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Garrido Canabal, Tomás (1891–1943)

Garrido Canabal, Tomás (1891–1943)

Tomás Garrido Canabal (b. 20 September 1891; d. 1943), radical Mexican provincial politician who dominated political life in the Gulf state of Tabasco in the 1920s and early 1930s. He is most remembered for his fanatical persecution of Catholic priests during the church-state conflict in the 1920s.

Born in Catazajá, Chiapas, Garrido studied law in Campeche and Mérida before serving as interim governor in 1919. He was governor of Tabasco from 1923 to 1926, senator (1927–1930), and governor once again from 1931 to 1934. With the support of his own Red Shirt movement, he took such extreme steps against priests as to prompt an investigation by the English Roman Catholic novelist Graham Greene, which resulted in Greene's famous 1940 work The Power and the Glory.

Garrido joined General Lazaro Cárdenas's first cabinet as secretary of agriculture (1934–1935). He refused Cárdenas's offer of a continued post in the cabinet, shortly after which his mentor, General Plutarco Calles, was forced to leave Mexico. Garrido went into voluntary exile in Costa Rica, from which he returned to Mexico in 1940.

See alsoCalles, Plutarco; Mexico: Since 1910.


Baltasar Dromundo, Tomás Garrido, su vida y su leyenda (1953).

Graham Greene, The Lawless Roads (1955, repr. 1992).

Alan M. Kirshner, "Tomás Garrido Canabal and the Mexican Red Shirt Movement" (Master's thesis, New York University, 1970).

Pepe Bulnes, Gobernantes de Tabasco (1979).

Additional Bibliography

Harper, Kristin A. "Revolutionary Tabasco in the time of Tomás Garrido Canabal, 1922–1935: A Mexican House Divided." Ph.D. diss., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2004.

Torres Vera, María Trinidad. Mujeres y utopía: Tabasco garridista. Villahermosa: Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco, 2001.

Tostado Gutiérrez, Marcela. El intento de liberar a un pueblo: Educación y magisterio tabasqueño con Garrido Canabal, 1924–1935. Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, 1991.

                                       Roderic Ai Camp

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