1995 Zapatista Crisis

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With President Carlos Salinas de Gortari's economic and political reforms, the NAFTA agreement, Mexico was getting propelled as an important player in the world economy. When an unsolved ethnic situation was brewing in the Mexican county, that is when the Zapatistas uprising happened. The Mexican Government started immediate peace talks. In the early days of the new government administration, President Zedillo took a series of erratic decisions that completely broke with the previous administration's agreements and with his own action plan previously defined.

Political context[edit]

The previous months to the Zedillo presidential inauguration, a wave of politically motivated assassinations occurred in Mexico. Personalities such as Cardenal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo; front runner Presidential Candidate Colosio that Zedillo replaced as the PRI candidate for the election; José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, brother in law of President Carlos Salinas de Gortari and PRI Secretary General, etc., were targeted. So with the purpose to give credibility to the investigations of these political crimes and to grant a healthy distance, President Zedillo appointed a member of the opposition political party PAN, Antonio Lozano Gracia, as Attorney General. With the purpose of promoting a different political Agenda, during the new Attorney General's commission the Law Procedures were used as a systematic opposition to Due Process and Justice. This caused serious problems to President Zedillo's Interior Government, originating amongst other crises the 1995 Zapatista Crisis.

Lacandon Jungle secret meeting[edit]

On January 5 of 1995 the Secretary of Interior Esteban Moctezuma started a secret meeting process with Subcomandante Marcos called "Steps Toward Peace" They took place in the village of Guadalupe Tepeyac, belonging to the municipality of Pantelho, Chiapas. Important specific agreements that both parties agreed to comply where reached. In which the Mexican army withdraw of certain points, such as San Andres Larrainzar and Marcos accepted that a group of citizens to be involved in a formal negotiation to start in a couple of weeks. Due to the fast progress of the negotiations in the steps toward peace, the possibility of an agreement looked very close and thus Marcos wrote “I am being threatened by 'unemployment“. »[1] »[2]


During the investigative stage to identify Subcomandante Marcos, the Mexican government speculated that he was a dangerous guerrilla fighter. This theory gained much traction at the end of 1994, after the dissident Zapatista Comandante, Salvador Morales Garibay, gave away the identity of his former fellow Zapatistas to the Mexican government, among them Marcos identity. »[3] They all were indicted for terrorism, arrest warrants were issued and arrests where made in a military action. »[4] The Mexican government alleges some Zapatistas to be terrorists, among them Marcos. There was a storm of political pressures claiming for a fast military solution to the 1995 Zapatista Crisis. On February 9, 1995, in a televised special Presidential broadcast, President Ernesto Zedillo announced Subcomandante Marcos to be one Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente, born June 19, 1957, in Tampico, Tamaulipas to Spanish immigrants, an Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana School of Sciences and Arts for the Design former Professor. And after the government revealed Marcos identity in January 1995, when Max Appedole, old friend, classmate with the Jesuits at the Instituto Cultural Tampico, made direct intervention in the conflict. Max played a major role with the Mexican government to avoid a Military solution to the 1995 Zapatista Crisis, by demonstrating that contrary to the accusations announced by President Ernesto Zedillo, »[5] Rafael Guillén, was no terrorist. Max Appedole identified his linguistic fingerprint based in Marcos specific, unique way of speaking, recognized his literary style in all Marcos manifestos that were published in the media, linked them to their literary tournaments organized by the Jesuits in which they competed in Mexico. Every one of us has his or her very own idiolect, encompasses vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation that differs from the way other people talk. He confirmed that he had no doubt that Marcos was his friend Rafael Guillén, a pacifist. Max Appedole closed the first successful Linguistic Profiling Confirmation Case in history of Law Enforcement. Based on these achievements this new science was developed, giving way to what is now call forensic linguistics. This motivated a new Division of forensic linguistics Criminal Profiling in Law Enforcement. »[6] »[7] »[8] »[9]

The last public act before being Subcomandante Marcos[edit]

History revealed that Rafael Guillén, who later would become known as the Subcomandante Marcos, of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation last public act to be not only fortunate, well justified, but maybe strategic. It was the meeting with Max Appedole, an old friend and classmate. As it happens when the young people complete their high school studies, each takes his own way. Several years past when he occupied the Presidency of the Mexican Federation of Aquaculture Rafael Guillén, invited his old friend to give a conference in a Congress at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, where he was a professor at the School of Sciences and Arts for the design. He accepted go only if Rafael Guillén, undertook to accompany him during his visit to the University. By the time the Congress happened, Rafael Guillén, plans had speed up, his trip to Nicaragua advanced so he had already renounced his position at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. Even so Rafael Guillén, attended the Congress at the UAM to meet with his friend Max Appedole and comply with what they had agreed. That was the last public act of who would later become the Subcomandante Marcos. »[10]

World's first post-modern revolution[edit]

The Mexican Indian communities claims for centuries, historically unattended by a distant Government, their claims had reach a critical point in which they decided they needed to let their voice be heard to find their place in Mexico, so the answers and solutions can be found or die trying.

