Featured in Vallarta Lifestyles Magazine, Summer/Fall 2010 issue.
Commemorating two hundred years since the outbreak of the Creole revolution against Spanish rule and one hundred years since the beginning of the Mexican Revolution, Mexico is celebrating the Bicentenario de la Independencia de Mexico y Centenario de la Revolucion Mexicana throughout 2010. Interestingly, Colombia, Argentina and Venezuela also have their bicentennials this year.
In the early morning hours of September 16, 1810, the insurrection was initiated by a group called “the conspirators of Queretaro.” Among the group’s members, priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla is renowned for calling the people of Dolores, Guanajuato, to action. Included in this speech, known as “el grito de Dolores” or “the cry of Dolores,” he uttered the now famous exhortation “Long live the Virgin of Guadalupe! Down with bad government! Long live Fernando VII!” —referring to Fernando VII of Bourbon, king of Spain from 1808 to 1813.
After the speech, Hidalgo led a group of farmers to the town jail, where they took control and armed themselves before proceeding to Atotonilco el Grande, Hidalgo. They used a banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe as their standard, which is considered the first Mexican flag. But this was just the beginning of the long struggle for Mexican independence, which finally ended in 1821.
Referred to as the most important social event of the 20th century in Mexico, the Mexican Revolution began November 20, 1910, and formally ended in 1917 with the enactment of the 1917 Constitution, the current supreme law of Mexico. Nonetheless, internal strife and armed rebellions continued until the early ‘30s.
The revolution began as a rebellion against the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz, a Oaxacan with an extensive political and military background who remained in power for 33 years. After he resigned and went into exile in France, businessman and politician Francisco I. Madero, who had previously competed against Diaz, was elected.
Both dates will be widely celebrated, some celebrations including unique ceremonies (www.bicentenario.gob.mx). Some related activities already are in effect, including the special peso bills put in circulation by the Banco de Mexico that feature revolutionary troops, camp followers or fragments of the mural “Del Porfirismo a la Revolución” by David Alfaro Siqueiros as the main image. In addition, Mexican television has dedicated time and commercial space to the commemoration of the dates, while social networks have created websites dedicated to various heroes of the armed struggle.
The Puerto Vallarta municipal government has formed a board, chaired by Mayor Salvador Gonzalez Resendiz and directed by Professor Enrique Barrios Limon, to organize festivities related to the bicentennial and centennial. Several of these events were held in the first months of the year, but September will bring some of the most significant tributes to the heroes who wrought Mexican independence. Among the events are the play “La Sombra del Bribon,” a representation of the night of the cry of Dolores presented by the organizers of the Cuale Cultural Festival; the creation of a portfolio of engravings by eight widely recognized artists, the project led by Vallarta artist Ireri Topete; and the presentation of the Ballet de la Independencia, performed by municipal folkloric ballet troupe Xiutla. For a program of events with schedules, call 223-0095.