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 Words in the News
 The Zapatista uprising in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas began in 1994, aiming to gain improved living conditions and better rights for the country's 10 million indigenous Indian peasants. A large group of Zapatista supporters has marched on the capital, Mexico City. Mexico's congress made a proposal for opening peace talks. But the Zapatista commander, Subcomandante Marcos, has rejected the proposal.
BBC Latin America correspondent Peter Greste reports.
  AudioListen to the report in full
Zapatista  poster

15th March 2001

Zapatistas in Mexico City

 AudioListen to the first part of the report
  Ever since the Zapatista delegation arrived in Mexico City on Sunday after their two week road trip through the country, the political sparring has been underway. On Monday, the congressional peace negotiating committee presented its plan for the next stage in the peace process; a meeting with a delegation of twenty legislators.

That's ten from the congress and ten from the senate. Now the Zapatista leader has slammed the idea as 'ridiculous.' Sub-Commandante Marcos said the proposal was 'humiliating and undignified, and it treats us as second-class citizens.' And he said it's necessary to remember that the laws are made by the entire congress, and not just a handful of congressmen.
  AudioListen to the words

Ever since...after...has been underway: these words show the sequence of events - 1) two week journey to capital 2) arrived in Mexico city 3) political sparring. (To spar is to box using gentle blows, as when training.)

congressional peace negotiating committee: a committee made up of members of congress appointed to obtain peace through discussions

slammed: criticised severely

treats us as second-class citizens: the proposal makes it seem that they do not have the rights of full citizens

handful: a small number

NEWS 2  AudioListen to the second part of the report
  Instead, the rebel commander repeated the Zapatistas' demand that they be allowed to argue their case directly and personally to the full congress itself. The Zapatistas' central line is to get a package of laws protecting indigenous rights and culture written into the constitution. But some of the lawmakers object to having masked rebels who've declared war on the state present themselves in the heart of government.

Others say the Zapatistas' proposals threaten the very stability of Mexico. But the rebels remain determined. Their arrival in Mexico City represents a turning point in their struggle for indigenous rights. It's a fight that began with their armed uprising in the impoverished southern state of Chiapas in 1994. And now they're here in the capital they insist they won't leave until the legislation they want is in place.
  AudioListen to the words

that they be allowed: that they should have permission

line: the line that someone has towards a problem or topic is the attitude or policy they have towards it

a package of laws: a set of laws

to get....written into the constitution: to ensure that the constitution includes laws protecting the rights of the original inhabitants

masked rebels: rebels are people who fight aghainst their own country's authorities in order to change the political system: they wear masks to fide their identities

turning point: a time at which an event occurs which affects the future of that person or thing

armed uprising: when there is an uprising a group of people start fighting against the people who are in power in their country

in place: here, that the laws have been approved

  Read about the background in BBC News Online

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