The Zapatistas of yesterday and today Historical similarities and differences

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At the end of the dictatorship of General Victoriano Huerta, the revolutionary forces that had fought were divided. On one side were those of the First Chief Venustiano Carranza’s Constitutionalist Army, in charge of this Executive under the Plan of Guadalupe. On the other, and those of the Northern Division of Francisco Villa’s army as the liberator of South Emiliano Zapata. 

Carranco, and Villist Zapatists soon collide with each other. The Carrancas won the victory over them. Defeated Villa and Zapata held in their region of origin, became the first head its armed forces along the spine of the nation. This is the institutional home of the Mexican army. 

Francisco Villa and Emiliano Zapata were killed, and what remained of his troops, disbanded. But the interests that were alive and continued to be reproduced not necessarily through the family, but of ideas, politics and tradition. Throughout this century groupings emerged civilians, not soldiers, to remember, until the official appearance of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation on January 1, 1994. 

The current confrontation between the two armies, therefore, the professional line, which holds the federal government and the Zapatista guerrillas and Indian, which acaudilla Subcomandante Marcos, is no mere coincidence, but playing in another time, other spaces and under other arrangements, an old historical antagonism. 

The constitutional government that presides Dr. Ernesto Zedillo is the heir to the military victory of Carranco. The Zapatistas, in turn, are descendants sanquíneos but no physical or spiritual-political and of the Liberation Army of the South. It repeatedly said, because some political columnists are amazed that the Zapatistas say that “the murderers of our national heroes are the same great-grandparents and grandparents of the misrule of now, they are the ones that took the lives of these unforgettable companions . 

For example, Aurora Berdejo said: “It’s inevitable question of who is speaking, as far as we know it is possible, nor President Zedillo and the secretaries of state, nor the presidents of chambers of Congress, nor President of the Supreme Court Justice of the Nation are grandchildren or great-greatgrandchildren of murderers of national heroes “(Excelsior, 17 Sep 97). 

You are right, without it. No, it is nothing personal. It is historic. Is political. So the fundamental characteristics of the players in this drama are understandable, and their actions, a certain extent, predictable. What happened yesterday could be repeated tomorrow, unless you define precisely the differences between the conditions of the past and present. In this case, the conclusion would be different. 

Emiliano Zapata 

The general was southern porphyritic antiporfirista, wood and antimaderista and, under the circumstances, and Carranca anticarrancista. Supported the first until he was deceived by them. And faced the third until they found he wanted to remain in power and refused to make land reform. However, the decision to deal with them, never revoked. 

Initially, next to the 72 farmers was launched March 10, 1910 to the revolutionary struggle against President Porfirio Díaz. Political reasons behind their social beat a thrill: to surrender the land to which they work. The resignation of Diaz, the president Leon de la Barra sent him 1000 men under the command of General Victoriano Huerta. 

In August that same year, Francisco I. Madero was a visit to ask him to lay down their weapons, under a commitment to appointing authorities in the State of Morelos related to their ideas. However, the federal government ignored the result of the agreements and ordered the military to impose peace in blood and fire. It was the first time that Zapata was the victim of a betrayal. After all, he had taken up arms to support his partner. 

With nearly annihilated their forces, declared illegitimate to state governments in the South, remade its troops and a month later and had leaks in the city of Mexico. Being president Madero, these two characters meet again in the realm of Zapata. The president, in a nutshell, policy positions and offered him to know that an initiative to promote agrarian reform law. 

Under Madero, if it was to return their land to communities deprived of them during the dictatorship porphyritic needed to do based on a law to the law, not a revolutionary, he was respected by . The president recalled how he agreed with the agrarian reform, which had argued before and revolutionary, with weapons in hand, under the Plan de San Luis Potosí 

He agreed on the restitution of land, but not stripping away of their lands to their rightful owners, be they landowners or ranchers in order to distribute them to peasants. 

In short: yes restitution, uncompensated expropriation. Zapata transigió and understood the point, but not lay down their arms. Only this will ensure that land reform is actually carried out, whether or not law. 

Plan de Ayala 

By failing to reach agreement on the issue of the weapons, Zapata proclaimed the Plan de Ayala on November 28, 1911, which called on Mexicans to join the armed struggle against the government of Madero to sustain and carry out the promises made before the Revolution of November 20, 1910, “which splits into two points of land restitution and distribution. 

In September 1912 seemed to yield to the federal army which fought, because of the fine diplomatic Felipe Angeles, which however failed. Meanwhile, President Madero had already given their backing to the initiative of deputy Luis Cabrera to enact an agrarian reform law. The governor of Morelos Porfirio Leyva said in December that year his sympathy towards the project. 

In February 1913, however, Victoriano Huerta sent to assassinate the president Madero, usurped power, and the following May 30, Zapata declared him unworthy of being in the chair. Several months later, in January 1914, formally established the Liberation Army of Central and South America in April and controlled the states of Morelos and Guerrero. 

