from Zapatistas! (Harry Cleaver, editor)

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This book may be freely pirated and quoted for non-commercial purposes, provided that a portion of any income derived thereby returns to the Indigenous and campesino communities of Southern Mexico.
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January 1 - The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) takes effect. The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) emerges from the Lacandona Jungle, occupies the Chiapas highland towns of Ocosingo, Las Margaritas, Altamirano and San Cristo'bal de las Casas, resulting in two police dead in Ocosingo. The EZLN takes over municipal buildings, frees prisoners from jails, opens government shops to the populace. The EZLN issues the Declaration from the Lacandona Jungle, denouncing NAFTA as a "death sentence" for Mexican Indians, demanding legal recognition as a legitimate belligerent force against the Federal Army, announcing their intent to comply with the Geneva Conventions and international law, and calling upon the world community to pressure the Mexican government to do likewise.

January 2 - Fighting ensues as police and the Federal Army attempt to take occupied towns, leaving scores dead. General Absalo'n Castellanos Domi'nguez, former governor of Chiapas, is seized at his ranch by the EZLN, charged with crimes against campesinos and Indians.

January 3 - The EZLN retreats from San Cristo'bal, engages the Federal Army at the Nuevo Rancho Base outside town; fighting escalates in Ocosingo, Las Margaritas and Altamirano.

January 4 - The government begins aerial bombardment of San Cristo'bal's poor, outlying areas. Fierce fighting in Ocosingo's central square. Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garci'a of San Cristo'bal calls for a cease-fire.

January 6 - The EZLN retreats from Ocosingo, Las Margaritas and Altamirano.

January 7 - A car bomb explodes in Mexico City's University Plaza.

January 8 - Power lines and other targets are bombed elsewhere in the country, including a federal building in Acapulco. An ultra-left cell, PROCUP-PDLP, claims responsibility, "in solidarity" with the EZLN. The EZLN denies any connection.

January 10 - The Mexican stock market plunges. Demonstrations against the repression mount in Mexico City and around the country. President Carlos Salinas de Gortari fires former governor of Chiapas Patrocinio Gonzalez Blanco Garrido from his post as Interior Minister for denying the existence of the guerrilla threat.

January 12 - A massive march on Mexico City in protest of the repression. The government declares a cease-fire, offers limited amnesty to the EZLN.

January 16 - The National Human Rights Commission investigators uncover a mass grave in Ocosingo.

January 20 - Accounts mount of summary executions and torture by government troops during the fighting.

January 25 - President Salinas visits Chiapas state capital Tuxtla Gutierrez to meet with campesino leaders; gets angry response from them. The government promises dialogue, names Bishop Ruiz as mediator and former Mexico City mayor and federal Environment Minister Manuel Camacho Soli's as government peace spokesman.

January 29 - The government begins freeing Zapatista prisoners.

February 1 - An Americas Watch report accuses the Mexican government of grave human rights violations in putting down the uprising.

February 7 - Campesinos occupy a municipal building in the highlands town of Teopisca, beginning a wave of militant protests and land occupations by unarmed Indians and campesinos throughout the highlands of Chiapas. Campesinos march on Tuxtla Gutierrez to demand land reform.

February 12 - "Secret" meeting between new Interior Minister (former Attorney General) Jorge Carpizo and CIA chief James Woolsey in Mexico City.

February 16 - The EZLN releases General Absalón Castellanos to Ruiz and Camacho at Guadalupe Tepeyac, on the edge of the Lacandona Jungle.

February 27 - EZLN-government Dialogue for Peace and Reconciliation in Chiapas begins at the Cathedral of San Cristóbal. The EZLN team includes Subcommander Marcos and Commander Ramona, who wow the press. Death threats mount against Bishop Ruiz, who is accused of being a spokesperson for the EZLN.

March 2 - The EZLN dialogue team ends the "first phase" of the dialogue and returns to the Lacandona Jungle to bring the government proposals to the communities for discussion and decision-making.

March 6 - The newly-formed State Council of Indigenous and Campesino Organizations (CEOIC) holds the first open, pro-EZLN rally in San Cristóbal. The Municipal Palace is occupied; "!VIVA EZLN!" is painted on walls throughout the city.

March 9 - Mariano Perez Diaz of the Emeliano Zapata Campesino Organization (OCEZ) is murdered in the highlands village of Simojovel, escalating the wave of terror against campesino leaders by presumed guardias blancas.

March 23 - Luis Donaldo Colosio, presidential candidate of the long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), is assassinated at a campaign stop in Tijuana, just five months before the scheduled elections.

March 24 - The EZLN declares a state of "Red Alert" throughout their Lacandona Jungle stronghold; they claim that the Federal Army used the assassination as a cover to violate the cease- fire with an aerial bombardment of a road in Zapatista-held territory. They declare the consultations of the communities temporarily suspended.

March 29 - The PRI names former education minister Ernesto Ponce de Leon Zedillo as their new presidential candidate.

April 4 - The government announces seven suspects in Colosiós death, including members of his security team. The Mexican stock market takes another plunge.

April 10 - Thousands march on Mexico City in solidarity with the EZLN's demands, and to commemorate the 1917 assassination of Emiliano Zapata. Clashes with the police are reported in the city of Puebla.

April 28 - Tijuana police chief Federico Benitez is killed in an ambush by unknown assailants. Left and right opposition parties accuse the government of a cover-up in the Colosio assassination.

May 1 - Traditional Mayday celebrations bring out thousands in Mexico City, and elsewhere, in support of the EZLN.

June 12 - The EZLN announces that, after consulting with their communities in the Lacandona Jungle villages, the government peace proposals have been rejected. They urge "civil society" to take up the struggle.