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The Comisión Reguladora del Mercado del Henequén

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries fibre from the henequen (better known as sisal) plant was in great demand in the United States for making twine for agriculture and this led to a boom for the henequen planters of the Yucatan.

In 1911 Nicolás Cámara Vales took over the governorship of Yucatan from José María Pino Suárez, when the latter became Madero’s vice-president. He was elected governor in 1912 but left when Huerta’s seized the presidency. In 1912 he established the Comisión Reguladora del Mercado del Henequén in an attempt to break the oligopoly that had flourished during the Porfiriato.

The original plan was to band the leading growers into a commission that would be empowered to “regulate” the price of henequen, particularly the huge portion destined for the United States, by imposing a tax on production and by warehousing vast quantities of baled sisal until market prices rose. However, although it was a quasi-government entity (it was created by legislative decree, supported by state taxes on henequen, and by statute its president was the state governor), the Comisión Reguladora remained in the hands of its wealthy henequenero members and was controlled by the Avelino Montes – International Harvester Company monopoly, thus achieving few of its propounded benefits.