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The Awakening: The Zapatista Revolt and Its Implications for Civil-Military Relations and the Future of Mexico.
ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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This study examines the origins and nature of the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, the response of the Mexican government and military, and the implications for civil-military relations and the future of Mexico. It places the armed forces reaction within the context of the institutions response to the countrys accelerated transition to democracy and analyzes the implications of that democratization for the army. The main findings are as follows The Zapatista rebellion is not primarily a military problem. Rather, it is the product of a convergence of economic, social and political problems that exist not only in Chiapas but in much of rural Mexico. Unlike most traditional guerrilla movements, the Zapatista National Liberation Army EZLN does not seek to destroy the state or take power itself, but rather to force a democratic opening. Nevertheless, since the breakdown of peace talks last spring, there has been little progress in terms of defusing a potentially explosive situation. It is also imperative that the process of national political reform be deepened and consolidated, for without democratization other gains will likely prove ephemeral. Due to a massive intelligence failure, the Zapatista uprising caught the Salinas administration by surprise. The acceleration of democratization has also strained civil-military relations, resulting in a certain amount of mutual distancing between the army and the government. In spite of Chiapas, the mission of the Mexican army will not change drastically in the foreseeable future.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE