View Full Version : Zapata's Legacy

08-08-2011, 04:26 AM
This day in history: 8 August 1879
Emiliano Zapata Salazar was born and grew up to become a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, which broke out in 1910, and which was initially directed against President Porfirio Díaz. He formed and commanded an important revolutionary force, the Liberation Army of the South, during the Mexican Revolution. Followers of Zapata were known as Zapatistas.
Porfirio Díaz rose to power in 1876 at a time when the Mexican social and economic system was essentially a feudal system, with large estates (haciendas) controlling much of the land and squeezing out the independent communities of the people who were subsequently forced into debt slavery (peonaje) on the haciendas.
For many years, he campaigned steadfastly for the rights of the villagers, first establishing via ancient title deeds their claims to disputed land, and then pressing the recalcitrant governor of Morelos into action. Finally, disgusted with the slow response from the government and the overt bias towards the wealthy plantation owners, Zapata began making use of armed force, simply taking over the land in dispute.
Zapata's trademark saying was, "It's better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."

‪Slideshow of General Zapata‬‏ - YouTube

14-08-2011, 06:24 AM
In Dallas, Texas, as he does every Wednesday through Saturday, the legendary general's grandson, Diego Alejandro Zapata, works as a busboy at a high-end restaurant in this city, where he has resided as an undocumented worker for the last 10 years.
Diego's 4-year-old daughter Alexa plays and fiddles around. Her eyes are dark and deep, the same drilling stare as her great-grandfather. She says she is Mexican and fully recognizes the mustachioed man in the photo her father holds. Alexa has never been to Mexico, and her mother, who cleans houses to help the family’s financial situation, tells her about the country they left behind and the blood of the great Emiliano Zapata coursing through her ​​veins.
Diego's stay in America has been an ordeal. Tired of his undocumented status because it prevents him from traveling to Mexico to see loved ones, he also cannot get a driver’s license or work legally. “I hope for amnesty because in Mexico I have nothing. My father and grandfather left us nothing. Not even some land.” And so here, he continues waiting for a future for his daughter, his wife and himself.

Diego Alejandro Zapata with a portrait of his famous grandfather