Emiliano Zapata, better known as El Caudillo del Sur, was one of the most important icons of peasant resistance in Mexico, and his legacy transcended borders to be a symbol of the struggle for the rights of the oppressed in Latin America.
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Zapata was born in Anenecuilco, in the state of Morelos, on August 8, 1879 and was assassinated on April 10, 1919, at the age of 39.
The revolutionary chief was in command of the Liberation Army of the South, his main ideals revolved around social justice, freedom, equality, social democracy, respect for indigenous, peasant and worker communities.
Throughout his life, Zapata fought for the right to land of Mexican peasants and indigenous people, his ideas were collected in the Plan de Ayala (1911) in which he demanded the return of land and property to municipalities and citizens. .
In 1910, he joined the Maderista forces attracted by the agrarian proposals of the San Luis Plan, as General in Chief of the Liberation Army of the South and Center; but once the movement was successful, the return of land did not crystallize.
On November 28, 1911, the so-called Caudillo del Sur proclaimed the Plan de Ayala, with which he ignored the government of President Francisco I. Madero and established to continue the struggle to vindicate the rights of the peasants.
Zapata was a great leader who knew how to always have an attentive ear to the communities and towns, someone who knew work and exploitation from his own experience, but who also knew, from his position in the hacienda hierarchy, the position of the landowners and capitalist towards the peasants.
The agrarian leader understood very well the class antagonism between the sides in the conflict and that is why he was not fooled by the sirens’ song of the speeches and the demagoguery of the politicians who called themselves saviors of democracy.
“Without Zapatismo the Mexican Revolution would have been very different, Zapatismo is what really gives social content, without this movement the Revolution would have been only a political revolution, a change of government.” Felipe Ávila wrote in his book dedicated to Zapata, “Land and freedom. Brief history of Zapatismo.”
Zapatismo was the only revolutionary army where women reached the highest ranks within the military hierarchy, comments the author of the text, co-authored with Pedro Salmerón.
Regarding this peasant movement, the author concludes that it has been the most important in Mexico and in Latin America; Its leader, Emiliano Zapata, became the symbol of the struggle for peasant land, freedom and justice at the international level.
Zapata, one of the most famous leaders of the Mexican Revolution and precursor of the agrarian reform, was assassinated in Chinameca, Morelos, in an ambush planned by political rivals close to the government, supporters of the old latifundist system.