11. Our Man in Havana, 1844–1846

Charles Bankhead, who replaced Richard Pakenham as British minister plenipotentiary in Mexico, was aware that circumstances had changed significantly over the preceding year. Although he believed the caudillo would quell Paredes y Arrillaga's revolt, he could not help noting that "the prestige heretofor attached to General Santa Anna's name has of late been much damaged for even with the apathy naturally belonging to this people, they now begin to express themselves loudly in opposition to the wholesale corruption that has distinguished General Santa Anna's administration."1

Santa Anna believed that Paredes y Arrillaga's prime motivation was revenge. Paredes y Arrillaga was hoping to avenge the humiliation he had undergone a year earlier, when he was sacked from his military and political posts in the capital for drunken behavior. Aware that the situation in the capital was fast deteriorating and that his popularity was on the wane, Santa Anna likely viewed Paredes y Arrillaga's uprising as an opportunity to salvage his presidency. His military victories had always raised his profile and his popularity in the political life of the republic. The action of Veracruz of 5 December 1838, for example, had helped him recover from the disastrous Texan campaign. If he could crush Paredes y Arrillaga's revolt, it was possible that he could recoup his former popularity. The army was still loyal to him. He thus chose to confront Paredes y Arrillaga in person.2

As he went after Paredes y Arrillaga's forces toward the end of November, he was confident he would succeed in bringing the pronuncia- miento to an end. He even gloated over his adversary's retreat: "Every


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