The street names of Old Town (Col. Emiliano Zapata) are fascinating. Amapas, for example, is named for the beautiful tree of the same name. Other names for this gorgeous piece of evolution are pink lapacho, pink poui, and rosy trumpet . Its scientific name is “abebuia rosea”. It is the national tree of El Salvador. Together with the yellow primavera, the pink amapa is one the most noticeable and best-loved flowering trees in town.
Even though the tree is prolific from Mexico to Argentina, it also grows in Hawaii and on the west coast of Africa. It is used for furniture because of its lightweight, amber colour and purplish veins. Even the wood is beautiful.
The amapa tree enjoys living in salty soil beside the ocean and is very tolerant to windy conditions. It thrives here in PV and can reach a height of ninety feet with a crown of thirty feet or more, so be careful where you plant it: you might get more than you wish for!
When in flower, the Amapa has few equals among Central American trees for beauty. When it blossoms it is like a huge bouquet of flowers, which can vary in colour from deep rose-purple to pure white. It is used to provide shade in coffee and cocoa plantations. You can’t get better than beauty combined with usefulness!
Calle Amapas runs from north to south for five blocks, from Rodolfo Gomez crossing Pulpito, Pilitas, Abedul and Almendro before it blends into Calle Santa Barbara, which continues south towards Conchas Chinas.
The next street to the east of Amapas is named Olas Altas, which translates to High Waves. It starts at Calle Venustiano Carranza and heads south, crossing Basilio Badillo and ending six blocks later in a dead end over which the very lively and excellent fish restaurant, Jorge’s Hideaway, presides. In those five blocks, there are at least twenty restaurants, bars, and bistros listed on Google Maps. I assume that “High Waves” relates to past hurricanes and high tides but, perhaps, its named after the waves of pleasure available in this area?
Wandering east from Olas Altas along one of a few streets in this area named after presidents, in this case, Venustiano Carranza, I came to a street that is named after another hero of the Mexican Revolution and the last vice-president of Mexico, Pino Suárez.
Although born into a privileged and wealthy family Suarez, who lived in Merida, Yucatán had a strong sense of social justice and for three years, from 1896–1899, he practiced law in Mexico City. He then returned to Merida to go into business with his wealthy father-in-law.
It was after his return to Yucatán that Suárez’s political career began with his founding of the newspaper, El Peninsular. The paper soon caught the public eye for its criticism of the Diaz dictatorship and for publicizing the bad treatment of workers in the Henequen plantations of Yucatán. In 1905, El Peninsular was forced to close by the government and Suárez faced prosecution and time in jail, so he fled to the USA and joined Francisco Madero, who was also seeking asylum there.
In anticipation of leading a revolution against President Diaz, Madero and Suárez, drafted the plan of San Luis Potosi, which declared the 1910 re-election of Diaz to be null and void and called for a revolution to replace the president and to reform much of Mexican law. The Revolution started in November 1910 and six months later Diaz resigned from the presidency. In the new elections that year Madero became president and Suárez vice-president.
However, things went badly for the Madero government and, in 1913, some army officers attempted a coup that was unsuccessful. One of the apparently loyal generals, Victoriano Huerta, entered into negotiations between the rebels and the US Ambassador, Henry Lane Wilson. Huerta suddenly changed sides, captured the president and vice-president, forced them at gunpoint to resign, and had them shot “while trying to escape.”
Not only was Suárez a politician, he was a man of letters. From an early age, he was a member of the Merida Literary Academy and was introduced to authors who included many of Europe’s finest writers. Suárez became an accomplished poet and published two books of his work. He was also a loving family man who left a widow and six orphans when he died.
Born in September 1969, Pino Suárez was yet another Mexican politician who died by gunfire. He was just 43 years old.