculture – the current University of Chapingo – in the period 1923-1924.
He was closely linked to the politics of Tamaulipas and held the following popularly elected positions: Federal Deputy to the Congress of the Union (1927-1930), Senator of the Republic for the State of Tamaulipas (1930-1934) and Constitutional Governor of Tamaulipas for the year 1937-1941, being until now the only native of Reynosa.
For a short time he was Undersecretary in Charge of the Office and later Secretary of Finance and Public Credit, in the government of General Abelardo L. Rodríguez Luján, from 1933-1934. He held the post of Secretary of Agriculture and Development for the first time from 1928 to 1930, under the presidency of Emilio Portes Gil, also from Tamaulipas, and held the same portfolio for the second time in the 1940-1946 term under General Manuel Ávila Camacho.
Likewise, he was president of the National Agrarian Commission and also chaired the National Irrigation Commission.
The Government of Mexico appointed him Minister Plenipotentiary in France and Austria. At the same time he served as ambassador to the League of Nations from 1934 to 1936. He received, among other decorations, the First Class Olympic Badge of Honor from Germany; the Great Cordon of the Order of the Liberator, of Venezuela; the Grand Cross of Industrial and Agricultural Merit, of Cuba; the Grand Cross of the Order of Vasco Núñez de Balboa, of Panama; the First Class Olympic Merit Medal from Finland; the Great Sun, from Ethiopia; the Olympic Medal, from Austria.
He was a member of the Legion of Honor of the Veterans of the Mexican Revolution and received the Pedro José Méndez Medal from the Government of Tamaulipas, in 1960.
He also belonged as a member of the International Olympic Committee and was President Emeritus of the Mexican Olympic Committee from 1934 to 1973.
Despite such dynamic activity, the engineer Marte R. Gómez took time to cultivate his own culture. He wrote 46 books, both on historical issues of Tamaulipas and Mexico, as well as other parts of the world. Among these was the reproduction of the work of the French chaplain Jean Efrem Lanusse entitled “The conquered of May 5”, published by the Economic Culture Fund and translated from French by the agronomist from Reynolds himself.
Marte R. Gómez distinguished himself by being an assiduous cultivator of epistolary literature, which was gathered in two large volumes through which his broad culture and the treatment of excellence he had and received from politicians, rulers, artists and intellectuals was evident. .
In his honor, and with his name, the H. Congress of the State of Tamaulipas instituted as its highest medal the Ing. Marte R. Gómez Medal of Merit. Each year it is given to an illustrious person for having excelled in tasks that seek and practice the common good for the benefit of the people of this entity and humanity in general.
Ing. Gómez Segura died in the capital of the Republic, on December 16, 1973.