Mexico marks centennial of Zapata’s death with stamps, lottery


President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stands next to a blow-up of a postage stamp marking the centennial of the assassination of revolutionary leader Gen. Emiliano Zapata during his daily press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on April 10, 2019. EPA-EFE/Sashenka Gutierrez

MEXICO CITY.- The government said Wednesday it was marking the centennial of the death of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata, who was assassinated on April 10, 1919, by issuing commemorative stamps, holding special lotteries, selling Mexico City Metro tickets with the legendary commander’s image on them and staging exhibitions on the transit system.

“We’re going to present images, the Metro ticket, his image in the national lottery, a postal stamp, everything,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said during his daily press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City.

Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, said Zapata (1879-1919) was an “extraordinary social leader.”

“A cowardly assassin (was able to kill him) because Zapata was betrayed in Chinameca,” AMLO said, referring to the revolutionary leader’s murder with a shot in the back in that town in the central state of Morelos.

Lopez Obrador, the founder and leader of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena), noted the popular saying that “Zapata lives!”

“Zapata lives, because he was incorruptible. He’s the most loyal peasant leader that we’ve had in defending the rights of the people and that’s why today we remember the 100th anniversary of his assassination,” AMLO said.

Lopez Obrador said Zapata played an important role in the Mexican Revolution, which started in 1910 and ended the dictatorship of Gen. Porfirio Diaz (1830-1915).

AMLO noted the changes his administration was trying to implement in Mexico, dubbed the “fourth transformation.”

The president noted, however, that his policies were being enacted without the violence that marked the different stages of the Mexican Revolution.

“As long as we are running the government, we are not going to oversee or order the executions of opponents. We’re always going to seek transformation via peaceful means,” Lopez Obrador said.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, for her part, said 10 million Metro tickets would be printed with Zapata’s image on them.

Exhibitions on the revolutionary leader will be staged at two Metro stops, allowing the public to learn more about Zapata, the mayor said.

“The best way to remember Zapata is through the support for the countryside that comes out of Mexico City,” Sheinbaum said.

Zapata became an iconic revolutionary leader due to his push for collective land ownership and defense of peasants’ rights.

National Lottery for Public Assistance (Lotenal) director Ernesto Prieto Ortega and Deputy Communications Secretary Salma Jalife Villalon also participated in the press conference.

Most of Zapata’s descendants decided to skip the official ceremony marking the centennial of the assassination of the “Caudillo del Sur” on Wednesday.

“Some members of the Zapata will accompany us, there were relatives here just now. But everyone is free to express what they feel,” the president said.

One of the revolutionary leader’s granddaughters, Margarita Zapata, joined Lopez Obrador at the National Palace, the Office of the President said.

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