CHIAPAS, MEXICO. - The Mexican government announced yesterday a broad and comprehensive program to fight hunger which millions of people suffer from, and seeks to overcome one of the most serious social dramas of the second largest Latin American economy.
"One in four Mexicans face some degree of food shortage," said Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who also announced the National Campaign against Hunger in the in the municipality of Las Margaritas, located in the southeastern state of Chiapas.
Peña Nieto chose the municipality of Las Margaritas, because in 1994 this is where the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) staged an armed struggle that lasted for twelve days, and has now become a political movement that will most likely stir the conscience of the entire country.
Official data indicates that Mexico, Latin America's second largest economy after Brazil, has 46.2% (52 million people) of its population living below the poverty line.
"This is one of the initiatives with greater social Government content, as well as the ethical obligation we have with all of society," the president said.
"Overcoming Extreme Poverty is our greatest ethical obligation," he added.
The first stage of this program will focus on 400 municipalities with high levels of extreme poverty and food shortages.
"Food is a universally recognized human right established in our Constitution in Article 4. However, is a right that has not been fully fulfilled among all Mexicans," said the president.
The crusade launched by Peña Nieto is a strategy that addresses not only the most urgent food needs, but to ensure future food production. "This is not only about distributing food," insisted the president.
In front of 10,000 attendees at the event, Peña Nieto described this situation as "pitiful, unfortunate and painful" that Mexicans in Chiapas are starving.
A few hours before the program was announced, the leader of the EZLN, "Subcomandante Marcos", reiterated in a statement his usual criticism of the political class and Mexican rulers.
In his message entitled "them and us," Marcos said, "Power is not only exercised with impunity, but also and above all, irrationally.
Having the power to do and undo is no reason to have more than the possession of power."
Enrique Peña Nieto is the only president to visit this region of Chiapas in the last 12 years.