Essay Local Successes and National Failures of the EZLN Today

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Local Successes and National Failures of the EZLN Today On January 1, 2004, over one thousand people in the mountain hamlet of Oventic, Chiapas, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) rebellion with song and dance. It seems a fitting time to take stock of the successes and failures of the Zapatista movement in the context of its original goals. The success of the establishment of thirty eight autonomous indigenous communities in Chiapas is overshadowed by government’s refusal to permit similar autonomous regions outside Chiapas. Moreover, the Zapatistas have failed to have a tangible effect on national economic policies. In the following pages, we will explore those factors which made the…show more content…
As of December, 2003, the EZLN had established 38 autonomous municipalities which “have constructed a series of schools, clinics and co-ops that fill the openings created by the rebels’ refusal to take money from the mal gobierno (bad government).” In addition, the Zapatistas have created five organizational centers (caracoles) and established Juntas of Good Government in each of them in order to “resolve conflicts and disequilibrium between the centers and the outlying autonomies.” The caracoles mark the EZLN’s first success with regional, as opposed to municipal, autonomy. These Zapatista achievements can be attributed to the local terrain of Chiapas, the legal restraints of legislation, as well as local and national scrutiny. The Mexican government faced legal and practical restraints from launching an all-out war on the Zapatistas. After a government counter-attack in 1995, the federal congress passed a “law for dialogue.” This foreclosed the option of a unilateral show of force by the Mexican army in areas under Zapatista control. Moreover, this legislation catalyzed the signing of the San Andrés Accords by the EZLN and the Zedillo government. The inaccessibility of the jungles of Chiapas and the San Andrés Accords made overt military action politically and tactically unviable. In addition, the EZLN’s national popularity and visibility guaranteed their survival. Though the Mexican government maintained a virtual monopoly of the press, Marcos

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