Wanderings of Zapata’s Ghost
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On January 1, 1994, a few thousand Chiapanecans, armed with weapons ranging from powerful rifles to wooden sticks, attacked a local military base and overran four towns and several hamlets. Citing Article 39 of Mexico’s Constitution, the guerrillas’ spokespersons declared their “unalienable right” to alter the form of their government and insisted that President Carlos Salinas de Gortari was a “dictator” and “illegitimate chief ’ who should be immediately removed from office. The government had left millions with “no land, no work, no health care, no food, or education” and had given “absolutely everything” that rightfully belonged to the Mexican people to foreigners. If the other branches of the government did not depose President Salinas, the Chiapanecans’ army would march on the capital alongside citizen militias from other states. In the meantime, the soldiers of the self-proclaimed “Zapatista Army of National Liberation” would “initiate summary judgments against soldiers of the Mexican federal army and political police who have taken courses or have been advised, trained, or paid by foreigners” (Womack 1999: 248–9).
KeywordsIndigenous Community Autonomous Community Electoral Politics Mexican State Mexican Government
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