Magazine topic: 
Life around the world

Mexico: The Zapatista Revolution

by : 
Emma Douty

In the southernmost corner of Mexico, there is a beautiful, bountiful, and extraordinary place that is called Chiapas. One of Mexico’s 31 states, Chiapas is probably the greenest of them all, with so much lush vegetation and stunning landscapes over 74,415 square kilometres of land.

Within this beautiful setting live many different indigenous groups, such as the Tzotzils, Tzeltals, Ch’ol, Zoques, among many more. Chiapas has been their home for centuries and they have kept their culture, traditions, and languages alive despite all the many threats from outside of their communities. The sad fact is that these indigenous groups have suffered such oppression, injustice and racism over the years that their way of life is continuously under threat.

In 1994, a guerrilla group came down from the mountains of Chiapas and announced the beginning of a revolution: the Zapatista revolution. They demanded better rights for the indigenous population, in terms of work, health, education, dignity, and respect. They were tired of the way they had been treated by the Mexican government and society and their message to them was: ‘enough is enough.’

They wanted the world to know their suffering and to help them in their movement. For a while, they were a hot topic in the media and it seemed that everyone was talking about the Zapatistas. They were able to secure meetings and even agreements with government officials, which was promising to begin with, and then it became evident that nothing truly beneficial would come from any of this, as the government had no real intention to fulfil their promises.

So in 2003, the Zapatistas took matters into their own hands and established their own Zapatista communities in parts of Chiapas. Within these, they set up schools for the children, healthcare units, irrigation systems and even their own municipal governments, where members of the community could take turns in the official decision making of their home town. There are a few of these, and they still exist today. It is clear that the intentions of the Zapatistas were good and in the interest of the people’s wellbeing.

But the success of the movement is debatable. These Zapatista communities show that they have done very well in improving their living standards, and they also did well to raise global awareness of these issues. On the other hand, there are many people in Chiapas who disagree with the Zapatista movement or who argue that the way they carry things out is wrong. It seems that there is no serious fighting going on, but there is still tension and uneasiness within the state. What is obvious is that there is still much to be done to bring equality to the people of Chiapas – with or without the assistance of the Zapatistas.

Discussion

What else do you know about Mexico?

Comments

ornela-k's picture
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ornela-k 7 July, 2013 - 12:06

i learn that ``In 1994, a guerrilla group came down from the mountains of Chiapas and announced the beginning of a revolution: the Zapatista revolution. They demanded better rights for the indigenous population, in terms of work, health, education, dignity, and respect. They were tired of the way they had been treated by the Mexican government and society and their message to them was: ‘enough is enough."

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MALINE 8 June, 2013 - 02:37

If architecture is your dream job you should do anything to accomplish it there´s nothing worst that not following your dreams.I think is very kind of you wanting to help weaker people but you always can do that ther´s no need to become a lawyer in order to help people.

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Natalija 2 June, 2013 - 21:44

Hi, Maline,
Tourism is also good job; if you finish that school, you'll travel a lot, know many languages and many cultures. Whatever you choose-tourism or working at school, I'm sure you'll do your job well.
I'm thinking of studying law or architecture. I can't decide between them, because I like both so much. Law allows me to fight for justice and to help innocent people, and I've always had a need to do that-to protect weaker people, and it's family tradition in my family-my grandparents have been lawyers, but on the other hand, architecture is my dream job since I was 10. I've been training ballet since I was 5, and I was thinking of professional ballet, but I don't know. I'm so confused, but I'll make up my mind in a few months, because I'll have to start with the preparation for university.

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MALINE 1 June, 2013 - 20:51

Hi Natalija my name is aline but you don´t pronounce the "e". I recommend you watching the miserables with subtitles in order to practice our english.I´ve watched the princess diaries and The devil wears prada I really like those movies.
And yes Hathaway doesn´t have a big role in the movie but she´s a great actress.
I haven´t read the book of the miserables.
Yes, I want to be an English teacher at an elementary school but I haven´t make up my mind yet.
If I want to become a Teacher I have to go to a especial school for four years,I´m also thinking of studying Tourism.What about you?

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Natalija 25 May, 2013 - 19:03

Hi, Maline:)
Yes, I pronounce the "j", and the accent is on the first "a". Is Maline your real name? I haven't watched The miserables yet, but I'm going to watch it soon, because Ann Hathaway is starring there. She hadn't a big role, but I liked her performance in the film Princess diaries. Have you watched it? I read the book Les miserables by Victor Hugo, and I think it's very good and realistic. What do you think?
If I remembered well, you said you would like to study English, right? I think it's a very good job. Would you like to work as an interpreter or as a teacher at school/university?
<3

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MALINE 25 May, 2013 - 15:09

Hi Natalija, how does your name sound? do you pronounce the "j"?
I like Natalie Portman and Patrick Swayze, too. And I agree with you i like dirty dancing an the Black swan.Have you watched the miserables?
Sara Maldonado just plays in one episode,she´s the girlfriend of a drug dealer and she has a sad end.
The "series" that you talk about like Rubi and La Madrastra in fact are "telenovelas" or soap operas like foreign people call them.
I watched RBD it was broadcasted like six years ago,I don´t listen to them,but now the character of "lupita" has become an actress and she has done like three telenovelas.
Anahi also did a telenovela and she keeps singing,Christian is involve in a legal problem with his former husband.

