The mayor stated this is an important and momentous day for Mexico, as the country’s Magna Carta was established one hundred years ago and with it the commitment to fight for social reform and rights of workers and laborers, as well as the establishment of governmental legal systems.
“1917 was a critical point in Mexican history, as our Constitution was the first in the world to speak of social rights,” he stated, “Furthermore, the Magna Carta allows us to envision Mexico in the XX century, as well as our present, and the future of our nation.”
On February 5, 1917, Venustiano Carranza, Head of the Constitutionalist Army, presented Mexico’s current constitution at the Theater of the Republic in Queretaro. The constitution went into effect that same year.
The new constitution provided for a labor code that established the right of workers to organize and strike. It also stated that all subsoil minerals, including petroleum and silver, belonged to the people of Mexico. This measure aimed to curb foreign ownership of mineral properties and land and represented a sharp break with Mexico’s past natural resources policies, which had encouraged foreign investment in the nation’s economy. In addition, the constitution prohibited a president from serving consecutive terms, placed severe limitations on the ability of the Roman Catholic Church to own land, and restored communal lands to Native Americans.
Many provisions were, for their day, quite radical. The constitution fostered the development of organized labor in Mexico, severely reduced the role of the Catholic Church in education, and laid the groundwork for the nationalization of Mexico’s petroleum industry in the 1930’s. It also paved the way for the land reforms that would occur from the 1920’s through the 1940’s.
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