THE PEOPLE OF THE
"In today's world, the free market and the withdrawal of state support for the campesinos is a fact. There's no other alternative but to face this reality head on—and to take into our own hands our own destiny."
— Arturo García, leader of the Coalition of
Ejidos of Costa Grande, Guerrero, March 1992.
Mexico is an urbanizing nation but one with an enduring rural core. More than one-quarter of the population still lives and works outside of the cities, and many of those Mexicans who have found jobs in the cities have strong rural roots, returning to their villages for annual festivals, vacations, and family visits. When the struggle for daily survival becomes too difficult in the city, the daughters and sons of the campo often return to their ancestral homes. Although city dwellers now outnumber campesinos, there are today more Mexicans living and working the land than there were at the time of the Mexican Revolution.
The zapatista and villista armies ensured that the postrevolutionary government devoted special attention to the demands of the peasantry. Simply continuing the practice of exploiting peasants and ignoring their demands would have been a recipe for continued political instability that the newly constituted state could not risk. Land reform, although not in the form envisioned by Zapata, was written into the new constitution in