Zapatista uprising

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Zapatista uprising
Part of the Chiapas conflict
Date January 1–12, 1994
(1 week and 4 days)
Location Chiapas, Mexico
Result Ceasefire
Mexico Mexico EZLN
30,000-40,000 (Acc. Government)[1]
60,000-70,000 (Acc. to EZLN)[2]

The Zapatista uprising was a 1994 rebellion in Mexico, coordinated by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in response to the implementation of the NAFTA agreement. After 12 days of fighting a ceasefire was called and peace talks began.[4]


The NAFTA agreement included cancellation of Article 27 of Mexico's constitution, the cornerstone of Emiliano Zapata's revolution of 1910–1919. Under Article 27, Native communal landholdings were protected from sale or privatization. However, this barrier to investment was incompatible with NAFTA. With the removal of Article 27, Native farmers feared the loss of their remaining lands, and also feared cheap imports from the US. Thus, the Zapatistas labelled NAFTA as a "death sentence" to Native communities all over Mexico. Then EZLN declared war on the Mexican state on January 1, 1994, the day NAFTA came into force.[5] During the occupation of the city rebels painted pro-zapatista statements on the walls of buildings.[6]


In many cities including San Cristóbal de las Casas, Altamirano, Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, and Chanal, the Zapatista rebels attacked civic centers such as city hall. Once the rebels had taken the building they would use furniture and other office material to barricade themselves in the building.[7] Hours later the Zapatista rebels abandoned San Cristóbal de las Casas so the Mexican Army may later recapture it.[8] 600 zapatista rebels sacked the town of Altamirano which created an ensuing battle with government forces.[9] In Chanal, the Zapatistas stated the purpose of their uprising; days later the town would be recaptured.[10]


The uprising had attracted worldwide media attention. While human rights organisations emphasized the marginalization of the indigenous population, Riordan Roett (adviser to the Emerging Markets Group of the Chase Manhattan Bank) stated in January 1995:

"While Chiapas, in our opinion, does not pose a fundamental threat to Mexican political stability, it is perceived to be so by many in the investment community. The government will need to eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate their effective control of the national territory and of security policy."[11]

By February the Zapatistas and the government reached an agreement, and sign the San Andrés Accords.

The Zapatista rebels were never totally eliminated and continue to live on to this day, controlling lands in Chiapas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Raúl Benítez Manaut & Rafael Fernández de Castro (2001). México-Centroamérica: desafios a inicios del siglo XXI. Ciudad de México: Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, pp. 49. ISBN 978-968-6729-02-3.
  2. ^ Militarización y guerra sucia en Chiapas
  3. ^ Alex Khasnabish (5 de mayo de 2005) "Zapatista Uprising (1 January 1994)". Globalization & Autonomy Glossary. Universidad McMaster.
  4. ^ "Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 19, 2016. 
  5. ^ Subcomandante Marcos, Ziga Voa! 10 Years of the Zapatista Uprising. AK Press 2004
  6. ^ Miguel Angel Godínez Bravo era el Comandante de la Séptima Región Militar (sureste del país) y Gastón Menchaca Arias el Comandante de la 31a. Zona Militar.
  7. ^ Cuando la guerra entró a San Cristóbal, 1 de enero de 1994
  8. ^ Cuando la guerra entró a San Cristóbal, 3 de enero de 1994
  9. ^ Caminos
  10. ^ Cuando el ejército se acerco a la zona, el 6 de enero de 1994
  11. ^ "Brad Parsons, Mexico: US Bank Orders Hit on Marcos". Retrieved 2013-10-29.