The number 43

Last fall, a group of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico made a trip to Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico to protest against unfair hiring processes for teacher at a conference led by the Mayor of Iguala’s wife. Their bus was stopped by the police and it is said that there was some sort of confrontation that remains unclear.

Protest arose from all over, including other students, showing their concern and support in finding the 43 students.

Conspiracy started as many thought that the Mayor Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez, was the one who arranged for the students to be stopped. He was later found guilty and arrested. This whole story has also made international news.

But where was President Peña Nieto during all of this time?

In Mateo Pimentel’s article, “Preying on Mexican Populism“, he brings up the point violence is not new in Mexico. Earlier on, there was a group of individuals who were kidnapped from a club, held for ransom and later murdered. This story did not receive the same about of media coverage as the story on the missing 43 students. He also argues that once the story came out about the missing 43 students, people forgot what Peña Nieto had done in his presidency.

But this is not the first time a group of individuals has gone missing in Mexico, let alone in Latin America as a whole. Media has shaped the violence in these countries as being ordinary, making it seem like “Oh that’s normal”. There is no urgency to find victims, and this is the real problem. It is the system that is letting this keep happening? Or are they the one’s that commit these acts in their own countries – against the people that they were swore in to protect.

The 43 students was just another example. Why won’t it stop? better question, who will stop it?


20th Century Populism

In following of the Mexican Revolution’s 1917 Constitution, Lazaro Cardenas began the country’s move towards populism. Wealth was rising along with stability as he reviewed and continued the plans of Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa. He helped conduct reforms for land sharing, the control of domestic enterprises that included oil and also shutting down other foreign companies and their ownership of Mexican enterprises. He also aimed to divert the Catholic Church’s influence as well as allowing workers to have the right to form a union. He obtained the support from many indigenous groups, unions of teachers as well as middle and lower class workers. He put importance on social equality.

Cardenas stuck by his revolutionary background as he was apart of maintaining his people’s rights.

Through his land reform, he redistributed large amounts of land,that had become commercial hot spots, back to the peasants. This gained the important support from them so he could continue his presidency.  He also had a labor reform for industrial work. This fixed work eight hour days and the right to basically strike if needed. To finalize his need for support, he reached out to the indigenous communities. During the 20th century, there was still the “need” of assimilation for the indigenous groups that were still left. However, Lazaro Cardenas saw that their cultures had some sort of value and created a department to handle problem of just indigenous peoples. This department held national indigenous congresses that brought together different indigenous groups to discuss the issues going on in their communities. Gaining their support sealed the deal to his presidency. He was also know for being in support of women’s rights and suffrage since there was a strong idea of social equality although it was never fully achieved.

As with the rest of the populist leaders in Latin America, he had the charisma and power needed to make a change and gain abundance of followers.