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After outlining Mexican history from Independence in 1821 through Juárez Reformation and the Porfiriato [Porfirio Díaz regime], Diego Rivera asks why a day of national mourning should be observed on November 20th, the symbolic first day of the Revolution of 1910. He replies: simply because the Revolution was betrayed. Nearly two million peasants and workers died for the glorious, failed Revolution, which is why he calls for the flag to be flown at half-mast on November 20th. The Revolution, and its highs and lows, is still happening; there was a high point during the administration of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–40) when land was returned to the peasants and the proletariat endorsed his policies. In Rivera’s opinion there is only one party, the one where true patriots gather: the PCM, Partido Comunista Mexicano will raise the flag on a future November20th.  


In early 1954, Diego Rivera (1886–1957) wrote that the Revolution had been a failure; his was not, however, the first such opinion. As early as 1947, Daniel Cosío Villegas had warned of a rightward tilt in post-revolutionary governments since the regimes of Manuel Ávila Camacho (1940–46) and the Miguel Alemán Valdés (1946–52). During these two administrations, the percentage of the national budget devoted to education and health dropped considerably. In fact, all that remained of post-revolutionary proposals was the Revolution’s discourse painted on the walls. It is strange that Rivera should reach back to the early nineteenth century to identify the good and the bad people in history, rather than referring explicitly to the present. 

Esther Acevedo : Dirección de Estudios Históricos, INAH / CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
D.R. © 2011 Banco de México, “Fiduciario” en el Fideicomiso relativo a los Museos Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo. Av. Cinco de Mayo No. 2, Col. Centro, Del. Cuauhtémoc 06059, México, D.F.
Biblioteca Justino Fernández del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México