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As part of Aberdeen City Arts Board’s Autumn Series, in conjunction with the Shared Planet Society, Mike Valance from Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Campaign talks about the Mexican Zapatista Movement at Belmont Cinema Café.

Mike Valance has spent time in the Chiapas region with the Zapatistas and has a detailed knowledge of the workings and history of the movement.

He will be selling a selection of goods produced by the Zapatistas after the event, the proceeds of which will help fund various projects in the autonomous Zapatista zones in Chiapas.

Background: On the day the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was due to be implemented in 1994, a guerrilla force calling itself the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (the EZLN, or ‘Zapatistas’), stormed five towns in Mexico’s Chiapas, taking the Mexican government by surprise. The Mexican army promptly deployed 15,000 troops in Chiapas to crush the uprising, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and the execution of dozens of Zapatista prisoners.

The influx of Mexican troops was matched, however, by an influx of journalists, political activists and human rights workers from all over Mexico. News of the rebellion, and of the living conditions of many of the indigenous people, swiftly filtered out via the media and solidarity demonstrations subsequently took place all over Mexico, North America and the world.

Mexico’s business and political elite was terrified of the effect of the uprising on their NAFTA trading partners, and within 12 days a ceasefire was called with negotiations due to start in early February 1994. Mike will explore those beginnings and discuss the progress the movement has made over the last 18 years.

For more Info on the Chiapas Solidarity Campaign and the Zapatista Movement please see:

The talk takes place on Sunday 09 December from 2pm at Belmont Cinema Café.