February 17, 1996 in Nation/World

Steps Made Toward Peace In Chiapas

From Staff And Wire Reports

After two years of sputtering peace efforts, negotiators on Friday signed an agreement to amend the nation’s constitution for greater Indian rights.

The agreement, signed by government and rebel negotiators, represents the most serious progress yet in resolving the issues that sparked an uprising in southern Mexico.

“This is a historic event,” said Deputy Juan Guerra, one of the congressmen serving on a mediation commission.

The three documents were the first agreements on anything other than holding talks since the Zapatista National Liberation Army rebelled on Jan. 1, 1994. The rebels are demanding greater rights for the nation’s impoverished Indians and more democracy for Mexico as a whole.

The signed documents call for amendments to both the national and Chiapas state constitutions to guarantee respect for Indian languages, culture and lands.

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