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Natalija 25 May, 2013 - 09:57

Hi, Maline:)
Well, I changed my name because it's much easier for others to call me Natalija(my real name) than to always write Something nice:). I watch comedies sometimes, but my favourite films are romantic ones and thrillers sometimes. I like Audrey Hepburn, Carry Grant, Natalie Wood, Grace Kelly, Natalie Portman,Patrick Swayze etc. My favourite films are Breakfast at Tiffany's, Funny face, The black swan and The dirty dancing.
No, I haven't watched Capadocia yet, but I heard that Sara Maldonado plays there, and she's my favourite Mexican actress, so talented, charismatic and gorgeous. I heard for many Mexican series, as I said, they're very popular in my country, and thee're at least 5 of them at TV. I watched Aurora and Tormenta en el paraiso with Sara Maldonado, Rubi, and La Madrastra with Victoria Ruffo, an excellent actress, and my favourite is RBD(Rebelde) and I watched it twice, it's awesome. I like Anahi so much, her songs are great, and I'm sorrry that RBD split up:(. But I'm still listening to their songs, and my favourite song by Rebelde is Que hay detras. Do you listen to RBD?
<3

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Student11 25 May, 2013 - 21:59

Hello Natalija,

are you interested in Political Science, Sociology, so on? What´s your opinion about Zoran Đinđić?

I have another question for you. How is teaching of Yugoslavia at schools and at universities?

Bye,
Richard

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Natalija 27 May, 2013 - 21:07

Hi, Richard,
Yes, I'm very interested in political science, and I even wanted to study it at university for a while, but I changed my mind:). I was little when Zoran Đinđić was active on political scene(I was about 6 when he was murdered), so I didn't have time to get to know very much about his politics, but as I know, he was a great person-generous, kind, and he did many good thins for Serbia, and he'd do much more, but criminals killed him:(. In my opinion, he was one of the best Serbian politicians ever. He was keen on political reforms, and he appreciated the West politics, so that's the main reason for his murder. Almost everyone is Serbia appreciated him, so do I.
Well, Yugoslavia split up many years ago, but schools and universities in every ex-Yugoslavia's country have many things in common. Our school system is quite good, but I think we lack some modern methods of studying, and that's the thing I'd like to change. We study very much and hard, but in the most of cases, we don't focus on quality, but on quantity.We even study some irrelevant things. As you probably know, Serbia isn't a very rich country, so that's maybe one of the reasons why schools aren't as organised as those at Western Europe or in the USA. Students're not content about this system, and they complain a lot, because we don't have so much chances for progress, and we lack the best conditions for work, and we're somehow lagging behind some other developed counties. Many students, including myself, decide to go and study abroad, and they'll probably never come back, because the conditions Serbia often simply aren't good enough. That's a pity, because we're losing great scientists, artists and valuable people. You've probably heard for Nikola Tesla. He was the greatest scientist of his time, and he moved to America, because Serbia didn't offer him anything. He studied there, and thanks to the conditions America offered him, he managed to achieve many great accomplishments. But on the other hand, Serbia's education is very good, because we can get deep knowledge of many subjects, and Serbian students are one of the best abroad, and many of them study at Oxford, Cambridge, Yale etc.
What's your opinion about your country's political situation and school system?

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MALINE 25 May, 2013 - 02:39

Hello,Natalija why did you change your name? ;-)
I love comedy films my favourites actors are Adam Sandler,Jack Black,Drew Barrymore. I like 50 first dates
I have only watched "Capadocia" Have you watched it? , wich others series have you heard about?
What about you?

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Student11 19 May, 2013 - 20:53

Wow, I`m fascinated with Chiapas. I have not heard anything about this community.

Congratulations Maline, the literature and History of México are very interesting. Please you don´t let it into oblivion.

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MALINE 19 May, 2013 - 17:12

Hi,s.n. :)
I don´t like alcohol either but you can put them in dishes like "mixiotes"( veal marinated with "achiote") and you cook them in a steamer,but as you´re vegetarian you´ll probably never try it. What vegetables do you eat,do you eat tofu and soya?
I like listening to Adele,Katy Perry,Keisha but my favourite is Michael Jackson.

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Natalija 20 May, 2013 - 13:03

Hi, Maline:)
I eat almost every kind of vegetables, and I like carrot and cucumber the best. I don't eat tofu and soya, but I tried tofu once, it's very popular in Asia's countries.
We have almost the same musical taste, I like Katy Perry and Keisha too, and I also like listening to Miley Cyrus, Jessie J, Kate Nash, Lily Allen etc.
What kinds of films do you usually watch? Do you like watching Mexican TV series? They're very popular in Serbia, but I didn't watch many of them.

