President López Obrador declared today that 2019 will be the year of Emiliano Zapata, a mustachioed, charro hat-wearing hero of the Mexican revolution.
The president told reporters at his morning press conference that he had decided to dedicate this year to Zapata to commemorate the centenary of his death and to recognize his role in the armed struggle that lasted from 1910 to 1920.
All of the federal government’s stationery will feature Zapata’s name, López Obrador said, adding that the best homage that will be paid to him “is that the government, which arose from the people and through democratic elections, will respond to the demands of Mexicans, especially . . . the humblest people.”
Descendants of the revolutionary, who was killed near Ciudad Ayala, Morelos, in 1919, were on hand to hear the president’s declaration.
Jorge Zapata González, a grandson of the revolutionary, said that he was confident that López Obrador would be a president who embodies his grandfather’s ideals.
“Finally, the people of Mexico and their critical awareness have awoken and together we’re going to rebuild Mexico, which was handed to us bleeding and in tatters, with thousands of missing persons and looted by corruption at all levels,” he said.
“The people of Mexico and the Zapatistas are with you, you’re not alone . . . Viva México, cabrones!”
Emiliano Zapata, nicknamed the Caudillo del Sur, was the leader of the Liberation Army of the South that fought to overthrow former president Porfirio Díaz and for land reform.
The Mexican revolution ended Díaz’s 30-year rule as president in 1911 but fighting continued for nine more years as competing factions sought to take power and exert control.