On the different market places in San Cristóbal we see a lot of different handmade toys… wooden whirlabouts, patchwork animals, colorful little dolls on pens and clothespins but also some dolls dressed like guerilla, black clothes, riffle, bullet belt crossed over the chest and even with black cap so you can just see the dolls’ eyes. We find it strange when kids try to sell them to us. At the same time we are looking at T-shirts, military caps, flags and such with guerilla warriors and symbols on it… it seems so strange the idea that somebody would buy a T-shirt saying: “I’m Marcos” with a print of a pipe-smoking-face-hiding-warrior. So we ask ourselves:” Who is Marcos?”
Subcomandante Marcos or Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos is the war name used by the main ideologist, spokesperson and de facto leader of the EZLN which stands for: Zapatista Army of National Liberation, a Mexican rebel movement, with an international echo, fighting for the rights of the indigenous people of Mexico. Just an example how big enterprises are acting in countries such as Mexico: Mexico has the biggest Coca-Cola factory of Latin America and in order to produce, the company bought springs in Chiapas near the capital San Cristóbal leaving literally several villages without water. Selling now to those villages the same water in bottles together with of course the rest of their products. So on 1 January 1994, when the U.S.–Mexico–Canada free trade agreement became effective, Subcommander Marcos led an army of Mayan farmers into eastern Chiapas state, to protest the Mexican federal government’s mistreatment of the nation’s indigenous people. ‘Marcos’, formal philosophy teacher is also a writer, a political poet, and an anti-capitalist who advocates the amendment of the Political Constitution of Mexico to formally and specifically recognize the political and the human rights of Mexico’s indigenous people. Journalists have described Marcos as both a post-modern and new Che Guevara. In his military capacity as a Subcommander of the Zapatista Army, his pseudonym ‘Marcos’ is that of a friend killed at a military road-block checkpoint. In his political capacity, he is known as ‘Delegate Zero’ for his participation in the affairs of ‘The other Campaign’, concerning the communitarian autonomy and the socio-political rights of the indigenous people of Mexico. Marcos defends the ‘Declaration de la Selva Lacandona’ which established: “…the right to work, land, roof, alimentation, health, education, independence, freedom, democracy, justice and peace.”
Here in Chiapas people we spoke with, state that Subcomandante Marcos nowadays does not exist as a physical person, in fact every time he appears on television with balaclava (not shure of the word) making announcements or statements it is another person, sometimes Marcos is even a woman. In his words: “Marcos es gay en San Francisco, negro en Sudáfrica, asiático en Europa, chicano en San Ysidro, anarquista en España, palestino en Israel, indígena en las calles de San Cristóbal, chavo banda en Neza, rockero en CU, judío en Alemania nazi, ombudsman en la Sedena, feminista en los partidos políticos, comunista en la posguerra fría, preso en Cintalapa, pacifista en Bosnia, mapuche en los Andes, maestro de la CNTE, artista sin galería ni portafolios, ama de casa un sábado por la noche en cualquier colonia de cualquier ciudad de cualquier México, guerrillero en el México de fin del siglo XX, huelguista en la CTM, reportero de nota de relleno en interiores, machista en el movimiento feminista, mujer sola en el metro a las 10 p.m., jubilado en plantón en el Zócalo, campesino sin tierra, editor marginal, obrero desempleado, médico sin plaza, estudiante inconforme, disidente en el neoliberalismo, escritor sin libros ni lectores, y, es seguro, zapatista en el sureste mexicano.”(May 28, 1994)
Marcos has altered the course of Mexican politics and emerged an international symbol of grassroots movement-building, rebellion, and democracy. Marcos is a symbol, a trademark, a label, a brand, a mark of identification, a human being in any part of the world. Marcos is all the untolerated minorities, oppressed, resisting, exploited, saying “Enough!” All minorities when they have to speak and every majority that must shut up, listen and put up with it. Everything that bothers or incommodes the authorities and the healthy consciences… is Marcos. The pride of the indigenous people of Mexico printed on T-shirts.
(Marcos published over 30 books traduced in several languages… ‘Our Word is Our Weapon’, introduced by Nobel Prize winner José Saramago and ‘The Uncomfortable Death’…are well worthed lecture!)