Mexico launches stamp, lottery & Metro tickets commemorating the death of Zapata

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador presented this Wednesday, to commemorate the centenary of the death of Emiliano Zapata, special editions of a stamp, Metro ticket and a little slip of the National Lottery.

The federal government declared 2019 as the year of General Emiliano Zapata, so his image would appear on the official stationery. General Zapata was assassinated in Chinameca, Morelos, on April 10, 1919. Image: screenshot from twitter
The federal government declared 2019 as the year of General Emiliano Zapata, so his image would appear on the official stationery. General Zapata was assassinated in Chinameca, Morelos, on April 10, 1919. Image: screenshot from twitter

In the case of the stamp, it will cost 7.50 pesos and 100 thousand units were issued. The stamp of 40 by 48 millimeters can be purchased at the facilities of Correos de México or in its online store.

Claudia Sheinbaum, head of the Government of Mexico City, presented the special Metro ticket commemorating the death of Zapata, which has been sold since April 6. Metro printed 10 million tickets and arranged two special exhibitions about the general at the Pino Suárez and Zapata stations.

Ernesto Prieto, director of the National Lottery, announced that this Wednesday will be a special draw in commemoration of Zapata. The main prize of this event will be 25 million pesos, divided into two series, and will take place at 8:00 p.m. 2 million 400 thousand pieces were printed for the draw and the cost of each one is 50 pesos.

Who was general Zapata and why is he an important figure

This 10th of April marks the centennial of the death of Emiliano Zapata, peasant and revolutionary leader who was in charge of the Liberation Army of the South, in the area of ​​Morelos. Zapata promulgated the Plan de Ayala in 1911 where problems of the peasantry and the large estates that were not contemplated in the Maderista program were addressed. The political character (anti-reelection) was joined by the conviction of a social transformation based on the agrarian distribution in a predominantly rural Mexico.

It is well known that the Mexican Revolution was not a monolithic event. The triumph of the revolution was of the Sonoran military (Obregón, Calles) while the most social and popular part represented by Zapatismo and Villismo was defeated. Even so, there was space to consecrate in the Mexican Constitution certain social rights that made it the first in the world to do so, although it was always a dead letter in reality.

It is Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940) who makes an important agrarian distribution and visualizes the ejido as a form of economic production aimed at bringing social justice. This distribution was made in a first instance in the areas of Zapatista influence with the awareness that there were outstanding debts with the agrarian movement and that it was time to start paying them off. However, the election of Ávila Camacho (1940-1946) at the beginning of the Second World War brought the first setbacks for the peasantry as it abruptly reduced the agrarian distribution to only a quarter of what was delivered during the Cardenista administration, which it allowed to strengthen the private property of the land at the same time that it helped to neutralize the collective ejido as a form of political organization.

The end of the world conflict coincided with the election of Miguel Alemán (1946-1952) and the inauguration of the postrevolutionary period. Not only was the time of the revolutionary generals left behind, and a civilian was taking power, but a different economic project was given way. On the same day he protested as president, Alemán introduced an agrarian counterreform, stopping the collectivization of the land and promoting the latifundismo. Subsistence products were abandoned and production began for the market, including the United States.

Mexico stopped being rural and became urban, making it clear that the economic project envisioned was the development of capitalism (of friends) via industrialization. The countryside and the peasants were relegated and forgotten in the national project and in many cases there began to be violent repression of the agrarianism that represented a project of a country different from the Mexico of the economic and political elites. This change of cycle culminated in the 1962 assassination of Rubén Jaramillo, a peasant and revolutionary from Morelos who had fought alongside Zapata and inherited the lead in the southern part of the country. The agrarian movement was seen as an enemy to be exterminated in the construction of modern Mexico and the countryside as a simple means of supply for the industrialization and urbanization of the country.

But nothing is killed by decree and there was always peasant resistance organization. Many of these groups nurtured the guerrilla groups that emerged in the southeast of the country (Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas) during the 1970s. The figure of Zapata was so alive that he was present in a contradictory way in different sectors of contemporary Mexico. He was the national hero of Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994), the father of Mexican neoliberalism to such an extent that one of his sons bears the name of the leader of the south, while at every important announcement he came out with his portrait as a background. In the antipodes, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) emerged, which came to light in a symbolic manner on the same day that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force at the beginning of 1994. Zapata continued to be a more powerful figure in the Mexican social imaginary that served as legitimization both to Tyrians and Trojans.

Due to its mournful centenary, the López Obrador government declared that 2019 would be the 'Year of Zapata'. The official stationery is adorned with the effigy of the revolutionary and multiple tributes will be made.


Part of this article is a translation of an excerpt from a longer piece about Zapata found on RT here in Spanish: 

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