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Rosset, Peter. Understanding The Chiapas Revolt In Mexico. Third World Network 228, Macalister Road, 10400 Penang, Malaysia.

The Chiapas is a region in Mexico that was divided by racism and by rich and poor. The Mayan Indians lived here in wood slat and mud houses with dirt floors. Eight to ten people slept together in one room on 3 or 4 beds. Most had access to only dirty water from a nearby stream for cooking, cleaning, and drinking, and for dumping their own waste. Children died from dehydration, diarrhea, tuberculoses, or some other curable disease

The arrival of the Spanish ushered in a period of 500 years during which the Mayans were pushed off their land by the Ladinos. The indigenous people of Chiapas were forced to move to the thin, rocky slopes of the highlands, and also to the nearby lower elevation levels. They became the poorest and most desperate people in all of Mexico. President Carlos Salinas had an anti-poverty plan but never reached the Chiapas people in the highlands, which sparked attitudes of rebellion. In the nearby countries there was an economic oil boom that gave the Mayans jobs and had to move down from the highlands. The decrease in farming activity gave the soil time to rebuild itself. When the Mayans returned to the highlands when their jobs were over, they brought back the money they had saved, and a taste for modern technology. The Mayans learned to use chemicals and fertilizers, which they never used before, that contributed greatly to the success of the crop growth in the highlands

After many years, on New Years Eve, 1993 the state of Chiapas was attacked by the Zapatista guerrilla army. They took over that and the 5 neighboring cities of the Chiapas highlands. There army was incredibly strong and was uniquely made up of young adults and teenagers from the ethnic Mayan groups of the highlands.

I chose this article because the conflict of racism and segregation between the lower and upper classes is still a problem that is prevalent today. It also vividly describes the life and cultures that were existing in the past, which can affect the future and how we live our lives todayThe central issue of the article is the conflict between the Mayans and their oppressors. They were forced to leave their homes and adapt to different living environments they weren't used to before

The underlying issues of this article are the reasons behind the Chiapas rebellion and what events led them to their revolt. Another issue this article talks about is the consequence of the success in crop growth in the Chiapas highlands. This has increased the soil erosion as the heavy rains wash away the earth that is barely protected by annual crops. This degradation of the land and loss of soil fertility lowers the ability of the land, contributing to the tendency toward outward migration.

The region of Chiapas, the surrounding cities, and the countries involved with the economic oil boom are most affected by this. The country of Mexico and it's leaders were the main attributers to the Chiapas revolt


  1. What are the similarities and differences between the Chiapas culture and ours [today]?
  2. What significant events occured in 1993 and how did it drastically change the life of the Chiapas?
  3. How did the economic boom in the oil fields contribute to the new agricultural success of the Chaipas in the Highlands
  4. What do you percieve to be the main issues of this article and why?
  5. How did the agricultural success of the Highlands have a ngatie effect on the people and what did they do?

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