The nudity of the 400 Pueblos
How peasant farmers unleashed the power of nudity in their struggle for indigenous land rights and justice
In 1970, the 400 Pueblos movement was born in Veracruz, Mexico, when a diverse group of 1,000 peasants from various indigenous communities and political parties embarked on a march from Coatepec to Mexico City, demanding the restoration of their unjustly taken land rights by the government. However, their march was abruptly halted by the military in Tlaxcala, resulting in the arrest of organizers on questionable charges, and their 19 day detention.
The injustice galvanized the movement, which was officially established in Veracruz upon their release, led in large part by organizer César del Ángel Fuentes.1
The 400 Pueblos movement found its roots in the historic 1970 march, and for fifty years, this politically active collective of indigenous communities in Veracruz has not only protested the government's neglect and exploitation of their land and resources, but has done so with the striking and controversial tactic of protesting nude.
But the 400 Pueblos movement didn’t always embrace nudity in their approach to activism. That developed out of desperation, emerging as a winning tactic that would garner global attention to the group’s broader message, and ultimately inspire copycat protests by other activist groups looking to replicate their success.
Over the decades, their struggle has been met with harassment, imprisonment, and political retaliation. But as their leaders faced arrest warrants and their movement has suffered losses, the fate of the 400 Pueblos movement today hangs in the balance.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Planet Nude to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.