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Tracing A Rebellion In Chiapas, Mexico. The Progress Of A Local Campaign That Has Stimulated The Globe.

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Tracing a rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico. The progress of a local campaign that has stimulated the globe.


This research examines the progress of an organization that is the echo of a rebellious spirit through time. This paper will address the establishment of the Zapatista National Liberation Army. The networks roots lie in a battle between a proletariat class and a powerful regime, the height of which came in January 1994, drawing world wide attention to the state of affairs. The Zapatistas Guerilla Army took control of key locations in the southwest region of Mexico in the state of Chiapas. On the same morning, the North American Free Trade Agreement was being signed. The treaty was expected to increase poverty and restrain of human rights of the indigenous of the area. After a successful campaign of pressing the government out of the region on the battle field, the political field was the next step. This paper has evaluated the progress, over the past decade, of the attempt of indigenous people to develop Non-Government Organizations. These civilian-based factions have disputed that the response of the state to problems, such as poverty, educational access, racial and ethnic discrimination, and lack of human dignity, is deficient. I argue that short term goals have been met, but as time passes the long term goals seem to fall short of what was to be the desired outcome. The lack of political participation in government by those directly and most effected by decisions at hand and the right to equality in economic, social, and political sectors by every civilian was the message received by many across the world as the mass media processed the rebellion. I argue that, despite world wide attention drawn towards the situation, the government has not sufficiently satisfied the grievances of the micro-level political unions. As positive as the growth is recently, there is a long road to be traveled for the now empowered and aware citizen.

A History of Chiapas

Chiapas is state in the southern region of Mexico. Chiapas has the highest concentration, among the states of Mexico, of natural resources. Corn, coffee, and cocoa are among the most abundant of the agricultural products cultivated. Cattle-ranching, hydroelectric power, and timber harvesting, from the Lacandona rainforest, are the largest industries in the expanse. Most significantly, oil reserves in Chiapas are among the most plentiful in Mexico, which makes very clear the Mexican government's obduracy and also the United States attention to the state. Although there is an ample amount of capital and reserves in the state, deficiency in the level of infrastructure in schools, hospitals, and basic services continues to be appalling. Institutional Revolutionary party was the governing political party for the last 65 years before the present day National Action party. The Institutional Revolutionary party is thought to be responsible for the horrid conditions under which residents of Chiapas live. Corruption, simultaneously at the state and national level, as well as the strengthening of large landholders and the guardias blancas is the center of the revolutionary debate. The fact that the district is a stronghold for a sizable amount of Mexican Indians also contributes to the authoritarianism in Chiapas. While modern Mexican nationalism embraces indigenous people nostalgically, policies and development practices have been genocidal for centuries.

Emiliano Zapata

Emiliano Zapata was voted president of the "defense committee", of the village of Anenecuilco, Morelos (Mexico), in September of 1909. This was a longstanding assembly, responsible for defending the community's interests. As president, it was Zapata's duty to communicate and uphold his rural community's rights to the president-dictator of Mexico, Porfirio DÐ"­az, and the governor of Chiapas, Morelos, Pablo EscandÐ"Ñ-n. Throughout the 1880s, sugar cane production in Mexico grew on a large scale. This expansion led to increasing amounts of land being surrendered to the hacienderos . The haciendero's plantations grew while entire villages vanished. Medieros ,populating the land being consumed, and other peasants lost their source of revenue and dignity, or were forced to work on the haciendas . Due to conditionings worsening, in the first weeks of 1911, Zapata began to build his organization in Morelos, preparing and outfitting his soldiers. Now Zapata's company of revolutionaries, on the brink of taking the offensive, were known as Zapatistas. The name Zapata was adopted by many revolutionary groups in Mexico to represent the power of rebellion and the importance of organization and cumulative action by those who were threatened by a supreme regime.

The Basis for a Revolution in Chiapas

Land has been the key issue in the reform process. As a result of the Mexican Revolution, the government addressed the land issue in Article 27 of the Constitution of 1917. It was also an attempt to keep the peasantry under control as well as to win their support. The article, "directs the government to promote conservation, balanced development of the various regions of the country, improvement of living conditions, in rural as well as urban areas, and an equitable distribution of the public wealth." (Baker, 2002, 10). In order to obtain this equitable distribution the article "mandates measures to preserve and restore ecological balance, break up large land holdings, and ensure that all communities are provided with adequate title to surrounding lands and waters, taking care not to infringe on the holdings of small farmers."(Baker, 2002, 10). However, this law has been ignored in the Chiapas. The peasants have continued to be treated as outsiders on their own land. President Salinas took office with the intent of making Mexico a modern, industrialized state. In order to make Mexico attractive to foreign investment, Salinas began the process of reform by first amending Article 27 of the Constitution. A result of this, community land could be divided and either sold or rented. (Lopez, 2005)

The North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations dealt with the agricultural tariffs. These tariffs protected Mexican farmers from cheap U.S. and Canadian grains. It was the realization that North American Free Trade Agreement would eliminate this protection which provided the thrust towards a rebellion by the indigenous population of the Chiapas. The Mayan Indians of the Chiapas relied on this protection in order to continue to sell corn, beans and other products so that they could earn enough



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