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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 11 May 2007 20:36:02 -0500 (CDT)
From: Sylvia Romo <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: En;GuardianUK,Man in Mask Returns,May 12

Man in the mask returns to change world with new coalition
and his own sexy novel


In a rare interview, Zapatista rebel chief Marcos warns US efforts to secure
its southern border are pushing his poor compatriots over the edge

Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Saturday May 12, 2007
The Guardian


Zapatista rebel leader Sub Comandante Marcos demonstrating outside the US
embassy in Mexico City in 2006. Photo: Moises Castillo/AP


A bead of sweat is visible through the eyehole of his famous
black balaclava. Latin America's most celebrated living
rebel must be feeling the heat, but a glass of water would mean taking off the
mask and that is out of the question. He makes do with a puff on his pipe, and
a subject that is close to his heart.

"My new book's coming out in June," Subcomandante
Marcos announces with relish during the first interview he has given to a
British paper in years. "There's no politics in the text this time. Just
sex. Pure pornography."

There has been a literary
component to Marcos's revolutionary persona ever since he led the ragtag
Zapatista indigenous army out of the jungle in the southern Mexican state of 
Chiapas
on New Year's Day 1994. It began with lyrical communiques on Mayan Indian
rights, passed through a stage of barbed sarcasm and scatological put-downs,
and recently included a crime novel featuring a rebel detective.

Fundraising

Now even his erotic imagination has been harnessed to the
Zapatista cause as a fundraiser. "I'm sure it will sell if we put a lot of
Xs on the cover."

Still, Marcos says that his next writing project will be a
work of political theory analysing the forces he believes are pushing Mexico
towards social upheaval. From dispossessed indigenous communities powerless to
stop dams and agribusiness destroying their lands, to street vendors evicted
from the capital's kerbs to make way for the retail magnates, he says the
country's poor and exploited are close to their limit.

The former orthodox Marxist-Leninist turned
anti-globalisation guru, who is not himself indigenous, predicts that the
subconscious power of the year 2010 - the 200th anniversary of the war of
independence and the 100th of Mexico's revolution - will ignite a fuse laid by
American efforts to secure the bilateral border, leaving millions unable to
escape to jobs in the north. "Mexico
will turn into a pressure cooker," he says. "And, believe me, it will
explode."

Marcos says that Mexico's
politicians, the media, and even earnest leftwing academics are oblivious to
the radicalisation he sees bubbling just under the surface. He points out that
they also had no idea that the reputedly docile indigenous population in Chiapas
was on the point of armed revolt 13 years ago. Not that the Zapatista rebellion
fitted the traditional mould of macho Latin American armed struggle, or Marcos
ever looked or sounded like rebel leaders elsewhere. Even the "sub"
in his title - designed to imply an improbable subordination to a council of
indigenous commanders - subverted the concept of military discipline employed
in most other guerrilla armies.

"We left the jungle to die," Marcos recalls,
remembering how poorly armed his fighters were. "It sounds dramatic I
know, but that's the way it was."

The Zapatistas were beaten back by the Mexican army within
days, but not before triggering a wave of sympathy across the country and the
world that forced the government to call a ceasefire, as well as agree to peace
negotiations that would eventually crumble.

In less than two weeks the Chiapas Indians became an
international cause celebre and their mysterious mask-wearing, pipe-smoking,
and poetry-spouting leader emerged as the closest approximation yet to the
romance of the martyred Che Guevara. They have hardly done any fighting since
then.

Powerful persona

Sitting in a sweltering back room of a Mexico
  City internet cafe, Marcos admits that the message in
those early years would sometimes get lost in the fascination his persona
inspired. He even confesses to occasionally letting celebrity go to his head.
"But there was always the acerbic humour there to say 'tone it down,
remember you are a myth, you do not really exist'."

It is certainly a durable myth, which has survived despite
the world's attention shifting to more dramatic conflicts and the government's
revelation that the man behind the mask is a former philosophy lecturer called
Rafael Sebastia'n Guille'n.

Still, the subcomandante does always seem to be looking over
his shoulder at himself, which is perhaps one explanation for his periods of
near total silence. The longest came in 2001, shortly after the so-called
Zapatour in which the Marcos bandwagon travelled the country accompanied by
hundreds of international sympathisers and a police escort.

Elections had just ended 71 years of one-party rule in Mexico
and the Zapatistas had decided to test the new democracy with the demand for an
indigenous bill of rights. When parliament ignored the pressure, the rebels
returned to the jungle and concentrated on putting indigenous self-government
into practice, with or without constitutional sanction. Marcos disappeared from
view, emerging four years later with a new concern to build alliances beyond
the indigenous movement.

"This is the last battle of the Zapatistas," he
says of the strategy, which relies on the government deciding not to reactivate
old arrest warrants for fear of sparking more sympathy for Zapatista. "If
we don't win it we will face complete defeat."

The subcomandante's specific aim in his current low-key tour
of the country is to consolidate the broad and loose collection of marginal
left groups known as The Other Campaign. Marcos hopes this rather chaotic mix
of everybody from radical transvestites to Marxist trade unionists will
eventually play a leading role in channelling the discontent he is sure will
soon be raging into an unarmed civilian movement organised around the principle
of respect for difference.

"We think that what is going to happen here will have
no 'ism' to describe it." His voice becomes wistful. "It will be so
new, beautiful and terrible that it will make the world turn to look at this
country in a completely different way."

