This article discusses the development of the strategic communications of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, the EZLN, between 1994 and 1996. During this period, the Zapatista movement transformed from a group focused on armed struggle into a social movement. The EZLN used rhetorical and communications strategies, not only to construct group identity but as a way to pressure the Mexican government into guaranteeing their rights as citizens and as an indigenous minority. The article also reflects on the discursive strategies employed by the group’s main leader, Subcomandante Marcos, and on the Zapatistas’ narratives and the structure of the communications they disseminated to their worldwide network of committees connected through the internet. 

Keywords—strategic communications, speech and power, Zapatistas, EZLN, guerilla 

About the Authors 

Dr Tássio Franchi is a Lecturer at the Brazilian Army Command and Staff College (ECEME). He holds a PhD in Sustainable Development, University of Brasília (UnB), and is the coordinator of the Frontier Borders and Emerging Threats Project.

Dr Leonardo Perin Vichi is an Associate Researcher at the Naval War School (EGN) with a PhD in Social History from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)/Freie Universität Berlin (FUB). He is the Coordinator of the line of defense in the Nucleus of Strategic Studies in Defense and Security of the Department of Physics of the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar). 


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