Land Law 

Huerta defeated the mighty Carrancas troops blocked the passage of the Zapatistas to Mexico City when they were already in advanced southern Milpa Alta. But that did not bother to Zapata as the fact that the First Chief Venustiano Carranza declared on September 5, 1914 that it would not accept the claims of land the Zapatistas. 

He said why. Proposals for Zapata was reduced to a region and the South-Carranza wanted to expand throughout the country. The initial plan was contained in a revolutionary and he wanted to become law. The arguments were reasonable, but assumed that Zapata was another ploy to stop not only him but also to land reform. Without waiting further instructions issued to their troops to return and proceed to distribute land in any territory under its jurisdiction. Land reform does not begin with words but with deeds and would be sustained with arms, not with the law. 

At the same time, he came into contact with Francisco Villa for a Revolutionary Convention was unaware that the de facto government of Venustiano Carranza. The Convention will take place in Aguascalientes, under the condition that it accepted the Plan de Ayala, ie the spirit of agrarian reform. Villa accepted. 

Hostilidadades broken, the troops commanded by Carranza constitutionalists retreated to Veracruz and 26 November 1914 the Liberation Army of the South and the North Division, composed what was called the Convention army entered the city of Mexico . 

It was the first time that Zapata would do what had already tried before without success: taking the capital of the Republic, and was accompanied by troops Villist. On reaching the National Palace declined the honor of sitting in the presidential chair, which gave in honor of Francisco Villa. 

In the capital would not last long. Without understanding the complex machinery of national power, the conventional forces evacuated voluntarily. Carranza the recovered without firing a shot. His government, meanwhile, based in Veracruz, a farm bill actually issued the January 6, 1915, including two points of land restitution and distribution. 

Fin de Zapata 

Unlike Villa, Zapata never had a professional army in line, ready for the big battles. His soldiers were farmers, community members, who left the gun as soon took the plow. His force was moral rather than material. 

In 1916, Carranza was reinstalled in the city of Mexico, from which led the offensive against the Northern Centauro through general Alvaro Obregón. Villa defeated, de facto in charge of the executive branch organized the attack on Zapata, under the command of General Pablo Gonzalez. On May 2 the attack began. 72 hours in almost all populations in the region fell into their hands. 

Was confined to the prisoners in concentration camps, hundreds are shot, burned entire villages, and the winners and officers engaged in plunder, looting homes and farms and stealing cattle and machinery. However, it did not have malaria, which, allied with the Zapatista guerrillas, forcing them to evacuate the area in late December. 

On May 1, 1917 Carranza constitutionally assumed the presidency of the republic, and with the authorization of Congress, it was proposed to eliminate Zapata. This time not only in front but also by using deception and betrayal. 

First, he spies and provocateurs to penetrate the Zapatista region, and then sent troops to Pablo Gonzalez captured insurgent in the area again. In October of that year, Zapata was turned back into a fugitive. This condition did not prevent him from issuing the manifesto of January 1, 1919, which is responsible to the president for all the ills of the country. 

Then operated the deception and betrayal. Jesus Guajardo told him that he shared his feelings, that he intended to back and was ready to arms against the government. When going to meet him, Zapata was ambushed and murdered by him in Chinameca on April 10, 1919. 

His resurrection 

However, the Zapatista movement is not extinguished because of the bullets but the agrarian laws and inspired in its fight with the government’s political will to implement them and make them comply. This line was particularly intense during the administration of President Lázaro Cárdenas. As well as the exaltation of the figure of the hero suriano were carried out large-scale processes of restitution and land allocation between indigenous communities and peasants. 

Moreover, since then many institutions were created to meet and serve this important sector of the population, including the Department of Agrarian Reform, the National Indigenous Institute, the bank and rural credit. The peasant and indigenous emezaron a revival in art and literature and treated with respect, not contempt of other times, as equals, not as inferior. 

But most importantly, the government sealed a political alliance with them. The organized, armed them, and eventually joined the Partido de la Revolución Mexicana (PRM). One of the four sectors of the party was precisely the peasant sector on equal terms with the labor sector, popular and military. It emerged countless peasants deputies and senators, not counting the many who were part of the local legislatures. 

And so things remained until it was gradually neglected field preferably addressed to industrial agriculture. Consequently, peasants and indigenous people began to be abandoned. Millions of them had to migrate to large urban centers in Mexico and, without roots, to the United States. Rural society became an urban society. Institutions designed to serve, some disappeared, and others, though, are only shadows of what they were. In 1992, he declared the end of the backward agricultural and extinguished the root that gave rise to the Mexican Revolution. 

Indians and peasants were virtually marginalized and left to their fate, until the January 1, 1994, through Subcomandante Marcos announced to the nation that exist are a political force and navy, who refuse to be sentenced extermination, and that in any case, if they will die with weapons in hand. 

As shown, Zapata has them breathing again. Is more alive than ever. 


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