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Natalija 18 May, 2013 - 15:09

Hello, Maline:)
Proja isn't a dessert, it's usually eaten for breakfast and for dinner, it's kind of pastry. I haven't tried tequila and mezcal, but I heard about it, especially about tequila, it's very famous. I don't like alcoholic drinks, so I'll probably never try it:). I'm 16 years old, 17 in a month. So, we're almost coevals:). What kind of music do you like listening?

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MALINE 18 May, 2013 - 02:47

hello something nice thanks for answering my questions,proja sounds delicious, is it a dessert?
I don´t like coffee i´ts very strong for me I prefer sweet things.
Here in México a famous drink is "tequila" and "mezcal" have you tried them?
I´m 17

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Natalija 13 May, 2013 - 16:55

Hey, Maline:)
Serbian cuisine is very versatile, we have plenty of dishes, but it's too heavy for my taste. Serbians eat meals made from meat the most, and since I'm a vegetarian, I can't eat it. For example, sarma is the symbol of Serbian cuisine. It's made from meat and cabbage leaves, but you can add rice if you want.
People prepare it for every celebration, and there's no person who haven't tried it. Proja is also one of our traditional dishes, it's made from flour and cheese, and we usually eat it with yogurt. My grandmother prepare it very often.
Ajvar is also one of the signs of Serbia, it's called Serbian salad, and it's made from red bell papers and with chilly papers. The best ajvar is produced domestically, but it can also be found in the markets. My grandmother makes it every year. It can be consumed as a bread spread or as addition to meals.
The most popular beverage is our traditional rakija. It's Serbian alcoholic drink and it's prepared by ethanol fermentation. There're many kinds of rakija, but sljivovica is the most popular, and it's made from plum, Serbian fruit. The black coffee is also very popular, and vine. Vine is produced in the Northern Serbia the most.
How old are you?
<3

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MALINE 12 May, 2013 - 23:39

hi something nice cuold you tell me a traditional dish in Serbia and a beverage?

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Natalija 11 May, 2013 - 20:36

Hi, Maline
Thanks for your reply. I've never been in Oaxaca before, but I heard for tlayudas. My favourite meal is salmon with plenty of vegetables. It's easy and fast to prepare, and above anything, it's so healthy and delicious.
<3

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MALINE 11 May, 2013 - 02:10

That´s a tough question for me to answer,I have lots of favourite dishes one are the "tlayudas" from Oaxaca have you ever been there?,it´s a huge tortilla wich has on top "asiento" (it´s like butter but salty and it´s brown and it´s delicious) then you put "cecina" (pork meat marinade with chili and other spices) and some avocado slices and finally you ad the "salsa" (tomatoes,chili,onion,salt),I preffer red salsa and an horchata water and you´re reday to have a meal that you will never forget.

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Natalija 9 May, 2013 - 19:00

Hi, Maline
Thanks for your reply:) I haven't tried mole yet, and I don't like spicy food, but Mexican kitchen is very interesting for me, especially tortillas.
What's your favourite Mexican dish?
<3

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MALINE 5 May, 2013 - 16:39

Yes something nice we go to cemeteries on November the first and November the second to share food with all our passed away people and we preparate them theri favourite meal like for example my grandfather´s favourite dish was mole Have you tried it? Maybe not because it´s spicy and many foreign people think it´s a strong flavor,anyway we bake a bread called "pan de muertos",it´s a round shaped bread wit sugar and stripes on it and it has orange,anis,butter and water it´s very delicious.
P.S. on 1 November we go to cemeteries to share the food with our passed away children an on 2 November for de adults.

Sorry if I didn´t answer you before but i hadn´t seen your question.

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Natalija 22 March, 2013 - 14:39

Maline, I heard that people in Mexico celebrate Day of dead people and for that occasion, they go to cemetery in the evening and eat food and have a kind of celebration. Is that true?

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Natalija 22 March, 2013 - 14:35

I know a lot about Mexico. I was in Acapulco once, and it was great. Mexicans are very hospitable people, outgoing and very interesting. You'll never feel bored in Mexico, there you can find a great entertainment. People are always smiling and it's very pleasantly there. I tried their food, it's delicious, but too spicy for my taste. Anyway, I am looking forward to visiting it again.
Maline, I see you love your country very much. Nice to hear that;). I have drunk agua de horchata and I like it.

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dona cenja 1 March, 2013 - 04:09

I love Mexico because is a wonderful country with a big culture.Ilike too their language and the clothes that they were......

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MALINE 24 February, 2013 - 18:29

But not eveything is that bad we are good people and I love my country, it has everything you can dream of beaches,forests,jungles and many differents animals but which I love the most is the food and you can find differents type of dishes through the Country.
My favorite dish is "cecina enchilada" and my favourite drink " agua de horchata"

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MALINE 24 February, 2013 - 18:21

Lots of indigenous have suffered through the years abuse and opression and this doesn´t seems to change any time near and it´s a shame that this still happens when they have so much to teach us like ancestrals medicines that they have been using along decades.

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nera 13 December, 2012 - 19:02

I think i know what we all know,you know big hats from Maxico.....and that is all....poor education about Maxico...

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