Two of the most vibrant revolutionary movements in the world today are the Zapatista revolt in Chiapas, Mexico, which has been unfolding since 1994 (or a bit before), and the Bolivarian Revolution championed by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez since he was first elected in 1998.Each presents a distinctive set of practical goals, compelling visions, innovative political strategies, and striking short- and longer-term tactics. Each has mobilized broad constituencies at their grassroots, constructed a dense network of institutions and infrastructural organizations, and inspired strong international networks of support. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the two movements' origins, forms, visions, strategies, and tactics in order to draw up a comparative balance sheet of their success and failure to date, as well as to offer analysis of the future prospects of each, both in their own settings, and beyond. Through this comparative strategy we might be able to assess the experiences of chavismo and zapatismo along a spectrum running from revolutionary "common sense" to "the limits of the possible" (and maybe beyond).
Chiapas Revealed: Why are the Zapatistas Different? Download Revealed (Irish Mexico Group)