Under the command of Marcos the Zapatista Army of National Liberation launched a social movement that give hope and vision to other Native American and native people on earth under a similar historical situation. Organizing a social phenomena, now widely recognized as the World First Postmodern Revolution. »[11] »[12]

The military site[edit]

Once Subcomandante Marcos was identified as Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente, on 9 February 1995, in an counterproductive, turn of events, President Ernesto Zedillo took a series of decisions that completely broke with the strategy, the action plan previously defined and the agreements he authorized his Secretary of Interior Lic Esteban Moctezuma to compromise with Marcos just 3 days before in Guadalupe Tepeyac. To the opposite extreme to send the Mexican army to capture or annihilate Marcos. This without consulting his Secretary of Interior; without even knowing exactly who Marcos was; with the PGR single presumption that Marcos was a dangerous guerrilla, President Ernesto Zedillo decided to launch a military offence to capture or annihilate Marcos and the Zapatistas. »[13] Arrest warrants where made against Marcos, Javier Elorriaga Berdegue, Silvia Fernández Hernández, Jorge Santiago, Fernando Yanez, German Vicente, Jorge Santiago and other Zapatistas. At the Lacandon Jungle, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation was under the Mexican Army military siege. The PGR was after them. Javier Elorriaga got captured on February 9, 1995, in a military garrison at Gabina Velázquez in Las Margaritas town and later taken to the Cerro Hueco prison in Tuxtla Gutiérrez Chiapas. »[14] On February 11, 1995, the PGR informed they made an operative in the State of Mexico, where they capture 14 persons presumed to be involved with the Zapatistas of which 8 all ready being turned to the Judicial Authorities and sized an important arsenal. »[15] The PGR repressive acts got to the extreme of pressuring the San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas Catholic Bishop, Samuel Ruiz García of arresting him for aiding to conceal the Zapatistas guerrilla activity. Even though this activity was public years before the uprising in Proceso among Mexico most important magazines and it was the Mexican Government who was for years trying to disguise it. »[16] »[17] »[18] And with no consideration to the political consequences of hurting with no legal reason, the recently restored and all ready seriously damaged, Mexico Vatican diplomatic relations »[19] because of the May 24, 1993, political assassination of a Prince of the Catholic Church, the Guadalajara, Mexico Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo that precisely that Agency the PGR has left it unsolved.

Marcos resolve was put to the test, in his camp in the Lacandon Jungle when the Zapatistas were under the Mexican Army military siege. Marcos response was immediate, sending Esteban Moctezuma the following message: "See you in hell". Conflicting signals got strengthened in favor of a fast military solution. The facts seemed to confirm Manuel Camacho Solis June 16, 1994, accusations that the reason for his resignation as the Chiapas Peace Commissioner, was due to sabotage done by the presidential candidate Ernesto Zedillo.

Under the big political pressure of a highly radicalized situation Mexico Secretary of the Interior Lic. Esteban Moctezuma believed a peaceful solution was possible, he champion to reach a peacefully negotiated solution to the 1995 Zapatista Crisis betting it all on a creative strategy to reestablish the Mexican Government Zapatista Army of National Liberation dialog to search for peace by demonstrating Marcos natural peace vocation and the terrible consequences of a military solution. Making a strong position against the February 9 actions against Peace, Secretary of the Interior Esteban Moctezuma defender of a political solution, to the 1995 Zapatista Crisis submit his resignation to the President Ernesto Zedillo which he does not accept it and asks the Secretary of the Interior Esteban Moctezuma to try the improbable task of restoring the Conditions for dialog to reach a negotiation. For these foregoing reasons the Mexican army, ease actions, giving an opportunity that Marcos capitalized to escape the military site em placed in the Lacandon Jungle. Faced with this situation, Max Appedole, Rafael Guillén, childhood friend and colleague, at the Jesuits College Instituto Cultural Tampico asked for help from Edén Pastora the legendary Nicaraguan "Commander Zero" to prepare a report for under-Secretary of the Interior Luis Maldonado; the Secretary of the Interior Esteban Moctezuma and the President Ernesto Zedillo about Marcos natural pacifist vocation and the terrible consequences of a tragic outcome. »[20] The document concluded that the marginalized groups and the radical left that exist in México, have been vented with the Zapatistas movement, while Marcos maintains an open negotiating track. Eliminate Marcos and his social containment work will not only would cease, but will give opportunity to the radical groups to take control of the movement. They will response to violence with violence. They would begin the terrorist bombings, kidnappings and belligerent activities. The country would be in a very dangerous spiral, which could lead to very serious situations because not only there is discomfort in Chiapas, but in many places in Mexico. »[21]

