Octavio Paz, Writer, Political Activist, and Diplomat

March 31, 1914 is the birthday of Octavio Paz, a Mexican writer, political activist, diplomat, poet, and Noble Prize Laureate for Literature.  Paz spent extensive time in the US, including during his parents’ political exile, as a student at the University of California, Berkeley, as a lecturer at Harvard, and in the diplomatic service in New York.  Among his many brilliant works is “El Laberinto de la Soledad” (“The Labyrinth of Solitude”), a groundbreaking study of Mexican identity and thought, which is available in English.

Fighting in the Mexican Revolution

On April 9, 1914, one of the world’s first naval / air skirmishes was fought during the Mexican Revolution on the coast of western Mexico.  Captain Gustavo Salinas Camino flew his biplane over the armed warships, and determinedly tossed bombs over the side.  Although the bombs failed to hit their targets, the attack was regarded as an innovation in warfare. The revolution was led by Francisco I. Madero against the 35 year regime of Porfirio Diaz.  After a long struggle, the Mexican people and politicians finally produced the Mexican Constitution of 1917.