RealNews

Mexico Seen Signing Peace in Chiapas by 2006

Having failed to make major progress on a peace deal with Zapatista rebels, Mexico is pinning its hopes on the rebels’ move away from armed conflict and toward limited self-government. Mexico’s Indian affairs officer, Xochitl Galvez, applauded the Zapatistas’ idea of setting so-called good government committees empowered to raise taxes and said she expected a peace deal by 2006. The Zapatista National Liberation Army, or EZLN, announced this month it would set up the independent local governments in villages they control in the southern state of Chiapas while closing some rebel checkpoints. The committees, which consist of local indigenous leaders, were put in place days ago. “The EZLN’s bet on the political route is something a lot of us have been hoping for,” Galvez told Reuters in an interview this week. Critics say the committees, whose activities will include collecting taxes to pay for their daily expenditures, settling local disputes and distributing aid, are illegal because they are not elected to govern or empowered to raise taxes. “They probably do break the law, but who ever questioned when the law was broken by not guaranteeing Indians their rights to health or education?” said Galvez, who is of Hnahnu, or Otomi, Indian descent. Full Story

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