Friday, June 11, 2010


So, on Monday morning I will be leaving for 12 days in Nicaragua. I am super excited for this and I can't wait to get some more pictures and to volunteer down there.
I will be landing in Managua and working with a company called Interfaith Service in Latin America (ISLA). A program that I found through my college, St Olaf. We will be traveling around that area of Nicaragua incuding Managua and Jalapa. I am very excited, as I have said, and I look forward to the experience.
Hopefully there will be some Skype and internet so that I can update not only this, but also so I can talk to my friends and family back at home, which is something that I did not do while I was in Mexico, but it would be very nice.
I will update with information when I can so that I don't forget what I have learned. I am working now so that I can afford to go back to school at the end of the summer and then I can save up for my own house or for another trip!!
I fly out of O'Hare at 5:55 am on Monday (not the best time for a flight since I have to get there early plus get through immigration).

Alright, ttyl <3

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Let's Go Back - Who is Emiliano Zapata?

The Zapatistas got the name from the 1910 leader of the Mexican Revolution, Emiliano Zapata. He directly revolted against the ruler of the time, Proferio Diaz. Emiliano Zapata grew up in the small town of Anenecuilco, in the state of Morelos, Mexico, where his family raised cattle, and like their neighbors “they too lacked their own crop land and had to rent an unirrigated [sic] plot…[yet] the Zapata’s had their own house and were better off than [others].”[1] Zapata grew up in a placid and calm town; by the age of twenty he was about to take over as the head of his household after his older brother, Eufemino, went off and started his own family and his father died. At the age of thirty, Zapata took his first step in becoming a political activist by signing a petition, stating the living conditions of the people verses the landowners, along with 32 other men of his village. The petition was sent to Proferio Diaz, in support of his rival (or the man who would be running against him in the upcoming election), Patricio Leyva, as governor of the state of Morales. While it turned out that Leyva was only using the people as his footstool in order to gain control, he still promised many things to the masses in the small villages that they did not end up getting. This being one of Zapata’s first encounters with the government of Mexico and the way the politicians were, did not leave a good impression on the man.
In 1910, Emiliano was elected as the leader of his small town of Anencuilco. His first occupation was of the land that had been rented to his village by the neighboring hospital. Having seen some of the landowners set fire to part of a village because the villagers had not been able to pay their rent, it did not take much more convincing to get people to go along with him. After having to “cut through a bureaucratic red tape, [they were] repeatedly rebuffed by the hacendado[2] and state officials…[Zapata and his followers] began to farm [the land they had gained] with their rifles ready.”[3] Wile they were farming, a message concerning the occupation was sent to president Proferio Diaz, who ended up giving them the rights to the land. Even with this grant, there was the issue of Article 3, which stated that the government would take back the “immorally acquired” land and return it to the “original owners.”[4] While meeting with other leaders of nearby villages in March of 1911, they all “decided to join the Madero Rebellion” against the government and its injustice[5]. When the government officers shot the leader of the revolutionary movement of the south, Torres Burgos, Zapata took over and became “Supreme Chief of the Revolutionary Movement of the South.”[6] This shooting gave the people of the south another reason to rebel, Zapata gathered up the able people of the surrounding villages and the revolution began.
Even though Zapata lived almost one hundred years ago, his legacy still lives on in the hearts of those in southern Mexico, and it is easy for a person to understand why a revolution like the one in 1910 was just as important as the one that is going on today in Mexico. While the current revolution does not take place in the state of Morales, Chiapas is a state in the same shape Morales used to be. Even though Chiapas has one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, it is also “a place where violence and protected crime thrive.”[8] It is unclear whether this crime originates from the government or the Zapatistas themselves for this violence, even though the source may be biased, there is no region that is without some violence.

Paul Hart, Bitter Harvest: The Social Transformation of Morales, Mexico and the Origin of the Zapatista Revolution, 1840-1910 (Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 2005), 187-188.

[2] People who run a housing development (or a plot of land)
[3] Hart 193-194.
[4-6] Hart 194.
[7-8] Subcomandante Marcos, "Prologue," in Our Word is Out Weapon, xxi (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2001).

Start Again

Ok, sorry I haven't been updating at all or doing anything. Life happens.

However, as I said at the beginning of this blog, I put all my information from my project on Zapatistas into a paper.  The paper ended up being 16 pages long, after I cut out quite a bit and had to rearrange everything to fit just right. I got a 90% on the paper, which is not bad at all. So thanks for that Mr. Zarwell!!

I hope that I can now continue with some study even if it isn't always about Mexico and the Zapatas. There are so many interesting things that are going on in today's world that it is getting hard to keep up with all of them!

