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Zapata's Revolution

January 11, 1994

* As a historian of Latin America and more specifically of the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920, I was distressed to find that your coverage of the Chiapas revolton both Jan. 2 and Jan. 3 contained a serious historical error regarding Emiliano Zapata's revolutionary movement, for which the Chiapas movement is named. That is, you imply that Zapata and his followers sought land owned by others. In this you do little more than reproduce the perspective of the actual thieves,the large sugar plantation owners, who during the late 19th Century systematically stole the land of the peasants in Zapata's home state of Morelos. Upon exhausting legal remedies, the peasants mounted a guerrilla war to obtain what was rightfully theirs.

Considering the widespread inability to come to terms with the thought that poor people are--at times--more honest and more democratic than the wealthy, and the related problem with seeing that at times organized poor people manage to change things, as the Zapatistas certainly did, it would be helpful if The Times reflected historical realities more faithfully.

MARJORIE BECKER

Associate Professor of History

USC

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