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Zapatistas Will Tour Mexico to Unite Leftists

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo ***** Zapatistas will tour Mexico to unite leftists 30.06.2005 -- 22:16 MEXICO
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 30, 2005
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      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:


      Zapatistas will tour Mexico to unite leftists
      30.06.2005 -- 22:16
      MEXICO CITY (Reuters)

      Mexico's armed Zapatista rebels will leave their jungle
      stronghold on a cross-country tour to rally support for a
      leftist agenda before the 2006 presidential race, the group
      said on Thursday.

      The rebel army will send a delegation across the country to
      try to unite leftist workers, students and activists,
      formulate a new system of government and write a new
      Constitution, Zapatista leader Subcommander Marcos said in a

      The announcement should end some of the speculation swirling
      around the rebels since they put their forces on "red alert"
      last week to assess their future.

      The Zapatistas plan no armed attacks and will not call
      others to arms, Marcos said, though he gave no indication
      that they would lay down their weapons.

      "From La Realidad to Tijuana we will seek those who want to
      organize, to struggle, to build perhaps the last hope of
      this nation," said the enigmatic rebel leader who shot to
      fame more than a decade ago behind a black ski mask.

      He did not say when the Zapatista tour would leave the
      stronghold village of La Realidad, in the jungle area of
      Chiapas in southern Mexico where they have been in hiding
      for years. Other details were vague.

      The Zapatistas shocked the world when they emerged from the
      jungle on New Years Day 1994 and declared war on the Mexican
      government to demand indigenous rights.

      About 150 people died as they seized towns and clashed with
      security forces, but there has been little fighting since
      then and the rebels have turned increasingly to civic action.

      In 2001 they criss-crossed Mexico in a two-week tour to drum
      up support for an Indian rights bill, riding in luxury
      buses, being received like rock stars and drawing some
      100,000 supporters to Mexico City's main square.

      Mexican President Vicente Fox said this week he hoped to
      work with the Zapatistas to bring them into mainstream
      politics as one possible route to reviving peace talks.

      But Marcos' latest missive was peppered with anti-capitalist
      references and called on activists outside established
      political parties to join the movement, seeming to confirm
      the rebels' avowed refusal to join electoral politics.

      The aim, Marcos said, is "to construct from below an
      alternative to neoliberal destruction and a leftist
      alternative for Mexico."

      He has harshly criticized Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel
      Lopez Obrador, a leftist who is now the frontrunner for
      president, likening him to reviled ex-President Carlos
      Salinas who was in power when the Zapatistas rose up.

      Fox's 2000 election raised hopes the Zapatistas would return
      to peace talks. But in 2001 the Congress gutted the Indian
      rights bill sought by the rebels and they have since been
      holed up in the jungle.


      Toronto Star
      Jun. 30, 2005. 10:21 AM
      Rebels in shorts? That will be hard to take seriously
      Inter to promote Zapatista cause?

      Internazionale of Milan and the Zapatista Army of National
      Liberation are set to stage the footballing friendly of the
      summer, once they can agree on a site, the lineups and where
      to put the transsexual cheerleaders.

      It may seem strange -- professionals versus revolutionaries
      -- but the Italian superclub and the Mexican armed rebels
      have traded letters in recent weeks mutually affirming their
      desire to play. And while Inter and its coach Roberto
      Mancini have been customarily close-mouthed about their
      plans, the Zapatistas have been gushing with pre-match

      In a note to Inter president Massimo Moratti, Subcommandante
      Marcos -- the masked, pipe-smoking Zapatista leader -- wrote
      that he has been "unanimously designated head coach."

      Marcos plans an unorthodox deployment. Rather than the
      "traditional 4-2-4 (sic)", he has crafted a "confusing"
      1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 arrangement. Lining the team up single
      file down the centre of the field may expose his flanks
      unnecessarily. Maybe that's the confusing part. Didn't the
      comrades ask a few skill-testing questions before electing
      their coach?

      Local conditions may also prove a factor. Should the
      Zapatistas play in their usual outfits -- fatigues and
      balaclavas -- during the Mexican summer, they may wilt in
      the second half. Do the Zapatistas own shorts? It is hard to
      be taken seriously as a revolutionary in short pants.

      More bizarre is this suggestion by Marcos.

      "(We) would ask the national lesbian-gay community,
      especially transvestites and transsexuals, to organize
      themselves and to amuse the respectable with ingenious
      pirouettes during the games in Mexico.

      "That way, in addition to prompting TV censorship,
      scandalizing the ultra-right and disconcerting the Inter
      ranks, they raise the morale and spirits of our team."

      Oh my.

      The whole strange saga was reportedly set in motion by
      Inter's Argentine midfielder Javier Zanetti.

      At Zanetti's suggestion, the fines levied against Inter
      players for showing up late or using cell phones in the
      dressing room -- about $7,500 (Canadian) -- were donated to
      the rebel group's charitable operations. The Zapatistas are
      based in Mexico's Chiapas province, one of the country's
      poorest areas. Aside from an initial rebellion in 1994, the
      Zapatistas are known primarily as activists, rather than
      violent insurgents.

      Lines of communication were opened. The club sent an
      emissary with soccer equipment to the region. Zanetti
      praised the rebels in their "struggle to maintain your roots
      and fight for your ideals."

      Subcommandante Marcos then issued his challenge.

      "Given the affection we have for you, we're not planning to
      submerge you in goals," the wily Marcos wrote. "As we wait
      for your reply, we'll continue with our rigorous training

      Moratti replied seriously, "We will play." Zanetti has also
      signed on to the idea.

      Of course, the whole thing is a public relations exercise,
      designed to raise awareness of the Zapatista cause. The
      world likes a peasant revolutionary with a sense of humour
      more than one with a rocket launcher.

      However, Inter has a lot to gain from the stunt, as Moratti
      plainly realizes. It's been a disappointing year for the
      Nerazzurro by their lofty standards.

      Italian rivals Milan and Juventus outpaced them. A
      disastrous fan eruption during a Champions League derby --
      in which Milan keeper Dida was struck by a flare thrown by
      Inter fans -- resulted in a harsh ban.

      Winning the Coppa Italia helped, but Inter needed a morale
      boost. Zanetti and Moratti provided one.

      "Football can be an instrument for achieving important
      objectives," Moratti wrote to Marcos. "But it is something
      that turns us all into children and all into equals."

      That's a nice line to end Inter's year, and a fantastic
      sentiment with which to start anew.


      Dan Clore

      Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
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