Jan 1st 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect. This led to an indigenous Military group known as the Zapatistas or EZLN declaring war on the Mexican Government. The Zapatistas claimed that NAFTA meant death to the indigenous people of Chiapas. This Indigenous led rebellion marked the first armed conflict within the country since Mexico's revolution in 1910. And the first leftist rebellion since the fall of Communism.
Leader and primary spokesman of the Zapatista Army
- Earned Degrees from prestigious Mexican University UNAM in Sociology and Philosophy
- Real Identity: Rafael Sebastian Guillen
- Was College Professor prior to joining the Zapatistas
- Author of multiple books on human rights
- Participated in Anti-Goverment movements in Nicaragua and El Salvador
In the following weeks, dialogues for peace between the EZLN and the federal government are held and moderated by the catholic Church.
Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia played a key role in the peace negotiations. He was later nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in the aftermath of the Zapatista rebellion.
- Establishment of an autonomous government within Mexico. With the cornerstone being basic human rights, liberty, justice and dignity.
- Establishment of Zapatista school systems, known as Mayan schools of dignity. That teach both their native language and Spanish
- Womens empowerment. Women are required to have 50% of positions of authority within their government
- Community based health systems
- Sustainable Agriculture and land to farm
- Conservation of their way of life, language, culture and traditions
The band Rage Against the Machine has been used as a tool to spread the ideas and raise awareness to the movement. Songs like "People of The Sun" and "Killing in the Name of" have been messages of justice and political activism in support of the Zapatistas.
Zach De La Rocha
- Lead singer of rage against the machine
- His father was a Mexican-American muralist in Los Angeles
- His grandfather participated in the Mexican revolution
- Zach earned a PH. D in Anthropology from the University of Irvine