“¡Prefiero morir de pie que vivir siempre arrodillado!”

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October 31, 2012 by emagallanes1

Born on August 8th , 1879 in Mexico, Emiliano Zapata is now remembered as  having a strong impact on the Mexican Revolution against dictator Porfirio Diaz. Porfirio Diaz was known for taking advantage of the poor, and terrorizing them.As early as age 17, Emiliano Zapata was already a community leader, fighting for his community’s rights, and against injustices that Diaz imposed. At age 17, Zapata was already considered to be a strong leader, with much influence.

Emiliano Zapata teamed up with Francisco I. Madero , another revolutionist, who ended up betraying him. Then, Zapata came up with his “Plan de Alaya”, which was designed to attract more peasant groups, under the goals of “¡Tierra y Libertad!”. The plan of Ayala talks much about land reforms, and about the goal of returning all the land that Diaz had taken away from the peasants during his regime. Since Zapata himself was a sharecropper growing up, he was closely tied to the emotions felt by the peasants, as their land was confiscated by Diaz. Therefore, Zapata was a strong advocate of agrarian reform, and getting rid of the feudal-like system that controlled many peasant’s lands.

Unfortunately, Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata was assassinated on April 10th, 1919 by soldiers. Zapata’s goal of all land to be returned to peasants, was never accomplished. However, some land was restored, but not all. Zapata’s influence remains present many years after his assassination. An example of this was seen in 1994, when the EZLN (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) brought up the eagerness for agrarian and land reform in Mexico once again. Even today, many peasants turn to Zapata’s famous quotes, such as “La tierra es de quien la trabaja con sus manos”, while advocating their rights and protesting against inequalities imposed by the government. These peasants look to Zapata for inspiration, wishing that his promises were to be fulfilled. Even though Zapata is now gone, his influences on the Latin American culture are still alive, such as fighting for what belongs to you, and not letting anyone take away your freedom. Most important of all, Zapata taught us to never be afraid to step up for what’s right.

     Emiliano Zapata is definitely still remembered in a positive light. He’s remembered positively because he gave a voice to peasants who maybe would’ve never had the power to do so for themselves. When revolutionists (like Zapata) stand up for the ones that are being oppressed, they are always remembered with a positive light. Another aspect that draws to him being remembered positively is the fact that he never gave up on others’ rights, even if he had already acquired those rights and therefore didn’t have to fight for them any longer. Instead, Zapata took others’ rights into consideration, and put high importance on achieving those rights for them.



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