SIPAZ Actvities (September – November 2003)


First of January

The EZLN breaks its silence. In the largest gathering to date of members from communities supporting the EZLN (its ‘support bases’), more than 20,000 indigenous people demonstrate in the city of San Cristóbal. They condemn the three principal political parties for betraying the spirit of the San Andres Accords with their approval of the Indigenous Law. They warn the government commission for peace that they will prevent its entrance to their territories.

Beginning of January

The EZLN releases a “Calendar of Resistance,” 12 documents in which Subcomandante Marcos reviews the struggles taking place in the rest of Mexico (following the same route that the March of the Colour of the Earth followed.)

30th of April

Pope John Paul II names Enrique Díaz Díaz as assistant Bishop of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

8th of May

The state government and leaders of the Lacandon ethnic groups commit to ensuring that no communities will be displaced in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve. The authorities promise the ethnic group economic aid so long as the Lacondons suspend their plans to expel other indigenous groups from the region.

5th to the 8th of May

The Hemispheric Meeting against Militarization takes place in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, bringing together close to 1,000 people from 272 organizations in 35 countries.

11-12th of May

Continental and Global Meeting against the FTAA and the WTO in Mexico: the delegates of more than 150 international organizations agree to a global agenda of mobilizations.

17th of May

More than 400 members of 92 NGOs and social organizations participate in the Meeting of National Response and Mesoamerican Resistance to Neoliberal Globalization, which takes place in Oaxaca.

28th of May

With an initial investment of 75 million pesos, Chiapas Governor Pablo Salazar kicks off the program Vida Mejor (Better Life), with which he hopes to attend to the 260 micro-regions struggling with poverty and marginalization.

3rd of June

The Reporter to the United Nations on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties of Indigenous People, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, begins a visit to Mexico.

6th of July

Violent acts take place during the legislative elections in indigenous regions of Chiapas, principally in San Juan Cancuc, Zinacantán and Chenalhó. At the federal level, the highest abstention rate in the recent history of the country is registered.

18th to 24th of July

In Honduras, the Conference of Resistance 2003 takes place. Made up of a series of forums and meetings, it looks to strengthen the popular struggle in Mesoamerica and the Caribbean, as well as search for alternatives to mainstream economic projects.

19th of July

The special investigator for the case of the death human rights lawyer Digna Ochoa concludes that her death was suicide, a conclusion questioned by many human rights NGOs.


The EZLN announces a series of changes in regards to its internal functions and relationships with national and international civil society (the seven documents which make up the “Thirteenth Stele”).

8-10th of August

In order to create in practice the autonomy pre-figured in the San Andres Accords, the command of the EZLN announces at Oventik the abolition of the Aguascalientes, and the creation in their place of the Caracoles (“Snails“) and the Councils of Good Government (Juntas de Buen Gobierno) [these are to function thereafter as local administrative centres for the autonomous Zapatista communities].


In the northern region, indigenous Choles announce their decision to define the territory as one in which the Zapatista laws will rule the lives of all. The placing of Zapatista signs generates tension in the region.

10th of September

An Indigenous Forum takes place, organized by the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), in the context of the ministerial meeting of the WTO in Cancun. The EZLN sends several communiqués.

11th of September

The President of the Autonomous Council Miguel Hidalgo appears before a penal judge in order to make a statement in relation to the detention of three Zapatistas who were transporting wood and charcoal for domestic use and were accused of damaging the environment. The detained Zapatistas are released a few days later.


A series of conflicts take place between members of the Independent Centre of Agricultural Workers and Campesinos (CIOAC) and Zapatistas as a result of the detention of Armín Morales Jiménez by militants of the EZLN for the accused crime of abuse of confidence. The Council of Good Government “Towards Hope” liberates Morales at the beginning of October, supposedly after the state government paid the 80,000 pesos which autonomous council of San Pedro de Michoacán demanded as payment for the truck, property of a Zapatista support base, which Armín Morales had sold to another person.

12th of October

Meeting of Indigenous Nations of Mexico. Some 200 representatives of indigenous organizations reiterate that it was “a betrayal by legislators” not to have approved the COCOPA law and that the only option left is to construct autonomy through their own deeds. They also make a pronouncement in favour of the Zapatista Good Government Councils.

13th of October

Visiting Chiapas, the Interior Minister, Santiago Creel, maintains that the federal government awaits the response of the state congresses relating to the constitutional reform on indigenous matters, in order to “make an evaluation” and present a package of laws before the Congress of the Union. On his part, Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía, Governor of Chiapas, recognizes that the efforts of the EZLN to create the Councils of Good Government are “interesting.” This highlights the fact that while previously the state government was part of the conflict, now it will respect the decisions of the Zapatista communities.

17th of November

The 20th anniversary of the EZLN takes place within the Zapatista areas and behind closed doors.

8th of December

President Vicente Fox accepts the 32 recommendations elaborated by the Office of the High Commission of the United Nations for Human Rights.