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Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858– 1872. Benito Juárez was the first Mexican leader who did not have a military background, and also the first full-blooded indigenous national ever to serve as President of Mexico and to lead a country in the Western Hemisphere. He resisted the French occupation, overthrew the Empire, restored the Republic, and used liberal efforts to modernize the country.

Today Benito Juárez is remembered as being a progressive reformer dedicated to democracy, equal rights for his nation's indigenous peoples, his antipathy toward organized religion, especially the Catholic Church, and what he regarded as defense of national sovereignty. The period of his leadership is known in Mexican history as La Reforma del Norte (The Reform of the North), and constituted a liberal political and social revolution with major institutional consequences: the expropriation of church lands, bringing the army under civilian control, liquidation of peasant communal land holdings, the separation of church and state in public affairs, and also led to the almost-complete disenfranchisement of bishops, priests, nuns and lay brothers.

I found that in the five days that I traveled in Mexico, one could find a statue honoring him, in virtually every village or city. Some refer to him as Mexico's Lincoln. I don't think any group of shots from Mexico would be complete without a picture of one of these statues or memorials.

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Additional Photos by Roger Edgington (edge) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 635 W: 34 N: 1799] (6070)
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