Translate / Traducir

The Carrancistas in Chihuahua

During the Villista period the local banks had accepted paper money on deposit, but kept their accounts separate from the gold and silver accounts and depositors were given to understand that amounts deposited in paper were payable only in paper. As there was practically no gold or silver in circulation, the local banks made no attempt to fix a daily exchange value, between paper and specie, and the only measure of the value of the paper money was its purchasing power among the local dealers. When the Carrancistas resumed power in the state, the provisional Governor, Colonel Francisco Treviño, ordered all persons and firms to turn in to the State treasury whatever paper money issued by Villa they might possess. Most of the banks and larger firms, it is understood, complied with this order. The government paid nothing for this paper money by way of redeeming it, as it was valueless at that time. The reason for ordering it turned in to the State Treasury, it was explained, was to get it out of circulation. Banking institutions were required to turn in the paper money that had been placed on deposit, and the depositors were, of course, forced to stand the loss, which, however, was only theoretical in view of the worthlessness of the moneySD papers, 812.515/35 report American consul, Chihuahua to State Department, 16 December 1929.

In Chihuahua the new Tesorero General Maximiliano L. Portillo in circular núm. 6, dated 18 January 1916, warned the public to accept the Ejército Constitucionalista, so long as they were not counterfeitPeriódico Oficial, 19 February 1916. Portillo sent orders to the Recaudación de Rentas at Cusihuiriachi, Carretas, Santa Eulalia, Santo Tomás, San Andrés and Santa Isabel. However when the interim governor Ignacio Enriquez drafted his decree enforcing the Constitutionalist currency he originally did not mention the Ejército Constitucionalista notes which suggests that they had all but disappeared. Again, amongst the myriad of prosecutions for infringing his decree only one was for refusing an Ejército Constitucionalista noteAMC, Fondo Revolución, Sección Justicia, Año 1916, caja 3, exp. 2-4. A month later the government was advising the public that the notes were not false simply because they had not been restamped and their circulation was forced. An expert in the Jefatura de Hacienda or the Tesorería General del Estado could determine the notes' validity.

In September 1916 the Carrancista governor set a period of fifteen days (from the date on when the notice was posted in any place) for holders of Villista notes to hand them in to the Jefatura de Hacienda in the capital or the Oficina del Timbre elsewhere, so that the money could be burnt. People who held on to their notes would be considered as counterfeiters and punished accordinglyPeriódico Oficial, 30 September 1916.

As for the Carrancista currency, in December 1915 the governor, Ignacio C. Enríquez, in establishing the Oficina Reguladora de Comercio, decreed that that paper money was on a par with Mexican coin. When the decree went into effect in Ciudad Juárez on 14 January several places of business closed their doors and an uprising was fearedSD papers,812.00/17095; 812.515/79 telegram Thomas D.Edwards, consul, El Paso 14 January 1916. However, the local military commander suspended the decree in his district, and ordered that the paper currency be taken in the regular channel of trade at its commercial valueAt the present time, one peso sold for five cents American money and in large quantities could be purchased at four and one half and four cents, and with a downward tendency. In Chihuahua and the country towns it was current at one and two cents higher. There was a limited amount of American money and Mexican coin in circulation, and it was thought to be only a matter of days before all the government’s paper money would be refused by the public. Unless the authorities could pay the soldiers with money that could be exchanged for food there was a likelihood that trouble would followSD papers, 812.515/87 telegram Thomas D.Edwards, consul, El Paso 9 February 1916.