From Pancho Villa to Juan Gabriel: the iconic figures imprisoned in Lecumberri Palace

Lecumberri is known as the Black Palace.  (Photo: Jovani Pérez/Infobae)
Lecumberri is known as the Black Palace. (Photo: Jovani Pérez/Infobae)

That General Archives of the Nation (AGN) is according to the official site of the government of mexicothe house of “Historical Memory and the Leading and Advisory Body in Document Management and Records Management”.

That AGN is the responsible institution to preserve and disseminate the documentary heritage of the nation that explain the historical development of our country and provide testimonies of the most transcendental events that have shaped the course of the country and its citizens. It is tasked with overseeing and verifying that public bodies are properly handling their documents to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of public information.

This facility is located in Lecumberri Palace. However, this building is located in the mexico city, it did not always function as a home for them AGN. It was originally intended to house a penitentiary for what it was built.

known as The Black Palace of Lecumberrithe building that housed the country’s old prison was inaugurated September 29, 1900, during the reign of President Porfirio Diaz, in the eastern part of Mexico City. From that year until 1976 it functioned as a penitentiary.

Murderers and common criminals were imprisoned in Lecumberri, but so were innocents and political prisoners, guerrillas and intellectuals.  (Photo: Twitter@mafcultura)
Murderers and common criminals were imprisoned in Lecumberri, but so were innocents and political prisoners, guerrillas and intellectuals. (Photo: [email protected])

The architectural origin was the Reform of the Penal Code of 1871resulting in the elaboration of the project by the architect Lorenzo de la Hidalga and construction began in 1885 by the engineers Antonio Torres Torija, Antonio M. Anza, and Miguel Quintana.

In his work “Paralelo de las Penitenciarías” Lorenzo de la Hidalga compared different types of panopticonReturning to the original idea of English philosopher Jeremiah Bentham. The building was designed on the basis of this model, that is, a circular or polygonal central body intended for prison security and a radial of star-shaped galleries that converge in the central space where it was built. a tower to monitor the entire prison.

In addition to very relevant historical events, many well-known personalities were imprisoned there. One of them that affected the building is undoubtedly the assassination of President Francisco I. Madero, as well as the vice president Jose Maria Pino Suarezwho were previously forced to sign their resignations from their political offices, capture them and murder them at the request of Victorian Orchard. On arrival at Lecumberri, were shot in the head and their bodies buried in the back of the building. 1912, Francisco Villa was himself imprisoned on the orders of Victoriano Huerta.

Additionally, as a penitentiary, Lecumberri has become a symbol of oppression, condemnation and fear over time. It housed murderers and common criminals, but also Innocent and political prisoners, guerrillas and intellectualslike the painter David Alfaro Siqueirosthat shaped the shame lived in it.

José Revueltas spent two years with Lecumberri.  (Photo: Twitter@INEHRM)
José Revueltas spent two years with Lecumberri. (Photo: [email protected])

The great Mexican writer Jose Revueltas, During the two and a half years he was imprisoned in this place, he wrote one of the most universal works of Mexican literature: The Apando (1969)after being accused Sedition for his participation in the 1968 student movement.

Another personality behind the walls of Lecumberri was the Mexican singer-songwriter Alberto Aguilera Valadezbetter known as John Gabrielwho died in 2016. He spent a year between 1970 and 1971 on charges of theft, according to his biographers and friends, alongside the television series until I meet you. It was in this place that he wrote the famous song I’m left alone

Lecumberri It was closed as a prison in 1976 with the intention of demolishing it, but its architectural historical value prompted a group to campaign for its preservation. That’s how it became Headquarters of the Nation’s General Archives.


Where does the word ‘joto’ come from and how does it relate to Lecumberri Prison?
The day Juan Gabriel arrived at Lecumberri prison
The Black Palace: Lecumberri, the Mexican prison of death, history and horror

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