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The Revolution a Century Later: Reforms Still Pending

By: Staff | Real Acapulco News - 20 November, 2010

(Acapulco, NA 20 November) One hundred years ago today, the Mexican Revolution began when Francisco I. Madero started a revolt against dictator Porfirio Díaz, who had held power since 1876. Issues included the right to vote, land reform, freedom from servitude, democratic process, education, food and a place to live. Today the Revolution is viewed nostalgically, as a time of valor and heroism. But the fundamental problems persist. During the upheaval, one autocrat was substituted for another, until finally the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (the PRI) took over the reins of government, and the civil strife subsided. The PRI then turned Mexico into a single party state for 65 years, exceeding by decades the length of the “Porfiriato.”

Locally, in Acapulco, citizens interviewed by Novedades de Acapulco opined that a century later the peasants are still being exploited, that violence still persists, and that the hard-fought revolutionary principles were established in word, but not in deed. Some of those responding to the journalists said that they felt the Revolution resulted in a change of taskmasters, but the tasks remained all the same; there was only a turnover in the membership in the elites. Others making comments were able to qualify that dour assessment: “That does not mean that the Mexican Revolution failed,” they said. “It symbolizes freedom and the struggle of the working classes to be independent, to stop being indentured to the large haciendas that seized their private plots and then kept them as slaves.”

In context, the Mexican Revolution in 1910 was the first of several worker uprisings for social justice, and, along with the Bolshevik Revolution seven years later, was among the bloodiest. It would take nearly 20 years for the civic fabric of Mexico to be restored to relative calm. Modern Mexicans, with no memory of that era, celebrate the national holiday as a chance to be proud of the Republic, with flags, parades, music and parties. Acapulco’s Costera Alemán is clogged with traffic and revelers. The beaches are crowded. Like national holidays elsewhere in the world, today is a time for relaxation, a time to take a break from working on the as yet incomplete agenda of the political movement that started one hundred years ago.

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