February 10, 1999

Middlebury College Presents "Lacandona: The Zapatistas and Rainforest of Chiapas, Mexico" and a Discussion with Melissa Burch

Melissa Burch of the Action for Community and Ecology in the Rainforests of Central America (ACERCA) working group recently returned from Chiapas, Mexico, and will present the newly released video "Lcandona: The Zapatistas and Rainforests of Chiapas, Mexico" at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18 in the Warner Science Building Hemicycle on College Street (Route 125). The video explores the connections between politics and ecology and competing interests for natural resources in Mexico's southeastern state of Chiapas.

"The Zapatista's autonomy proposal, which includes autonomous control of territory and natural resources, represents a threat to the neoliberal model being promoted by Mexico's elite," said Burch. "There is a fundamental conflict in Chiapas between the indigenous world view in which economics and politics are subordinated to ethics and culture; and the western model in which everything bows to economics."

There will also be a discussion on the political, economic, and cultural factors that led to the emergence of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Burch will trace the recent development of the Zapatista movement and peace negotiations process and discuss the implications of the autonomy agreement, signed by the EZLN and the Mexican government. She will also elaborate on corporate interest in natural resources in the region, as well as current politics.

Burke's video tour begins Feb. 2 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and continues through Feb. 22 in various other venues in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont.

For more information for the Middlebury College event, contact student coordinator Dave Gurtman at 802-443-3698.