The Zapatista indigenous rebellion in Chiapas is inspiring other aboriginal and impoverished Mexicans to make similar demands for social change.

Peasants throughout Chiapas have followed the Zapatista example by forcibly taking over lands owned by wealthy ranchers. Wherever they have encountered resistance from death squads hired by the ranchers, they have disarmed the hired guns.

In the southern Mexican city of Oaxaca, the radical teachers’ union recently organized a caravan of buses and trucks that left for Chiapas carrying donated supplies and a list of demands mirroring those of the Zapatistas. They want Zapatista negotiators to raise their demands in ongoing talks with the Mexican government. The demands dealt with issues ranging from badly needed road-paving to schools to health clinics.

Other groups, like fired sugar-refinery workers in Michoacan state, are also passing on their demands to the Zapatistas.

But behind the demands is a growing belief that outright rebellion is the answer to the problems of Mexico, says a report in the Globe and Mail. “In all of the region, it is known that people are training,” said a teacher from Oaxaca. “If the government does not respond, people will rise up.”

Peasant leaders said more uprisings are inevitable if there is any fraud in the presidential election in August.