aka. EZLN. They are and organised group of Mexican rebels that seek to defend the rights of the nation’s 10 million Indians. The Zapatista believe that globalization threatens the rights of impoverished workers and indigenous people everywhere. They also want lands seized from Indian people to be returned so that they may continue their otherwise peaceful and rural existence. Most of the conflicts have involved the war torn Mexican state, Chiapas, with much of the fighting taking place between the rebels and the PRI (the Institutional Revolutionary Party). The PRI has been the ruling party in Mexico for the past 71 years, but Mexicans new President Vicente Fox has broken this tradition. (He’s a member of the National Action Party) He has also promised to address the Chipas conflict and has released many of Zapatista prisoners held in Chipas, withdrawn military occupation and initiated peace talks.

Even though Vicente Fox has proved more sympathetic towards the goals of the EZLN, peace talks are still quite rocky and an end to the violence may be far off. Many non-Indian Mexicans are still ambivalent towards the Indian population, When a bill was passed in April 2001 affirming the rights of Indians many conservative Mexicans protested fearing that the bill would give too much power to local Indian governments.

Clearly, as long as a vast economic and cultural divide exists between Indians and other Mexicans the violence will continue. But at least, now some moves are being made to address the injustice.

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