When the Zapatista army emerged from the mountains and jungle of the previously forgotten Mexican state of Chiapas in the early hours of the 1st January 1994, (the ones without faces, the ones without voices) they stepped directly into the media spotlight, making front page news around the world. With fresh ideas and radical actions, the Zapatista rebellion has highlighted that the Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Tojolobal, Chol and other Mayan ethnic groups of Chiapas experience conditions of extremes of poverty in Mexico. Infant mortality is double the national mortality average. 67% of the population suffers from malnutrition. The year before the Zapatista uprising, roughly 30,000 people in Chiapas died of hunger and diseases related to malnutrition. Today the situation may change with the election of Fox and on the otherside the Pacific Zapatistas in Mexico organized a meeting between Marcos and Fox. Nevertheless, we will try to understand the Zapatistas movement and the need for it.
[...] The neoliberal model equally represents a systematic attack on worker's rights, social and environmental standards and on the functioning of democracy through regional free-trade treaties such as NAFTA, the European Union, APEC (Asia Pacific) and Mercosur (South America). Finally, they highlight the increasing domination over the world of a small group of countries and transnational corporations. Globalisation is indeed the new colonialism. Conclusion In January 1996, the Zapatistas called for an intercontinental meeting "for humanity and against neoliberalism". The response, once again, was overwhelming. [...]
[...] The prison in Altamirano has been stormed and 160 prisoners liberated. From a captured radio station in Ocosingo and from the balcony of the municipal building in San Cristobal de las Casas, the ski-masked guerrillas identify themselves as the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, and read out their Declaration of War - a justification for the armed uprising, and a series of Revolutionary Laws. From this moment, the Zapatistas won access to the international press and communications media, which they have used to wage a parallel war of symbols and words. [...]
[...] Organisation of the EZLN: horizontal and collective decision-making The aim of the EZLN is to avoid the typical top-down nature of previous revolutionary movements, and the singling out of any one "leader". In reality the individualities of the speakers inevitably do come through, as in the best-known case of Subcommandante Marcos, around whom something of a personality cult has grown. In many ways this has been fuelled by the mainstream media who depict him as "the leader" of the Zapatistas. [...]
[...] The organization of the EZLN itself is based on the ideal of collective and democratic decision-making. The Zapatistas communiqués are generally signed by the "Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee - General Command" (CCRI-CG) - a council of indigenous representatives of Zapatista communities elected in popular assemblies covering each region and ethnic group For example, following the first round of negotiations with the government in February 1994, twenty-four tentative agreements were reached, which the EZLN took back to their communities for consultation. [...]
[...] Tear gas made by a US company was used against Zapatista villagers during a military raid of the community of Diez de Abril in April 1998. Mexican graduates of the School of Americas (SOA) in Fort Benning, Georgia (one of the most renowned military schools in the US, famous for its expertise in counter-insurgency techniques) have played a key role in the low intensity war in Chiapas. Between 1991 and 1995, an average of twenty-eight Mexicans attended the courses. In 1996, the number of Mexican graduates soared to 241. [...]
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