Title:  The Zapatista Revolution

Grade Level: 9-12

Subject(s):  Spanish, Government

Overview:  A study of the 1994 Zapatista revolution that changed the political landscape of current Mexico.

Purpose:  Students will learn about the various perspectives and players in the 1994 revolution in Southern Mexico through participation in a forum/press conference.



  1. Internet accessibility is necessary for students to conduct research.
  2. Video camera for taping the press conference.

Activities and Procedures:

  1. Read the Zapatista Communique and, if possible, watch the video Zapatista (see Related Links page).  What are the reasons given for the revolution?  Who do you think this would upset?  
  2. Students are divided into 6 groups; the US government, International Business Interests, the Ejercito Zapatista Liberacion Nacional (EZLN), the paramilitary group “Paz y Justicia”, the Mexican government, and the Catholic Church.
  3. Group members are assigned Group Roles for Press Conference
  4. Groups should be given several days to research the positions of each of these groups.
  5. Press Conference:  Actors sit in front, with PR Agents behind them.  Reporters and artists sit in the audience.  Artists take notes on what is said.  Begin with opening statements from each group, then allow reporters to ask questions.  After the debate has run its course or time is up, have actors make closing statements.   

Tying It Together:

  1. Follow-up:  Discuss what happened/what was learned at the press conference.
  2. After conducting online research and holding the conference, ask students: How was the Internet a powerful tool in this revolution?  How does the Internet, used as a revolutionary tool, allow movements to be stronger?