Mexico (EZLN)


Conflict Summary

The conflict in Mexico’s Chiapas region stems from perceived government neglect from much of the poverty-stricken indigenous population. Since 1994, the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN, Zapatista Army of National Liberation) rebel movement has presented a broad challenge to the Mexican government, in the form of armed resistance, political pressure and effective control of several municipalities in the region. The 1994 ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) triggered further discontent and marked the intensification of rebel activity. Despite the signing of the 1996 San Andrés Accords, under which Chiapas nominally received the autonomy the EZLN had demanded, little progress has been achieved in their full implementation. Recent initiatives towards reconciliation have assuaged social tensions but neither side has shown willingness to move towards permanent conflict settlement. The period since 1996 has seen only limited violence, as the EZLN has focused on political pressure and building international legitimacy.