Today we celebrate Mexican Independence, but how independent was Mexico after their Declaration of Independence (Which was actually made 10 years later after a decade of war with Spain). 

Zapatista Landscape

Much like the United States with England, Mexico was populated and culturally changed by the Spanish.  The language of Mexico was Spanish, and the names of the Mexican people became Spanish as well.  I am a shining example (my mother’s maiden name is Rodriguez).  Essentially, what the Mexican Independence accomplished was to keep Spanish rule away from the Spanish landowners in Mexico.  Do you honestly think the indigenous population of Mexico saw significant change after this Declaration of Independence?

This is what makes the actions and leadership of Francisco Madero, Emiliano Zapata, and Francisco Villa so important.  Shortly after Mexico gained its Independence, the “presidency” was in disarray until Benito Juarez took over in 1867.  Culminating in the presidency of Porfirio Diaz 1876-1911, also know as the Porfiriato.  The Porfiriato was seen as a “Golden Era” of Mexico for all of the Hacendados, or the rich Spanish Hacienda owners.  Mexico thrived, but to what expense.  Much of the money received by the Mexican Government was through European interest.  Mexico essentially was mortgaging its future economic stability to Europe as well as the United States. 

So who paid the price?  Not the landowners.. rather the people who worked the land.  The Mexican workers and indigenous population were the true losers in Mexico’s Independence from Spain. 

How could I say such a thing???  Easy, the workers and indigenous populations of Mexico fought hard for Mexico to gain it independence, yet when all was said and done, the workers were still being treated unjust and worked the haciendas under indentured servitude.  These rich landowners who were granted their freedom from Spanish rule, ruled over their land much like the Spanish ruled over Mexico.  If you worked the land, you future was set, you had no chance to better your life or your children’s life.

To me, Mexico’s independence came in 1908 when a man named Francisco Madero, published a book titled La sucesión presidencial en 1910 (The Presidential Succession of 1910).  In this book Madero chastised the Porfiriato for their treatment of Yaqui indians, repression of the workers, and the centralization of power to the office of the president.  This book led to what would be called The Mexican Revolution.  In my opinion, however, this book led to what I feel was the Mexican People’s Independence from Foriegn Land Owners.  An independence that led to opportunity from many who never had a chance.  I know things in Mexico are not the best right now, but had the workers and indigenous people not been protected, things would be much worse.  Just my opinion…