May 13th: Emiliano Zapata

13 May

Emiliano Zapata was the leader of the Liberation Army of the South in the Mexican Revolution (started in 1910). His opposition was the president of Mexico.

Though from a middle class background, Zapata was fighting for and representing the folks in Mexico who were having their agrarian rights taken away from them.  Communal farm lands, known as ejidos, had once been integral parts of life in Mexico. However, people in power wanted to privatize the lands. This privatization was and is devastating for the working class people and indigenous people in Mexico. At the beginning of the Civil War Zapata somewhat supported Madero as an alternative to Diaz. However, as many revolutionaries soon discover,the politician they helped out did not actually crete the necessary radical change. Madero began watering down the policies, and failed to be responsive to the needs of the people. So Zapata decided to fight back.

The treaty of the Ciudad de Juarez officially ended the Civil War, but because agrarian rights were never reinstated or supported, there were many more battles. Zapata was not beaten in battle. However, he was murdered.

In 1919, Zapata went to meet with Col. Guajardo who was a supporter of the President. Guajardo had sent word that he meant to defect to the revolutionaries. Instead, his men shot Zapata to death.

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