Physical Geographies Mountainous— –steep slopes put arable land at a premium –Generates ¼ of Mexico’s electricity Forested Oil –15 bbls (comp. US 22; Caspian Sea region 17-33; Iraq 115; Saudi Arabia 262 bbls) –30% of Mexico budget –Most goes to US Relative location –Distance from the capital (and the border w/US) –Next to Guatemala
Historicize Zapatista uprising Use geography to explain the conflict –Conflicts over natural resource use –Looking at different scales Local Regional National International “jumping scales” Objective of this lecture
Early Antecedents Colonization, independence and revolution –Loss of land under colonization –Porfiriato: President Porfirio Diaz –Mexican Revolution: Rebel Carranza’s base –1950’s: Mexican Government begins to sell leases to US/Mexican timber companies 1960’s in the Lacandon forest: –Increased settlement encouraged by gov. competition and conflict over land –Region becomes highly stratified –External actors arrive Father Samuel Ruiz and missionaries: Liberation Theologists University students after 1968
1970’s: structures of conflict emerge in Chiapas Population expansion –Minimal land redistribution and titling (unlike some other parts of Mexico –Strength and repression of regional government Chiapas becomes a major sources of natural resources and ENERGY for the whole country –logging and ranching –hydroelectric dams, oil Environmentalists pressure for biosphere reserve _______________________________________ Extensive development of economic and political networks of peasants in Chiapas –Indigenous Congress of 1974
1980’s: The State notices Chiapas Geographical contexts –International finance: Mexico succumbs to petrodollar inflation: close to bankruptcy IMF imposed Structural Adjustment Policies( SAPs) are making demands on state and pressing peasants by removing subsidies and agricultural support –US/Russia Cold war: civil war proxies in Central America US says that that the Chiapas region is a conduit for arms –Mexico: decides Chiapas is of strategic importance relative to resource needs and security issues Representation of it as a “problem” location Development plans –Plan del Sureste:”isolation has precluded benefits of development” –Plan Chiapas: 83 million pesos
Response to the State Plans State interventions FAIL to reduce social and agrarian conflicts in Chiapas EXACERBATED them by –inserting the state into the region –maintaining power of the ranchers and extremely repressive governor –pitting different peasant groups against each other Birth of the Zapatistas 1983: Original meeting 6 people By 1986: only 12 members By 1989: several thousand
1980’s and early 1990’s: The Mexican state government under Salinas and neoliberalism 1988: Carlos Salinas steals election, computer fraud –Salinas created “investment bubble” by convincing investors of the strength of the peso –Overvalued peso—domestic inflation > by 90% –Uneven development intensifies 1989: coffee prices fall by 50% –International Coffee Organization fails to agree on quotas SAPs continue to press farmers 1992: Article 27 revised: ejido land can be sold
Meanwhile, in the Lacandon forest 1990-50% malnutrition 1991: cholera epidemic Frontier is reached –Ranching invades “empty” land –Overcrowding of available ejido land –State imposes timber ban in entire Lacandon forest Repression in Chiapas continues and provokes outcry –1992: Xi’Nich march: 400 Mexicans from Palenque- Mexico city: –Chiapas comes onto Mexican national consciousness— beatings and torture
January 1, 1994:Ya Basta! NAFTA becomes law Zapatista Uprising –Peasants felt that NAFTA would be their “death sentence” – ”enough is enough” –Call for: “the right to have rights” “rights, autonomy, and fulfillment of promise of Mexican revolution”
Zapatista demands: San Andres Accords the conservation of the natural resources within the territories used and occupied by indigenous peoples; a greater participation of indigenous communities in the decisions and control of public expenditures and development control over their own administrative and judicial affairs; the autonomy of indigenous communities and their right of free determination in the framework of the State. basic respect for the diversity of the indigenous population of Chiapas
Since 1994 1996-San Andres Accords failure 1997: massacre of 45 indigenous people (mostly women and children) in Acteal 1998: stalemate based on Zapatista conditions –Complete the San Andreas Accords –free Zapatista “political prisoners” –end the heavy army presence and disarm paramilitaries in Chiapas
Recently in Southern Mexico expanded military presence in southern Mexico-especially Guerrero –17,000-70,000 government troops –30 local armed civilian and paramilitary groups –US involvement: ostensibly about drug trafficking 2004 $54 M military aid 2005 $60 M military aid deportation of human rights observers Plan Puebla Panama (PPP) HOWEVER : –New Chiapas governor making strides to improve corruption in his offices and the police –Vicente Fox talks about negotiation Inter Milan football (soccer) challenge?
Why is the Zapatista uprising unique? 1.Uniqueness of their demands –No preconceived plan to “take over” government –Centrality of democracy 2.Inclusiveness of their identity –Not just an ethnic separatist movement –Call for solidarity with others and the need for broad dialogue "The issue that is being fought out in the mountains of Chiapas extends beyond the frontiers of Mexico. It touches the hearts of all those who have not abandoned their simple demand for equal justice for all."
3. “NET WARRIORS”: Using the Internet to transform a conventional guerrilla movement into an “informational guerrilla movement” Targets: –similar groups in other countries –sympathizers (governments and individuals) –Investors? maybe Chase Manhattan memo: “the [Mexican] government will need to eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate effective control of the national territory and their security policy”. Why is the Zapatista uprising unique?
Chiapas Jumping Scales and the Boomerang Effect Govs of Germany, France Spain Etc. Government Of Mexico Zapatistas Foreign Investors??? Individuals and NGO’s
EZLN website http://www.ezln.org Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional Año 21 de la lucha y 11 de la guerra contra el olvido y la mentira