This up coming year I will be heading off to college, at St Olaf in Minnesota. There I plan on studying Spanish and psychology, until something else catches my eye. :P Anyways, I al also part of a class/group called American Conversations. This class goes over current American happenings as well as discussing what it really means to be an American. Laugh all you want, but this is going to be a fun year!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Not Just In Mexico

Parts of the Zapatista movement and their symbols have carried on throughout the world and have been used by the people there. For example, during the 1999 revolt in Seattle, Washington against the World Trade Organization (WTO), along with carrying signs for the Zapatistas and their cause in Mexico, the protesters used bandanas over their faces in order to escape the tear gas. During the past two days, our history class has watched a documentary called "This Is What Democracy Looks Like", an entire documentary on the riots in Seattle and what happened there according to the protesters.

There is also the use of simply Zapata in several movies, one being Ocean’s Thirteen (one of my personal favorites), a story about a group of thirteen people who plan on robbing a casino and ruining the owner’s life. Part of this story takes place in Mexico, where the dice used in the casino are made. The workers there start a protest to raise their wages up 5% to $3.50 a week. The group decides that they can just easily write out a check for the $36,000 that would be required to increase the salary of all the workers. While this does not impact the plan that they crew is going through, it still sticks out to show that because they could simply write a check for that amount of money, that Mexico should not be has helpless as it seems, and that foreign help would be appreciated and would be used as it should be used.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Problems in the South

There are many times in which the issue of Mexico ends up connecting with the issues in the United States. For example, when it comes to illegal immagrants, drugs, violence, political unrest causing people to flee, Mexican military actions, as well as the problems that have developed between the government and its people.

When the issue of Mexico comes up in political terms, most people tend to consider the issue about the illegal immagrants who now make their homes in the United States, when in the view of many, they have no right to be there. People go so far as to say that they are the reasons why the crime rate in the Untied States went up so much, and that the unemployment issue has to do with this. While this may be true, the problem would have a better chance of being solved if people would stop complaining and would instead help with the problem and try to find a way of getting through this without killing more people than is absolutely necessary.

Yet, not all of Mexico's problems have to do with immigrants, there are also, just like any other place in the world, the problems of drugs and violence. The drug and crime rate in Mexico may not be going up drastically, but it is still not going down by any stretch. Looking at the problem of poverty in the states of Mexico, there is to problem that many see as being what one might call in a state of emergency. There are peole who are living out of tarps everywhere or who don't have homes at all, but this is not what the rest of the word focuses on.

What do we focus on?
Why is it not what seems to be more important to us?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Is the Zapatista Movement Achieving its Goals?

While many eyes have been on the Zapatista movement against the government, what people aren't noticing is what they are actually fighting for: the citizens of the poorest state in Mexico. What has been expressed by many is that they people are struggling more now than they have ever before. For many of these southern families, living now is not any easier than it was before the 1994 Zapatista uprising. In fact, many former Zapatista supporters are beginning to accept help from the government, which they had formerly been fighting against. Since people are only willing to pay a certain amount of money per object, which causes the provider to only recieve an even smaller amount. The Mexican government came in and started to offer money to the farmers in order to allow them to better educate their children and to build houses that will be able to hold the number of occupants that are needed to be held. Because of this, many people have gone against the Zapatista movement and are doing better than they had been doing before.

Why is the government suddenly helping the citizens? Is it because of the Zapatista movement that they are helping others?

Sunday, February 22, 2009


During our Global Studies class we we given a book, Safe Area Gorazde to read over the span of a week. Even though reading is something that has proven not to be difficult for anyone in the class, this book was different. When we read this book, the reality of what has been happening in this world without us knowing really started to sink in.

As Dorctor Alija Begovic, the director of Gorazde's hospital stated "I can't understand why the rest of the world hadn't intervened more forcefully. The U.N. is always pointing out its neutrality, even now." This "now" that Dr. Begovic talks about is the early 1990s. From the years 1992-1995, the Muslims of the country Sarajevo had been brutally attacked by the Serbs, many of whom used to live there. The people who manage to get out of Sarajevo end up in Gorazde, a place that is full of refugees and injured people.

The images from this war and these attacks are truely some of the most grusome pictures that anyone has seen. The hospitals were opperating without any anesthetics, without enough bandages, and without much help from experienced nurses or doctors, and no surgens. Dr Begovic said that the first leg he had removed was done with a kitchen knife after giving his patient little morphine and some brandy. There are children who are being killed without any reason, other than the fact that they are not Surbian.

This is an issue that needs to be known through out the world, but isn't. Something that went on without anyone doing anything, the country recieved little foreign aid.

Is this the kind of world that we live in?