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Zapatista Army of National Liberation

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1990s: Clarification as 'vindicated' also has negative connotations
The Zapatista Army went public on January 1, 1994, the day when the [[North American Free Trade Agreement]] (NAFTA) came into effect. On that day, they issued their First Declaration and Revolutionary Laws from the [[Lacandon Jungle]]. The declaration amounted to a declaration of war on the Mexican government, which they considered so out of touch with the will of the people as to make it illegitimate. The EZLN stressed that it opted for armed struggle due to the lack of results achieved through peaceful means of protest (such as sit-ins and marches).<ref>[ SIPAZ, International Service for Peace webisite, "1994"] {{webarchive |url= |date=November 17, 2015 }}</ref>
Their initial goal was to instigate a revolution against the rise of neoliberalism<ref name=":0">{{Cite book|title=Latin American Social Movements|last=Olesen|first=Thomas|publisher=Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.|year=2006|isbn=|location=Lanham, Maryland|pages=187}}</ref> throughout Mexico, but as this did not happen, they used their uprising as a platform to call the world's attention to their movement to protest the signing of NAFTA, which the EZLN believed would increase the gap between rich and poor people in Chiapas—a prediction that has been vindicatedaffirmed by subsequent developments.<ref>{{cite web|ssrn=182178 |title=Rising Inequality in Mexico: Returns to Household Characteristics and the 'Chiapas Effect' by César P. Bouillon, Arianna Legovini, Nora Lustig :: SSRN |doi=10.2139/ssrn.182178 | |date= |accessdate=2013-10-29}}</ref> Gaining attention on a global level through their convention called the Intercontinental Encounter for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism that was attended by 3,000 activists worldwide, the Zapatistas were able to help initiate a united platform for other anti-neoliberal groups. This did not deter from the Zapatistas' national activism efforts, but rather expanded their already existent ideologies.<ref name=":0" /> The EZLN also called for greater democratization of the Mexican government, which had been controlled by the [[Institutional Revolutionary Party|Partido Revolucionario Institucional]] (Institutional Revolutionary Party, also known as PRI) for 65 years, and for [[land reform]] mandated by the 1917 [[Constitution of Mexico]] but largely ignored by the PRI.{{sfn|O'Neil et al.|2006|p=377}} The EZLN did not demand independence from Mexico, but rather autonomy in the forms of land access and use of natural resources normally extracted from Chiapas, as well as protection from despotic violence and political inclusion of Chiapas' indigenous communities.<ref>{{Cite journal|last=Manaut|first=Raúúl Beníítez|last2=Selee|first2=Andrew|last3=Arnson|first3=Cynthia J.|date=2006-02-01|title=Frozen Negotiations: The Peace Process in Chiapas|url=|journal=Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos|language=en|volume=22|issue=1|pages=131–152|doi=10.1525/msem.2006.22.1.131|issn=0742-9797}}</ref>
On the morning of January 1, 1994, an estimated 3,000 armed Zapatista insurgents seized towns and cities in Chiapas, including [[Ocosingo]], [[Las Margaritas, Chiapas|Las Margaritas]], [[Huixtán]], [[Oxchuc]], [[Rancho Nuevo]], [[Altamirano, Chiapas|Altamirano]], and [[Chanal]]. They freed the prisoners in the jail of [[San Cristóbal de las Casas]] and set fire to several police buildings and military barracks in the area. The guerrillas enjoyed brief success, but the next day Mexican army forces counterattacked, and fierce fighting broke out in and around the market of Ocosingo. The Zapatista forces took heavy casualties and retreated from the city into the surrounding jungle.
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