Speech by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on the 111th Anniversary of the Start of the Mexican Revolution

#GobiernoDeMéxico.- As we know, the three great transformations recorded in the history of our country: the Independence, the Reform and the Revolution, achieved essential and very important advances.

The Independence movement, although it began with the noble purpose of defending the poor and abolishing slavery, its main fruit was the creation of our sovereign nation. The Reform movement, although it did not achieve anything for the benefit of the common people, performed the miracle of separating the clerical power from the civil power before other countries; making the biblical phrase «to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s» a reality. He also consummated the Reform movement, the feat of confronting and defeating the French army, the most powerful in the world at that time, to achieve Mexico’s second Independence.

But the Revolution of 1910 is the most popular and profound transformation ever recorded in our country. Let us bear in mind that, since Independence and throughout the 19th century, the structure of colonial domination remained practically unaltered; the poor continued to be, in their immense majority, peons working on rural haciendas or in the cities; social justice did not even exist in discourse; nor did the majority of the population participate in politics, an activity reserved for the liberal or conservative elites.

Remember that for more than half a century, power was held by two strongmen or tyrants: Antonio López de Santa Anna, who was president of Mexico eleven times, and Porfirio Díaz, who governed and ruled for 34 years.

The latter was determined to make the country progress by reestablishing slavery and suppressing political freedoms.

The henequen boom in Yucatan, the sugar cane boom in Morelos, the textile industry boom in Veracruz, Puebla and Tlaxcala, or the mining boom in Durango, Chihuahua, Sonora or Baja California Sur, just to give a few examples, was achieved through the dispossession of land from indigenous communities and the enganche system that enslaved workers and their families for life.

In the Porfiriato, slavery came to be seen as a necessary evil. The newspaper El Universal, of that time, predominant in the nineties of the 19th century, maintained without any demur that «slavery was a form of economic progress, although it seemed a blasphemy to metaphysics»; and gave the example of Yucatan where «the progress of the henequen was due to the slavery of the Mayas».

Another example of the regime’s lack of interest in the people is found in 1892 when the leaders of the Confederación Obrera de las Fabricas del Valle de México sent a realistic, painful and moving letter to Porfirio Díaz, in which they asked for his intervention to guarantee the right to work and better working conditions.

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