SIPAZ Activities (August – October 2000)


1st of January

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada and Mexico comes into force.

Armed uprising of the Zapatistas: the EZLN occupies various cities of Chiapas, including San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Las Margaritas, Altamirano and Ocosingo. Through the First Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, they declare war against the federal government and its army, and demand liberty, justice and democracy for all Mexicans.

3rd of January

The EZLN takes as a prisoner of war General Absalón Domínguez, ex-Governor of the State of Chiapas.

10th of January

President Salinas names Manuel Camacho Solís as Commissioner for Peace and Reconciliation in Chiapas. Previously he was Secretary for Foreign Affairs and before that Governor of Mexico City,.

12th of January

The Government decrees a unilateral cease-fire and announces its intention to look for a negotiated solution with the rebels. Estimates of deaths during the war range from 145 to 1,000. A large protest for peace is held in Mexico City.

16th of February

The EZLN frees the ex-Governor Absalón Castellanos. In exchange, the government frees hundreds of imprisoned indigenous Zapatistas.

21st of February – 2nd of March

Peace talks in the Cathedral of San Cristóbal de Las Casas between the leaders of the EZLN (Subcomandante Marcos and 18 commanders and members of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee), the commissioner for peace, Manuel Camacho Solís and the mediator Samuel Ruiz, Bishop of San Cristóbal. The government presents a document including 34 proposals; the EZLN agrees to consult on this with its “support bases” (i.e. communities formally supporting the EZLN).

23rd of March

Assassination of Luis Donaldo Colosio, PRI candidate for the President of the Republic, in Tijuana, Baja California. The EZLN declares a red alert and suspends the consultation process.

12th of June

The EZLN rejects the government proposals emerging from the Cathedral peace talks (by a vote of 98%). Manuel Camacho resigns from his official position. The EZLN decides to maintain the cease-fire and open a dialogue with Mexico’s civil society. Through the Second Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, it convenes the National Democratic Convention.

6-9th of August

6,000 representatives of popular organizations from all over Mexico participate in the National Democratic Convention in Guadalupe Tepeyac, the first Zapatista “Aguascalientes” (a place for the meeting between the Zapatistas and civil society).

21st of August

PRI victory in the presidential elections. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León is elected.

28th of September

Assassination in Mexico City of José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, Secretary General of the PRI.

1st of December

Ernesto Zedillo takes possession of the presidency.

19th of December

The Zapatistas break through the military cordon and peacefully establish positions in 38 head municipalities, declaring them rebel autonomous municipalities.

19-20th of December

Financial crisis: devaluation of the peso by 40%, continuation of an economic recession marked by the disappearance of thousands of businesses and a million jobs. The IMF, the United States and other countries rescue Mexico with loans totalling 50 billion dollars .

24th of December

The EZLN and the federal government accept the National Commission for Mediation (CONAI), presided over by Bishop Samuel Ruiz in the role of mediator.