As to don Luis Terrazas, Carranza nullified the expropriation of his assets carried out by Villa. Obregón urged him to come back to Mexico: he was 90 at that time, and two of his sons, Juan and Alberto, managed his return.
«He never regained his political omnipotence», Mark Wasserman writes, nor his economic empire. The Terrazas-Creel clan paid a heavy toll to the Revolution: their economic loss was considerable (millions of dollars). However, not all was lost.
In 1922, don Luis could enjoy an incredible privilege: he was not dispossessed of his landholdings, as required by some decrees, but was allowed to sell 6.6 million acres, except for Quinta Carolina, to the Caja de Préstamos. In one fell swoop, he cashed in 13.6 million pesos. He was blatantly overpaid for his land, and many protested. In vain, of course.
«During the 1920s, the family repurchased the best of its landholdings. (…). The total of the repurchases was nearly 500,000 hectares (= 1,235,000 acres), a little less than 20% of the original landholdings» (Mark Wasserman, Strategies for Survival, cit.). It was only 20%, but it was the best land. The worst – a tiny part to tell the truth – was distributed to ejidos.
«The enormous urban properties of don Luis and Enrique Creel were untouched by the expropriation decree (…). The Terrazas economic comeback was led by Luis Terrazas grand-children (…). The family based its economic activities on old strengths – landowning and cattle raising, real estate, textiles, banking and utilities – to which they added a new business, construction» (Mark Wasserman, cit.). Today the Terrazas-Creel is a powerful and wealthy family of Chihuahua. After the Revolution, its members have served for a total of 67 terms in Chihuahua’s state legislature and 23 terms in the Congress of Mexico.
Enrique Creel, who during the Revolution fled to Los Angeles and at a safe distance «pumped substantial money into the reactionary movement of general Victoriano Huerta» (M. Wasserman, Enrique C. Creel, see Bibliography), came back to Mexico in the early 1920s, and «became an important financial adviser of the government. He died in 1931 in Ciudad de México» (M.W., cit.).
Don Luis passed away quietly in 1923, one month before its 94th birthday and the killing of Pancho Villa. His remains were buried in the atrium of the Sanctuary of Guadalupe, in Chihuahua city.
Some Mexicans say that Pancho Villa and don Luis Terrazas passed away hermanados por la muerte (fraternized and united by death).
What a mawkish lie!
Perhaps, it’s the legacy of a certain Catholic popular culture. There’s indeed an old Neapolitan poem that reads ‘A morte ‘o ssaje ched”e?…è una livella (Death. You know? It’s something that levels out all of us). It’s a commonplace, filled with servile idiocy. Death is like life (of which is a part): it is not at all the same for everyone. Death does not unite us, nor does make us brothers. Death can be as unjust and scandalous, painful and merciless as certain lives. But death in itself is like water: it has no shape. It is the man who shapes it for himself and sometimes, infernally, he did it for some others. It is against this kind of men, and not against God, that Christ cries on the Cross.
Nuevo Casas Grandes after the Revolution
The area around Nuevo Casas Grandes was the site of both one of the first and one of the last battles of the Revolution. Starting from summer 1912, many prosperous Mormon colonies were evacuated and their inhabitants took refuge in El Paso, a few kilometers away only, beyond the border with the United States.