Since its implementation in 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has had a devastating impact on our partners and the people of Mexico. The trade agreement has resulted in the destruction of rural livelihoods and the environment, a decrease in jobs and wages, more economic and social inequalities and an increase in human rights violations.
On New Year’s Day, 20 years ago, a group of indigenous peoples, known as the Zapatistas, occupied several municipalities of the state of Chiapas, Mexico. Not coincidentally, that same day the North American Free Trade Agreement went into effect. The Zapatistas considered the free trade agreement and the neoliberal political system that spawned it to be a death sentence for indigenous peoples in Mexico. The magnitude of the Zapatista uprising was due to the participation of different indigenous groups which joined forces to change a system that was marginalizing and exploiting them.