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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Mexico's Zapatista Movement Strengthens Its Base of Support on...
10 Jan 2004
Modified: 06:10:59 AM
...10th Anniversary of Chiapas Rebellion. Interview with Tom Hansen, Mexico Solidarity Network, conducted by Between the Lines' Melinda Tuhus
Mexico's Zapatista Movement Strengthens Its Base of Support on 10th Anniversary of Chiapas Rebellion

Interview with Tom Hansen, Mexico Solidarity Network, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

On Jan. 1, 1994 an indigenous group in Mexico's poorest state of Chiapas, calling itself the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, or EZLN, declared war on the Mexican government by demanding cultural and economic autonomy. The declaration was tied to generations of bigotry against the indigenous population and the implementation of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, which the Zapatistas opposed, predicting its neoliberal policies would further impoverish Mexico's peasants.

Over the last decade, the Zapatista military's chief spokesperson, subcommandante Marcos, has captured the imagination and respect of many in Latin America for his thoughtful essays and poetry linking the struggle of the dispossessed in Mexico, with those of other indigenous and impoverished peoples across the world.

After years of military skirmishes, the EZLN and the Mexican government worked to resolve their differences through negotiations, resulting in a document known as the San Andres accords. This agreement signed by the Zapatistas and the government, would have conferred a degree of autonomy on indigenous communities in Chiapas. But the government of President Vicente Fox and the federal legislature refused to ratify the accord. Violence against indigenous campesinos and Zapatista activists, at the hands of paramilitary groups linked with the Mexican military has continued, including the 1997 massacre of 45 peasants in the town of Acteal, Chiapas.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Tom Hansen, coordinator of the Mexico Solidarity Network, who talks about the changes both NAFTA and the Zapatistas have wrought in Chiapas in the last ten years, and the struggles that lie ahead.

For more information, call the Mexico Solidarity Network at (773) 583-7728 or visit the group's website at

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
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©2003 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.

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