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Marcos Takes Spotlight in Mexico

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  • Clore Daniel C
    News for Anarchists & Activists: http://www.egroups.com/group/smygo Rebel Steals Mexican s Spotlight By Kevin Sullivan Washington Post Foreign Service Friday ,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2000
      News for Anarchists & Activists:

      Rebel Steals Mexican's Spotlight

      By Kevin Sullivan
      Washington Post Foreign Service
      Friday , December 1, 2000 ; Page A28

      MEXICO CITY, Nov. 30 –– The Mexican guerrilla leader known
      as Subcommander Marcos has surfaced on the eve of
      President-elect Vicente Fox's inauguration, blasting
      outgoing President Ernesto Zedillo as a "nightmare" and
      threatening to provide Fox with the first major challenge of
      his presidency.

      In an open letter to Zedillo written from Marcos's hideout
      in "the mountains of southeast Mexico," the ski-masked rebel
      leader accused Zedillo of aggravating the six-year-old rebel
      uprising in Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost state on the
      border with Guatemala.

      Marcos said Zedillo waged war rather than negotiating with
      the rebels, specifically blaming Zedillo for the massacre of
      45 indigenous women and children by paramilitary units in
      the town of Acteal in December 1997.

      "You did everything you could to destroy us, and we
      resisted," wrote Marcos, who had made no public statements
      since Fox was elected July 2. "You will go into exile, and
      we are still here."

      Marcos has reappeared on the public scene at a delicate time
      for Fox, as heads of state and business leaders from around
      the world arrive for his inauguration Friday.

      Fox has pledged to resolve the Chiapas conflict. Immediately
      after his swearing-in, he is expected to announce a partial
      withdrawal of army troops from the conflict area, as well as
      economic aid for Chiapas's impoverished Indians. Fox also
      intends to announce government support for a 1994 peace
      accord with the rebels that Zedillo's government failed to

      But while Marcos offered no criticism of Fox in his letter,
      he offered no support either, despite Fox's repeated pledges
      to negotiate with his Zapatista rebels. "For us, the
      nightmare ends today," Marcos said of Zedillo's term.
      "Another could follow, or it could be a new dawn."

      Fox has been criticized for raising public expectations
      unrealistically with promises on a broad range of issues,
      including Chiapas. A rebuke by Marcos could add to Fox's
      problems in his first days in office.

      "It's really going to be the first challenge to his campaign
      promises," said Beatriz Mariscal Hay, a professor at Colegio
      de Mexico.

      On a weekend when Fox will be crisscrossing the country
      celebrating his inauguration, Marcos, who has a flair for
      the dramatic, has stolen some of Fox's thunder by inviting
      the media to a news conference in the Chiapas jungle on
      Saturday afternoon.

      Fox will use part of his inaugural address to respond to
      Marcos's letter, said Luis H. Alvarez, Fox's adviser on the
      Chiapas conflict. Alvarez praised Marcos and the Zapatistas
      for keeping the plight of Mexico's indigenous people in the
      public eye. "We have to keep in mind our obligation to
      lighten the load for millions of our Mexican brothers," he

      The rebels have lost considerable public support since they
      began their movement with an armed uprising in Chiapas on
      New Year's Day 1994. While many Mexicans remain sympathetic
      to the issues that led to the uprising--particularly the
      extreme poverty in much of the state--Marcos and his rebels
      have lost much of the romantic luster they once had. Many
      Mexicans simply want the conflict resolved.

      Still, human rights groups say violence in Chiapas has
      worsened since the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or
      PRI, was toppled in the July elections. Fox is the first
      non-PRI president in 71 years, and Chiapas also elected its
      first non-PRI governor in decades, Pablo Salazar, who takes
      office Dec. 8.

      "There is clear evidence that the situation in Chiapas is
      rapidly deteriorating," Amnesty International said recently.
      "Entire communities have been displaced, and many people
      within the region have seen their loved ones face violent
      death, arbitrary detention, torture, disappearance and death

      Human rights activist Sylvia Aguilera Garcia said that many
      of the paramilitary groups responsible for the worst
      violence in the Chiapas conflict have been controlled by the
      PRI. Now that the party is no longer in power, "We are
      afraid there will be no control over paramilitary groups,"
      she said.

      Dan Clore

      The Website of Lord Weÿrdgliffe:
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