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Excursus on monies taken from Torreón banks

In 1913 the branches of the banks in Torreón had handed over to the Villistas cheques drawn on Mexico City and on foreign banks. Villa later explained that he had levied a forced loan on the local citizens and deposited $500,000 of this in the branches of the Banco Nacional de Mexico, Banco de Londres y México, Banco de la Laguna and Banco Germánico de la América del Sur and received these cheques in returnEl Demócrata, Segunda Época, Tomo II, Núm.90, 17 April 1914.

The cheques which Villa sent to the Rio Grande Valley Bank & Trust were

Bank cheque no: amount
Banco Aleman (Deutsch-Südamerikanische Bank) 192603 £2,000 sterling
10389 $20,000 U.S.
A 44381 10,000 francs
L 25862 $20,000
L 25863 $20,000
Banco Nacional de México 38305 30,000 francs
47053 $80,000
46975 $30,000 U.S.
Banco de la Laguna   $15,000
  $15,000

 

A cheque for $10,000 U.S. from the Compañía Metalurgica de Torreón and one from the Banco Germanico (Deutsch-Südamerikanische Bank) for $20,000 U.S. had been paid. Two other documents, one from the Banco de Londres y México and another from the Banco Nacional de México, were deposited in the First National Bank of Eagle Pass. Since Villa had not allowed him to cash these documents, de la Garza had been forced to use them as security for a $80,000 U.S. gold credit to cover the Banco del Estado’s costsLG papers, 3-L-15, telegram L. de la Garza, El Paso, to Villarreal, Mexico City, no date.

On 6 December 1914, F. F. Villarreal told Lázaro de la Garza that, on Villa’s instructions, he had to send any cheques that he had to Mexico CityLG papers, 3-L-6, telegram from Villareal, Mexico City, to L. de la Garza, Ciudad Juárez, 6 December 1914. De la Garza offered to send Farías with the documents and some $10,000,000 that was also requestedLG papers, 3-L-7, telegram from Villarreal, Mexico City, to L. de la Garza, Torreón. 8 December 1914 but, because of the difficulty in assembling the money, as the $50 denominations had to be signed, he later agreed to send $2,000,000 a day from 14 DecemberLG papers, 3-L-12, telegram L. de la Garza, Torreón, to Villarreal, Mexico City, 12 December 1914.

The Banco de Londres y México document was a cheque. no. 29668, for $50,000 (Mexican pesos) dated 20 October 1913, drawn on its head offices in favour of the First National Bank of Eagle Pass. On 1 January 1914 Lázaro de la Garza wrote to the Rio Grande Valley Bank & Trust Company in El Paso, explaining that the draft was a means for him, like others, to get his money out of Torreón. For example. G. C. Carothers, the U.S. consular agent in Torreón, who supported de la Garza’s case, had drawn cheques in favour of the Lockwood National Bank of San Antonio, TexasLG papers, 3-I-1, letter L. de la Garza, El Paso, to Rio Grande Valley Bank & Trust Co., El Paso. 15 January 1914. On 8 January Villa agreed that de la Garza should cash the cheque at a rate of 45c U.S.LG papers, 3-M-26, letter A. S. Farias, El Paso, to L. de la Garza, El Paso. 22 March 1915. However, on 6 March Rio Grande Valley Bank & Trust reported that the Banco de Londres y México had refused to honour the cheque as the manager of the Torreón branch, Castro, had stated that it had been obtained by General Villa by forceLG papers, 3-I-5, Letter Rio Grande Valley Bank & Trust Co., El Paso, to L. de la Garza, El Paso. 6 March 1914). De la Garza gave the cheque to A. S. Farias to cash in the Mexican capital as soon as the Conventionist forces were in charge of communicationsLG papers, 3-M-26, letter A. S. Farias, El Paso, to L. de la Garza, El Paso. 22 March 1915.

Later, in a manifesto, Villa explained the action he had taken with the banks. He said that when he occupied Torreón he had levied a forced loan that was met by businesses and ranches, who paid their dues to the satisfaction of his Cuartel General. From this he deposited $500,000 in sound money in the Banco Nacional, Banco de Londres y México, Banco de la Laguna and Banco Germánico de la América del Sur, in order to draw cheques to be paid in Mexico, the United States and Europe. When he arrived in Ciudad Juárez he found that the banks, on the orders of the Huertista government, were refusing to honour his cheques. So he appropriated the banksEl Demócrata, Segunda Época, Tomo II, Núm.90, 17 April 1914.

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