EZLN: Mexico's forgotten war

After 18 years, almost half of the country's population still lives in poverty

On January 1, 1994, in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, a large group of armed indigenous people took over the town city hall, and were all part of an army better known as the "Zapatista Army of National Liberation."

This incident marked a 12 day period of the Zapatista uprising, in which this group declared war on the Mexican army, and lost.

The group suffered hundreds of casualties and eventually retreated back to the southeastern mountains of Chiapas, Mexico.

This event attracted the attention of the international media, who all covered this story on the edge of their seats for any new developments which no one understood the reason for the war.

It wasn't until a reporter asked the leader of the group, Subcomandante Marcos, of the purpose for this movement, which he replied, "the major problem of our country is that of freedom and democracy, that is the main demand."

"Housing, land, health, education, justice, are the many problems that seriously affect the indigenous people.

We are making a call to everyone in Mexico from all sectors of society to rise up with us, where no one in the EZLN has a perfectly defined ideology, but rather a common point or link to the great national problems that affect one sector or other that lacks freedom and democracy."

Subcomandante Marcos is not someone who was picked randomly from a group of people to lead this guerilla group. His real name is Rafael Sebastian Guillen Vicente, and was born on June 19, 1957, in Tampico, Tamaulipas Mexico.

He graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), which according to the THES-QS World University Rankings; in 2009 it was the 190th best university in the world. Marcos also speaks some English, Italian and French.

Recently, on December 21, 2012, Marcos published a simple letter that said, "Did you hear? It is your world collapsing. It is that of ours rising anew. The day that was day, was night and night is the day that the day will be. Democracy, Freedom, Justice."

With a new government in power led by Enrique Peña Nieto from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the country will now have to deal with the EZLN that has not gone away, and also a newly formed group of protesters composed mostly by university students called "YoSoy#132."

After three administrations of government that have been in power (PAN & PRI), in Mexico according to the CIA World Factbook, almost half of the country's population still lives in poverty.



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