C o n c l u s i o n
The Jaramillista Legacy
When President Carlos Salinas de Gortari came to power in 1988, he
implemented a series of market-oriented reforms that required changing
the Mexican Constitution. Undertaken as part of the neoliberal project
that would later culminate in the North American Free Trade Agreement
(nafta) signed by Mexico, the United States, and Canada, and due to go
into effect on January 1, 1994, one of the most drastic measures was the
dismantling of Article 27. This article, one of the Zapatistas’ most impor-
tant achievements, protected campesinos’ right to land. Salinas’s changes
not only decreed the privatization of collectively held lands but also de-
clared all pending land petitions null and void. As if to add insult to injury,
the president proclaimed Zapata his personal hero, featuring the agrarian
leader in the backdrop of many of his speeches and naming his son “Emil-
iano” and his personal jet “Zapata.” His appropriation of Zapata fooled only
those who believed that land privatization equaled modernization. Sali­
nas’s  neoliberal reforms had a devastating effect on the social well-being of
the general population and were characterized by a level of corruption that
later made it necessary for the state to bail out some of the very sectors it
had auctioned off. Salinas ended his term in disgrace and virtually had to
go into exile.
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