Make your own free website on Tripod.com


Subcommander Marcos--who wants to make sure the smoke doesn't settle in his hair.


But seriously, Subcommander Marcos is thought be the pseudonym of either Rafael Guillen or Sebastian Guillen, and may be a university teacher. Marcos himself denies this, and keeps his identity secret. He is the spokesman for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), an armed revolutionary group based in Chiapas, one of the poorest states of Mexico. The EZLN claims to represents the rights of the indigenous population, but also sees itself and is seen as part of the wider anti-capitalist movement, fighting for democracy, peace and justice for all Mexicans, and for all people. The Zapatistas are consciously opposed to neoliberalism, the economic system attributed to the Mexican presidents from 1982 to 2000. The group takes its name from the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata; they see themselves as his ideological heir and the heir to 500 years of indigenous resistance against imperialism.

The EZLN break from the ordinary mold of revolutionary groups; except for the first two weeks of 1994, they aren't known to have used any weapons or bombs and have remained primarily in Chiapas. They refuse to use the normal channels Mexico provides to listen to demands and provide solutions--including running for public office or endorsing political parties. They say these channels have been ineffective for the indigenous and for everyone else for too much time (500 years, as they say), thus the EZLN motto: Ya Basta ("That's Enough"). A few times, some of their elements have publicly visited Mexico City, marching down the streets, doing press conferences and organizing seminars with the civilian population and some political parties. The great march to Mexico City, was also relatively peaceful, with some minor, mostly verbal, incidents. That's one of the reasons for its longevity and some popularity with the civilian population, another being the generally accepted justice of their cause-óbut disagreement with war.