20 November 2007

!Viva la Revolución!

Today is Revolution day here in Mexico. We actually celebrated the day yesterday, November 19th, so that we could have a three day weekend but November 20th commemorates the day in 1910 when Francisco I. Madero made the call to arms that would eventually last ten years or more and lead to the deaths of over one million people. That was seven percent of Mexico’s population at the time. It has always been called the “revolution” but it was really more of a series of civil wars and political skirmishes that led to the Mexican Constitution of 1917. The major killing didn’t stop, however, until well into the 1920’s and continued on after that as a series of murders and assassinations. It wasn’t until the years 1934 through 1940 when a man named Lazaro Cardenas finally put a stop to it. President Cardenas also abolished capital punishment which was commonly carried out by firing squad and his control of the country without the need for executions was an indication that the revolutionary period was at its end. In 1940 President Cardenas voluntarily relinquished all power to his successor Manuel Avila Camacho which was an unprecedented event in Mexican history. In 1942, Manuel Avila Camacho and all living former Presidents appeared on a stage in Mexico City in front of the Palacio Nacional to encourage the Mexican people to support the Americans and British in World War II. This demonstration of political solidarity between politically diverse elements effectively signaled the true end of the Revolution. Some say that the revolution never really died, however, and that it is just lying dormant and waiting for a chance to rear its ugly head again. It will be interesting to see what happens in 2010 when we celebrate the 100 year anniversary.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.