January  - On the first, the same day NAFTA went into effect, 3000 armed EZLN occupied six large towns and hundreds of ranches.  the army responds within 24 hours, by bombing indigenous communities, resulting in the death of at least 145 indigenous peoples.  Popular protest against the military oppression erupts and a cease-fire is called on January 12. First Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle

    February - In their first direct dialogs, the government and Zapatistas meet in a church in San Cristobal de las Casas.

    March - Peace talks conclude on the second with 24 tentative agreements based on 34 Zapatista proposals.  The text of the talks will be distributed among Zapatistas communities for consultations.  No commitments have been made on the national level.

    June - After the end of the consultations in May, the Second Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle is released, as well as the results of the consultations, wherein 97.88% reject the proposals, but only 3.26% want a return to armed conflict.

    August - At Aguacalientes, a meeting place created in the jungle, 6000 people gather when the Zapatistas create the National Democratic Convention.

    December - Zapatistas declare the civil authority of thirty-eight autonomous indigenous municipalities on December 19 - a major challenge to local PRI power structures

        Huge economic downfall in Mexico causes fall in standard of living and available employment, despite $50 billion from IMF and the U.S.  Upper classes are unaffected due to benefits from privatization and NAFTA.


    January - Chase Manhattan Bank calls for the Mexican government to "eliminate the Zapatistas" - which by this point refers to dozens of communities including 50,000 civilians.

    Third Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle Released

    February - On the ninth Zapatista areas are invaded by large military forces, using low-intensity warfare (a.k.a. civilian-targeted warfare), breaking the ceasefire.  This includes the displacement of 20,000 campesinos from towns such as Guadalupe Tepeyac and El Prado, the seizure of Aguascalientes, which is turned into an army base.  Zapatistas construct four new Aquascalietnes, as centers of indigenous resistance in the villages of La Realidad, Oventik, La Garrucha, and Morelia..  During the next five years a presence of over 60,000 army troops permeate Chiapas, often camping close to Zapatista communities, disrupting people's daily lives.

    April - more peace talks resume

    August - Zapatistas hold first international consulta, due to frustration with government's refusal of national negotiations, in which more than a million people vote, calling for the EZLN to become a new independent political force.  The participation of 1.2 million Mexicans and 100,000 others showed overwhelming (97.8%) support for the Zapatistas basic demands.

    October  - In San Andres Larrainzar talks on indigenous rights and culture begin.  Working groups are created and divided into the following: 1) Community and Autonomy: Indigenous Rights; 2) Guarantees of Justice to the Indigenous Peoples; 3) Political Participation and Representation of the Indigenous Peoples; 4) The Situation, Rights, and Culture of Indigenous Women; 5) Access to the Means of Communication; and 6) Promotion and Development of Indigenous Culture.


    January - In celebration of two years an inauguration of the new Aquascalientes, the Fourth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle is distributed.

        From the third to the ninth the ELZN calls the National Indigenous Forum which is attended by nearly 500 representatives from 30 indigenous communities as well as 24 comandantes of the EZLN.  The goal being to have the opinions and thoughts of many communities be heard. (This group eventually becomes the National Indigenous Congress - site in Spanish)

    February - San Andres Accords are signed between the government and the Zapatistas, outlining a programs of cultural rights, indigenous autonomy and land reform.

    March - Talks begin on democracy and justice, but end on August 12 with no results because of governmental refusal of Zapatista proposals, and failure to bring proposals of their own.

    July/August - first Intercontinental Encuentro for Humanity Against Neoliberalism is organized by Zapatistas, bringing nearly 5000 people from 42 countries  to discuss civil society confronting neoliberalism.

    August - EZLN suspends peace talks on the 29th, giving these five demands on Sept. 2 in a communiqué

  1. Liberation of all the presumed-Zapatista prisoners across the country, and of the members of the EZLN's civilian base being held in the Cerro Hueco prison in Chiapas.
  2. A government negotiating team with decision-making capacity, political will to negotiate, and respect for the Zapatista delegation.
  3. Installation of the Implementation and Verification Commission, and the immediate fulfillment of the agreements already signed between the EZLN and the government on Indigenous Rights and Culture.
  4. Serious and concrete proposals on the part of the government for the negotiations on Democracy and Justice, as well as the commitment to reach an accord on this topic.
  5. An end to the climate of military and police persecution and harassment against the indigenous communities of Chiapas, as well as the disappearance of the guardias blancas (or the promulgation of a law which officially recognizes them and gives them uniforms so they do not operate with impunity).

    December - San Andres Accords formally rejected by Pres. Zedillo, after temporary approval in November of these changes to the constitution.


    All through the spring the army raids communities and arrests leaders, displacing hundreds of families.

    July - Midterm election on the sixth post gains for opposition parties, but in Zapatista-influenced areas absenteeism is at 80 percent, due to the notoriously corrupt elections and the general lack of trust in the government by the indigenous people of the area.

    September - Arriving in Mexico city on the twelfth, Zapatistas found the unarmed political branch of the indigenous movement, the Zapatista National Liberation Front (EZLN).

