mexico revolution

“I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”  Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata, whose Zapatista peasant army fought a long guerrilla campaign south of Mexico City.  This picture was taken in Mexico City in 1914, after the revolutionaries captured the capital.  However, the victors soon fell out, and Zapata allied with Pancho Villa against the liberal Constitutionalist faction.  He did die, assassinated in 1919, but still has an iconic legacy in Mexico today.

Happy Birthday, Emiliano Zapata! 

Today marks the birth of one of Mexico’s most celebrated revolutionaries – Emiliano Zapata. Zapata was from Morelos, Mexico in the south of Mexico and was born to a family who was profoundly impacted by the massive land grabs during the Porfiriato (1830-1915). These events would shape Zapata’s ideologies and revolutionary spirit from a young age.

Zapata led the Ejército Libertador del Sur or the Liberation Army of the South. He amassed a group of approximately 27,000 peasants, primarily Indigenous and mestizo peasants, to fight during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920).

Besides his charismatic leadership, what led many to Zapata’s army was his historical declarations in the ‘Plan de Ayala’. The 15-point platform was delivered in Ayala, Morelos on November 25, 1911 after President Madero took power upon the defeat of Diaz. Madero failed to fulfill his promises and continued repression of poor campesinos which promoted Zapata to deliver his plan. The most significant points in the declaration called for redistribution of lands to peasants, land reforms, and a nationalization of elite’s lands/resources. The 'Plan de Ayala’ is where Zapata also wrote the phrase most commonly associated with him, “Reform, Liberty, Justice, and Law!” later shortened to “Land and Liberty!“.

Alongside Pancho Villa, Zapata successfully defeated the government of Madero and took Mexico City in 1914. During the time in the capital, Zapata reportedly refused to sit in the presidential chair. In fact, during most of his life, Zapata would refuse positions of power, instead choosing to lead a life away from politics after the triumph over Madero.

Zapata was then assassinated by federal troops in 1919 but remained a revolutionary hero in Mexico and throughout the world.

Via teleSUR English