Fri, Apr 12, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Mexico marks revolutionary’s death


Lottery tickets depicting Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata are displayed in Mexico City on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Mexico on Wednesday marked the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Emiliano Zapata, one of the main heroes of the 1910 to 1917 revolution, who was gunned down by government soldiers over his unyielding defense of peasants.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador particularly identifies with Zapata who, like him, was from southern Mexico, in a country where politics has long been dominated by the north and center, and viewed agriculture as the natural vocation for the region.

Speaking at a commemoration ceremony, Lopez Obrador said that it is important to “understand the importance that the land holds for the rural people of the south.”

Lopez Obrador has designated this year as the year of Zapata, and the government has issued subway tickets, postage stamps and lottery tickets with images of the mustachioed, broad-hatted revolutionary.

Zapata never sold out, although he was offered land and wealth, the president said.

Up to the present day, the favorite chant at Mexican protests remains: “Zapata lives. The fight continues.”

“As the saying goes: ‘Zapata lives,’ because he was incorruptible; he was the most loyal leader that rural people have ever had,” Lopez Obrador said at the ceremony, which was held in Zapata’s home state of Morelos, which is just south of Mexico City.

Lopez Obrador has a deep interest in history, and he has called his own presidency the “fourth transformation” of Mexico — on a level with the Mexican Revolution, the 1810 to 1821 independence struggle against Spain and the liberal Reform movement that broke the power of the church in the 1850s.

Yet that love of history has also drawn criticism, as when Lopez Obrador sent a letter to Spain asking for an apology for the 1519 to 1521 Spanish Conquest.

Critics said that was an unnecessary and divisive move.

As usual, Lopez Obrador was unrepentant, saying: “Historical memory is always going to be present, is always going to have a special place” in his administration.

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