A Revolutionary Idea in Mexico: Don't Have One This Century

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The arrival of 2010 is spurring looks backwards and fears of history repeating itself. That's because in the past two centuries, there have been revolutions in Mexico—both in years ending in 10.

First there was 1810, when an insurgent priest named Miguel Hidalgo gave a nighttime battle cry that sent thousands of Mexicans into the streets to oust the Spaniards. Then came 1910, the year that was supposed to be the government's crowning centennial. Parades were held, banquets given—and within a month, the Mexican Revolution began.

The numerology isn't fringe thinking in Mexico. It's regularly discussed in the nation's biggest newspapers and by politicians. On a recent morning, leading newspaper El Universal awoke its readers with three foreboding opinion columns on the matter: "The Fear of 2010," "The Impending Revolution" and "2010: Third Revolution?"

This kind of talk has become so common that the imagined revolution even has a name already: the estallido social, or the "social explosion." Nearly every day, Mexican politicians can be heard warning darkly of its coming.

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