Presidential Decree for the Dialog, the Reconciliation, and a peace with dignity in Chiapas Law[edit]

On March 10, 1995 President Ernesto Zedillo and Secretary of the Interior Esteban Moctezuma sign the Presidential Decree for the Dialog, the Reconciliation and a peace with dignity in Chiapas Law. It was discussed and approved by the Mexican Congress. »[22]

Restoration of the peace talks[edit]

It was the night of April 3, 1995, precisely at 8:55 pm when the first meeting between representatives of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation which had declared war on the Mexican State the first minute of 1994, and the representatives of the government of President Ernesto Zedillo. His Secretary of Interior, Lic. Esteban Moctezuma, had sent a high rank officer, who delivered a letter to representatives of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, who did not lose radio communication, with Marcos. The letter expressed the Secretary of Interior commitment with a political path to resolve the conflict. The messenger was Luis Maldonado Mexico under Secretary of Interior. »[23] This was how the April 3, 1995, in Prado Pacayal, Chiapas a place located in the Lacandon Jungle near Ocosingo, the secret negotiations prior to restart the dialog between the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and the Mexican government were initiated, this happened with Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Batel as witness of honor for the negotiations between Marcos and Luis Maldonado, Mexico under Secretary of the Interior on behalf of Lic Esteban Moctezuma Mexico Secretary of the Interior. These negotiations took place with the purpose of establishing parameters and base for the peace dialog between the parties. After several days of unfruitful negotiations, without reaching any specific agreements, it was very early in the morning nonstop in to the next day., in a strategically calculated move, as a conclusion Luis Maldonado proposed a definitive suspension of hostilities and measures of distention always proportionally higher to the Mexican government to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation On his way out, Luis Maldonado said:

“If you do not accept this, it will be regretted not having made the installation of the formal dialog in the time established by the Peace Talks Law”.

Marcos took this as a direct threat, so he did no longer reply.

The Subcomandante Marcos gave a message to the Witness of Honor Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Batel: "You have been witness to the fact that we have not threatened or assaulted these people, they have been respected in their person, property, their liberty and life. You have witnessed that the Zapatista Army of National Liberation has a word and has honor; you have also been witness to our willingness to engage in dialog. Thank you for taking the trouble to come all the way down here and have contributed with your effort to a peaceful settlement of the conflict, we hope that you will continue contributing in this effort to avoid war and you and your family, continue accepting to be witnesses of honor in this dialog and negotiation process." Finally, he asked the witness of honor to accompany Secretary Moctezuma negotiator Luis Maldonado in his way out, all the way to Ocosingo, to verify they are leaving well and unharmed. (The April 7, 1995, meeting ended at 4:00 a.m.). »[24]


Without much hope of dialog, it was already in hostile conditions as the Secretary of Interior negotiator Luis Maldonado began his return to Mexico City. When passing by the Ejido San Miguel a patrol of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation beckons them to stop, surprised without even knowing what was happening, he was handed a radio, by means of which Mexico under-Secretary of Interior Luis Maldonado achieved with the Subcomandante Marcos the re-initiation of the Dialog with all the necessary agreements in accordance with the Law to start the formal Peace Talks dialog between the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and the Mexican government. The charismatic leader of the Zapatistas the Marcos led the Zapatistas movement to leave arms a side and start the dialog for a peace agreement. »[25] »[26]


By April 9, 1995, the Bases for the Dialog Protocol and the harmony, peace with justice and dignity agreement Negotiation between the Mexican Government and the Zapatistas got signed. On April 17, 1995, the Mexican Government appoints Marco Antonio Bernal as Peace Commissioner in Chiapas. »[27] the Mexican Government and the Zapatistas Peace Talks started in San Andrés Larráinzar on April 22, 1995. The Zapatistas rejected the Mexican Government proposal. Peace Talks Dialog re initiated on Jun 7, 1995 they agree with Alianza Cívica Nacional y the Convención Nacional Democrática to organize a national Consultation for Peace and Democracy. The Bases for the Dialog Protocol was re negotiated, in La Realidad Chiapas. October 12, 1995 Peace Talks Dialog is resumed in San Andres Larráinzar, Chiapas. »[28]

The other agenda[edit]

