Zapatistas Will Tour Mexico to Unite Leftists
- 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.
Jun. 30, 2005. 10:21 AM
Rebels in shorts? That will be hard to take seriously
Inter to promote Zapatista cause?
by CATHAL KELLY
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
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."
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
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.
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