    December - Parmilitaries attack Acteal a town where hundreds of displaced had taken refuge, killing 45 indigenous campesinos, primarily women and children.  The existence of these paramilitaries is later denied by the Zedillo administration, despite local PRI members being tied to the attack.  An army campaign is begun to disarm the EZLN, but the paramilitaries are not included.


    February - Zedillo begin a campaign to expel foreign human rights observers from Chiapas, over 150 are forced to leave in the next two years.

    As military presence continues to build, peace talks are once gain suspended.

    Throughout the spring several new proposals are given by the government and rejected by the EZLN, who wish to retain the San Andres Accords.

    April - Over 1000 troops overrun four Zapatista communities, destroying records and arresting community leaders, marking the beginning of a campaign to destroy the autonomous communities' structure. Raids and arrests continue through the next month and a half.

    June - The campaign culminate with a early morning invasion of San Juan de Libertad, eight civilians and one policeman are killed.  The attack includes the use of tear gas, bazookas and helicopters to attack civilians.  This campaign is stopped due to public outcry.

    July - Fifth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle is given, asking once again for peace accords.


    March-  Zapatistas organize a consulta on Indigenous Rights and Culture, 5000 civilian Zapatistas teach week-long programs of popular education throughout the country.  Over 3 million Mexicans vote to approve the San Andres Accords on March 21st.

    April - In order to put a PRI mayor into pace in San Andres Sakamch'em, police forces occupy the community.  The next day 3000 unarmed Zapatistas non-violently force the troops out of town and re-instate their elected officials.

    May - 2000 people participate in the second National Enuentro of Civil Society to discuss the March consulta.

    August - In order to complete a road to surround the Lacandon jungle army paratroopers occupy the remote village of Amador Hernandez.  Despite non-violent community resistance, the troops stay.


    The national election commission announces 100 new polling places in Zapatista territory due to enormous numbers of new registered voters.

July 2 - Vicente Fox, from the conservative PAN party, is elected president, breaking seventy-one years under the PRI.

November 30 - Fox takes control of Mexico, the Zapatistas break a five-month silence to demand three things before new peace talks can being.  These are the withdrawal of troops from seven of 250 encampments in Chiapas, release of all Zapatista prisoners and the implementation of the San Andres Accords.  Also released in Nov, was this example of the variety in types of texts the EZLN uses to communicate their message, and a letter to the ousted Zedillo.

December - In response Fox dismantles military checkpoints through the state, gradually moves out of the seven army encampments and releases most political prisoners.  On the 5th he introduces the constitutional reforms to implement the San Andres Accords, but secretly encourages Congress to make any necessary changes to maintain the status quo.  A letter to Fox, signed by Marcos.


    February 24- The Zapatista Comandancia, including Subcommandante Marcos, start marching to Mexico City to demand governmental compliance with the San Andres Accords.  Communique from Feb.

    March 11 - The Zapatistas arrive in Mexico City and enter the Zocalo to a crowd of 250,000 there to welcome them.  This event is broadcast world-wide.

    April 25 - A gutted version of the Cocopa law is unanimously approved by the senate, which is then approved three days later by the chamber of deputies, 386-60.  In this form the law resembles a law introduced by Zedillo that was rejected by the Zapatistas.  This triggers indigenous mobilizations nation-wide in support of the original version of the Cocopa law.

    Most of the rest of the year is continuous low-intensity warfare and rumored Zapatista troop movements.  Link to descriptive essay with interviews with indigenous people/leaders.


    Early in the year the government, with encouragement from the US and multinationals, begins trying to expel 110 communities from the Montes Azules Comprehensive Biosphere Reserve and surrounding areas.

    July - Another National Encuentro for Peace with Justice is called, which results in continued support for the San Andres Accords, with all civil struggle directed towards achieving peace on their own terms.

    August  - More paramilitary violence directed against autonomous communities.

    Sept-Dec - Fairly quiet period, with some paramilitary activity.  Communiqués are sent, one indicating that the silence in no way means the Zapatistas are sleeping, and the second invites the Spanish rebel group, ETA, to a debate with the EZLN.


    January - Anniversary protests of ski-masked Zapatistas numbering as many as 20,000 are held in San Cristobal with speeches from many EZLN leaders.

    April - Demonstrations against the war in Iraq are held

    June - A communiqué is sent that describes changes in the Zapatistas, they have cut off communication with the Mexican government and reestablish themselves as rebels.  They have also withdrawn from international activity, presumably to focus on internal affairs.  The autonomous communities have become more autonomous - announcing that they would be presenting their own information, separate from the EZLN.

    August  - Unveiling of new Zapatista structures, including the death of the aguacalientes.  The autonomous communities have divided into five regions with governing councils.  Instead of the augas, there will be caracoles, or snails, envisioned as "places to talk and listen", the two new structures will work together to distribute aid and settle disputes.

    November  - Festivities in Chiapas and around the world celebrating the 20th anniversary of the EZLN.  Events in the autonomous communities are declared off-limits, but many other celebrations occur.

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