The rocky road to Peace between the Mexican Government and the Zapatistas were due mostly to the initiatives promoted by the PGR. On October 23, 1995, with the purpose to derail the Peace Talks Dialog, the PGR arrested and send Fernando Yañez Muñoz to prison. Once again, not only the Peace Talks got seriously disturbed this actions violated the governing peace talks Law which granted guarantee of free passage to all of the Zapatistas during the negotiations and suspends all the arrest warrants against any of them. On 26 October 1995, the Zapatista National Liberation Army denied any association with Fernando Yañez Muñoz; Announces a Red Alert. Marcos returns to the mountains. On 26 October 1995, the PGR drops all charges against the alleged Comandante German. The COCOPA agreed with the determination. The next day on 27 October 1995 Fernando Yañez Muñoz was freed from the Reclusorio Preventivo Oriente. »[29]

"I was arrested for political reasons and I guess I am set free for political reasons, my arrest was with the objective purpose of sabotaging the peace talks "

Yanez said to the press. »[30] The next day on 29 October 1995. The Zapatistas lifts the Red Alert and the negotiations where re installed.

Secret meetings[edit]

Steps Toward Peace

In contrast with many other talks, with a broad media exposure, strong security measures and great ceremony. Secretary of the Interior Esteban Moctezuma, went for the secret talks, alone, without any security measures, without the reflectors glitter, which could disrupt the talks, so he went to find a solution in the Lacandon Jungle to meet with Marcos. Important agreements were reached between the two, they called them: Steps Toward Peace. They demonstrated their sense of will, affinities and confidence where dispensed with a mutual respect and a significant track of understanding got established. When the 1995 Zapatista Crisis started, it paved the way for what then where call

Secret Negotiations

To which under-Secretary of Interior Luis Maldonado attended to find a solution, alone, without any security measures, or media coverage, he went to the Lacandon Jungle to negotiate with Marcos and that he did, Luis Maldonado restored the conditions for the Peace Talks. These simple acts of courage, determination and confidence, were later matched by Marcos probing to be useful to help keep the faith in the works for a peace solution, through negotiation, champion by Esteban Moctezuma, from the Mexican Secretary of Interior during the series of clashes promoted by the PGR to derail peace.

The San Andrés Accords[edit]

On 16 February 1996, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation and Mexican government, signed The San Andrés Accords. With the Terms of Peace and the Constitutional change that guarantees the rights to the Indigenous peoples of Mexico. Approved by the Commission on Concordance and Pacification COCOPA, a bicameral Legislative Commission formed in March 1995 by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, integrated by Deputies and Senators, of all the political Parties in Mexico to assist in the peace dialog process in the context of the 1995 Zapatista Crisis.

With delegates from 42 countries. On 27 July 1996, the EZLN organized the First Intercontinental Gathering for Humanity and against neoliberal practice.

Executive decision[edit]

Time showed that the fight against a military solution to the conflict and the strategy to achieve a peaceful solution to the 1995 Zapatista Crisis was legal, politically and honorably correct, saving many lives in México. After a rocky start because of conflicting intelligence that caused the 1995 Zapatista Crisis President Ernesto Zedillo was heading to a Military solution, and when the intelligence issue was cleared, confirming that Subcomandante Marcos was no terrorist but a pacifist by nature, as well as all the other conclusions that Secretary of Interior Esteban Moctezuma also gave to the President Ernesto Zedillo with the purpose of trying to avoid a bloodbath of the Mexican indigenous people, as well to prevent other also terrible repercussions of an immoral and unnecessary tragic outcome.

President Ernesto Zedillo to avoid innocent blood shedding, change course of action doing the opposite of his February 9, 1995, television appearance. For that Zedillo endured heavy political criticism at the time, he demonstrate humility of a Man of State, President Ernesto Zedillo did not accept Secretary of Interior Esteban Moctezuma resignation and ask him to restore Dialog conditions to achieve a peaceful solution to the 1995 Zapatista Crisis. On March 10, 1995 President Ernesto Zedillo and Secretary of Interior Esteban Moctezuma sign the Presidential Decree for the Dialog, the Reconciliation and a peace with dignity in Chiapas Law. the governing Law that warrant to have only one agenda in all of President Zedillo Administration, as well the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional to achieve an honorable Peace and it is now a universal reference and example of respect to people honor and dignity.

Release of the prisoners[edit]

On appeal, the Court dismisses the previous condemnatory Sentence for the alleged Zapatistas Javier Elorriaga Berdegué and Sebastian Etzin Gomez given on May 2, 1996, for the crime of terrorism, with 13 and 6 years of imprisonment respectively and they were released on June 6, 1996. »[31] The EZLN suspends their troops Alert Status.