Author recalls the “Mayan, Socialist and Feminist Revolution” that took place in Yucatan

Armando Bartra highlights the importance of the movement in his biography of Carrillo Puerto. Photo: (La Jornada Maya)

Mèrida, Yuc.atan (April 29, 2021).- The revolution in Yucatán, at the beginning of the 20th century, was “Mayan, socialist and feminist.” It is important to know it, because it is unparalleled in Mexico, and it can be done through the narrative biography Suku’un Felipe: Felipe Carrillo Puerto and the Mayan Revolution of Yucatán, explains its author, the sociologist Armando Bartra.

In an interview about the book published by the Fondo de Cultura Económica, Bartra argues that “the revolution in the southeast, particularly in the Yucatan peninsula, illuminated realities, possibilities, and utopias that did not exist in another part of the country. 

“Turning to look at southeast Mexico is not doing us a favor. It is not a minor matter: it is major issue”, Bartra said.

Armando Bartra refers that it has been “a historical process to which much less attention has been paid in the history of Mexico in the recent 100 years because apparently, the Revolution took place in the North and in Central Mexico. There are a series of reasons why the opacity of the Mexican southeast remains, especially in this period ”.

He affirms that “it is necessary to look towards the southeast, not so as not to forget, but because it is not marginal or irrelevant; Nor is that revolution an imported product. It is as deep, as complex, rich, radical, and visionary as the revolution in the center of the Zapatismo, the one in northern Mexico with Pancho Villa in the state of Chihuahua, or the part of the Revolution that took place in Michoacán, later, with Primo Tapia ”.

The professor also explains that “Felipe Carrillo Puerto is an extraordinary character. We should be speaking of the Carillismo in the same way everybody talks about the Zapatistas because, in terms of revolution with a deep sense of indigenous liberation, Felipe Carrillo Puerto is one the most illustrious characters in Mexican history”.

“If it is not unconstitutional, you can do it”

“With Emiliano Zapata, the discourse in terms of claiming the original condition for the Nahuas, whose language he did not speak, was not very clear. While Carrillo Puerto is extremely clear in claiming the autonomic and territorial rights of the Maya people, even though it was not his origin, Carrillo Puerto was a tall white man with green eyes; he spoke the Maya language from a very young age, and his political speeches were given in that language,” Armando Bartra declared.

“The indigenous dimension of the Mexican Revolution is much clearer in Yucatan and in the peninsula in general in a person like Felipe Carrillo Puerto and in a party like the Southeast Socialist Party, than in any other part of the country,” says Bartra.

Another characteristic of the revolution in the state of Yucatan is Feminism. The vindication of women’s rights, the recognition that oppression is not only class-based. The rich oppressed the poor, the Creoles, the Maya, and also the men oppressed women. This was a reality of the Yucatecan oligarchic society and of the indigenous communities,” the author continued.

Armando Bartra refers that women in Yucatán “vindicated their rights and did so brilliantly in congresses, in demands for political rights, held elected positions when they were not expressly authorized yet, fought for their sexual and reproductive rights, and created their own organizations. “Yucatecan socialism is ahead of the rest of the left throughout the country in these ideas,” the expert added

“In the second decade of the 20th century, women in Yucatán were voted and held popularly elected positions. The argument was that the Constitution does not say that we can vote and be voted, but it does not prohibit it. If it does not do so then we can exercise that right and we are going to do so because it is not unconstitutional. They were representatives and mayors,” he said.

Bartra highlights a woman in the biography: Elvia Carrillo Puerto, “La Monja Roja del Mayab“ (The Red Nun of the Mayab), a radical feminist who shone not only in Yucatán but in the whole Mexican Republic, she moved throughout the country and even in Latin America. She started organizing women in Motul before Felipe was a visible political figure.

The most radical phase of the revolution in Yucatán goes from 1917 to 1923. WhenFelipe Carrillo Puerto was governor, during this time, the first socialist government in America came to light, and we’re talking about Mayan socialist. Carrillo Puerto was obviously infuenced by the Russian revolution that started in 1917 ”, continued the anthropologist,

Armando Bartra concluded: “two sister revolutions in peripheral countries, large and peasant; popular and rather prolonged revolutions. Carrillo Puerto corresponded with Lenin and arranged to send food and medicine shipments to revolutionary Russia. There was a political exchange, and mutual learning”.

Source: La Jornada Maya