The Fall of Don Porfirio
Resistance to El Porfiriato – Díaz’s regime – had already begun south of Mexico City, in the tiny state of Morelos.
Since the 1880s, Morelos had become a major producer of sugar cane, and haciendas had been seizing the lands of small farmers and Indian ejidos, forcing their owners to work as peons on the ever-growing sugar-cane plantations. One such hacienda was El Hospital, which threatened lands held by the peasants of the village of Anencuilco. El Hospital would have successfully absorbed the small property around Anencuilco as it, and other haciendas, had successfully done Indian lands before but for one unexpected factor: a man named Emiliano Zapata.
Emiliano Zapata, the son of a mestizo share-cropper and small landowner, did not share the poverty of the Indians among whom he lived. Emiliano was known far and wide as a successful horse trainer – a profession that could have earned him more money and conferred a higher social status in nearby Mexico City had he chosen to go there. Money and social status, though, did not move Zapata; the cause of justice and freedom for his people did. Born into a family that had fought under Juárez against the imperialists, Emiliano had from infancy imbibed ideals of liberty for the small man and small landowner — though Juárez himself had, in the end, betrayed these ideals. For Zapata, however, juárismo did not include a disdain for the Catholic faith. Emiliano and his men would go into battle with images of Our Lady of Guadalupe pinned to their sombreros. CLICK HERE to continue…