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Gran Lucha
Part of War of National Liberation
Gran Lucha
Subcomandante Marcos along with a Zapatista unit mobilizing in Chiapas, Mexico.
Date 1-12 January, 1994
Location Chiapas, Mexico
Belligerents
Zapatista Army of National Liberation Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) Mexico Armed Forces of Mexico
Commanders
Comandante Hugo†

Comandante Ramona
Subcomandante Marcos

Miguel Ángel

Godínez Bravo
Alberto Martínez Herrera

Strength
3,000 1,780 troops
560 police
Casualties and losses
1,985 56 troops
141 police

The Gran Lucha (English: Great Struggle) is considered the beginning of the War of National Liberation.

On the morning of January 1 1994, an estimated 3,000 armed Zapatista insurgents seized towns and cities in Chiapas, including Ocosingo, Las Margaritas, Huixtan, Oxchuc, Rancho Nuevo, Altamirano, and Chanal. They freed the prisoners in the jail of San Cristóbal de las Casas, and set fire to several police buildings and military barracks in the area. The guerrillas enjoyed brief success, but the next day Mexican army forces counter-attacked and fierce fighting broke out in and around the market of Ocosingo. The Zapatista forces took heavy casualties, and retreated from the city into the surrounding jungle.

Armed clashes in Chiapas ended on January 12, 1994, with a ceasefire brokered by the Catholic diocese in San Cristóbal de las Casas under Bishop Samuel Ruiz, a well known liberation theologian. Some of the land taken over by the Zapatistas in 1994 was retained, but the territory they held militarily for a little more than a year was overrun by the Mexican army in a surprise ceasefire breach in February 1995. The Zapatista villages were mostly abandoned following the offensive, and the rebels fled into the mountains after breaking out of the Mexican army perimeter.

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