In the smooth-stone square before the Cathedral of San Cristobal, beneath snarls of pigeons drifting like grey clouds of smoke and a roof of tarps luffing softly in the wind, the people of Nicolas Ruiz–a remote farming village in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico–have gathered to demand land, reparations, and justice for crimes committed against them.
As Tzotzil speaking indigenous Mayans, they are but one of many groups of Chiapas’ “dezplazados” (displaced) who’ve been forced over the years to leave their home following threats and invasions by armed intruders.
In the months following the political earthquake caused by the landslide July 1 victory in the Mexican presidential election of center-left populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, also known as “AMLO,” the Spanish world’s most-populous country has been electrified by levels of hope unseen in nearly two decades. After the last six years of deepening violence and corruption under President Enrique Peña Nieto- the establishment-scion of whose very party was the one scrapped 18 years ago- many exhausted Mexicans are now anxiously waiting to see whether, following his Dec. 1 inauguration, the maverick López Obrador can follow through on his sweeping campaign promises to purge corruption and gear down theblood-drenched war on drugs.
Compared to Hugo Chavezas frequently as he is to Donald Trump, the wildly popular AMLO, as a candidate, was singular in his power to draw massive crowds and generate voter excitement in a time when faith in national politics has descended to abysmal lows. Now that he’s secured the presidency, some have even suggested that a “New Revolution”is underway in the United States’ southern neighbor.