Zapatista Leader Emerges to Scorn Mexican Candidates
Rebel Leader Emerges to Scorn Mexican Candidates
# Marcos says he won't back any of the 'shameless
scoundrels' running for president.
SAN RAFAEL, Mexico Masked rebel leader Subcommander
Marcos emerged from the jungle for the first time in
four years Saturday to castigate Mexico's presidential
candidates as "shameless scoundrels" and said he would
back none in next year's election.
The Zapatista rebel leader's appearance at a meeting
of activists in southern Mexico's Chiapas state seemed
to be aimed at reclaiming a political role for the
rebels before the election next July.
"They'll pay for everything they have done to us. They
are a bunch of shameless scoundrels," Marcos said from
behind the black ski mask he has worn in public since
the Zapatistas first burst from the jungle in 1994.
"The decomposition of the political class is so great
that we can do nothing," said Marcos, smoking his
He reserved special ire for presidential front-runner
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a member of the
center-left Democratic Revolution Party, calling him a
false leftist. "They say, 'Maybe Lopez Obrador doesn't
steal.' But his team has shown its ability and
appetite to do so," Marcos said.
In a video widely broadcast last year, one of Lopez
Obrador's closest advisors was secretly filmed
accepting money and stuffing a briefcase full of cash.
Marcos has said the rebels will embark on a
cross-country tour aimed at uniting workers, students
and activists around a leftist agenda.
The Zapatistas shocked the world when they declared
war on the Mexican government and attacked police and
army positions on New Year's Day in 1994, demanding
rights for indigenous tribes.
About 150 people died as the rebels seized towns and
clashed with security forces in the first few days,
but there has been little fighting since then and the
Zapatistas have turned increasingly to civic action.
In 2001, they crisscrossed Mexico in a two-week tour
to drum up support for an Indian rights bill. They
were received like rock stars, were allowed to address
Congress and drew about 100,000 supporters to Mexico
City's main square.
Marcos' identity has never been confirmed, but he is
widely believed to be a non-Indian Mexican academic
and political activist.