Ballot box

Such talk could be seen as contrary, perhaps, at a time when
the left has taken power in much of Latin America
through the ballot box, but Marcos is unimpressed by elections he views as
primarily a mechanism for ping-ponging power within the elite. So while he
gives Evo Morales in Bolivia
a nod of approval for his links to a radical indigenous movement, he describes
Hugo Cha'vez in Venezuela
as "disconcerting", and brands Brazil's
President Lula and Nicaragua's
Daniel Ortega as traitors.

Mexico's
politicians on both left and right receive nothing but his scorn. Is it easier
to claim the moral high ground when your face is hidden?

Marcos acknowledges that the mask helps, although he
stresses it is also a burden. It can be itchy and uncomfortable, and it is so
intertwined with his revolutionary persona that to take it off in public even
for a few seconds would be the end of the subcomandante.

"The mask will come off when a subcomandante Marcos is
no longer necessary," he says. "I hope it's soon so that I can
finally become a fireman like I've always wanted. Firemen get the prettiest 
girls."




--_6411b845-9646-4e3e-ab6d-b8749c35941b_
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Man in the mask returns to change world with new coalition and his own sexy 
novel<o:p> </o:p>


 In a rare interview, Zapatista rebel chief Marcos warns US efforts to secure 
its southern border are pushing his poor compatriots over the edge

 Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
 Saturday May 12, 2007
 The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/)


 Zapatista rebel leader Sub Comandante Marcos demonstrating outside the US 
embassy in Mexico City in 2006. Photo: Moises Castillo/AP
  <o:p> </o:p>

A bead of sweat is visible through the eyehole of his famous black balaclava. 
<st1:place>Latin America </st1:place>'s most celebrated living rebel must be 
feeling the heat, but a glass of water would mean taking off the mask and that 
is out of the question. He makes do with a puff on his pipe, and a subject that 
is close to his heart.<o:p> </o:p>

"My new book's coming out in June," Subcomandante Marcos announces with relish 
during the first interview he has given to a British paper in years. "There's 
no politics in the text this time. Just sex. Pure pornography."<o:p> </o:p>

There has been a literary component to Marcos's revolutionary persona ever 
since he led the ragtag Zapatista indigenous army out of the jungle in the 
southern Mexican state of <st1:State><st1:place>Chiapas </st1:place> 
</st1:State> on New Year's Day 1994. It began with lyrical communiques on Mayan 
Indian rights, passed through a stage of barbed sarcasm and scatological 
put-downs, and recently included a crime novel featuring a rebel 
detective.<o:p> </o:p>

Fundraising<o:p> </o:p>

Now even his erotic imagination has been harnessed to the Zapatista cause as a 
fundraiser. "I'm sure it will sell if we put a lot of Xs on the cover."<o:p> 
</o:p>

Still, Marcos says that his next writing project will be a work of political 
theory analysing the forces he believes are pushing 
<st1:country-region><st1:place>Mexico </st1:place> </st1:country-region> 
towards social upheaval. From dispossessed indigenous communities powerless to 
stop dams and agribusiness destroying their lands, to street vendors evicted 
from the capital's kerbs to make way for the retail magnates, he says the 
country's poor and exploited are close to their limit.<o:p> </o:p>

The former orthodox Marxist-Leninist turned anti-globalisation guru, who is not 
himself indigenous, predicts that the subconscious power of the year 2010 - the 
200th anniversary of the war of independence and the 100th of Mexico's 
revolution - will ignite a fuse laid by American efforts to secure the 
bilateral border, leaving millions unable to escape to jobs in the north. 
"<st1:country-region><st1:place>Mexico </st1:place> </st1:country-region> will 
turn into a pressure cooker," he says. "And, believe me, it will explode."<o:p> 
</o:p>

Marcos says that <st1:country-region><st1:place>Mexico </st1:place> 
</st1:country-region>'s politicians, the media, and even earnest leftwing 
academics are oblivious to the radicalisation he sees bubbling just under the 
surface. He points out that they also had no idea that the reputedly docile 
indigenous population in <st1:State><st1:place>Chiapas </st1:place> 
</st1:State> was on the point of armed revolt 13 years ago. Not that the 
Zapatista rebellion fitted the traditional mould of macho Latin American armed 
struggle, or Marcos ever looked or sounded like rebel leaders elsewhere. Even 
the "sub" in his title - designed to imply an improbable subordination to a 
council of indigenous commanders - subverted the concept of military discipline 
employed in most other guerrilla armies.<o:p> </o:p>

"We left the jungle to die," Marcos recalls, remembering how poorly armed his 
fighters were. "It sounds dramatic I know, but that's the way it was."<o:p> 
</o:p>

The Zapatistas were beaten back by the Mexican army within days, but not before 
triggering a wave of sympathy across the country and the world that forced the 
government to call a ceasefire, as well as agree to peace negotiations that 
would eventually crumble.<o:p> </o:p>

In less than two weeks the Chiapas Indians became an international cause 
celebre and their mysterious mask-wearing, pipe-smoking, and poetry-spouting 
leader emerged as the closest approximation yet to the romance of the martyred 
Che Guevara. They have hardly done any fighting since then.<o:p> </o:p>

Powerful persona<o:p> </o:p>

Sitting in a sweltering back room of a <st1:City><st1:place>Mexico City 
</st1:place> </st1:City> internet cafe, Marcos admits that the message in those 
early years would sometimes get lost in the fascination his persona inspired. 
He even confesses to occasionally letting celebrity go to his head. "But there 
was always the acerbic humour there to say 'tone it down, remember you are a 
myth, you do not really exist'."<o:p> </o:p>

It is certainly a durable myth, which has survived despite the world's 
attention shifting to more dramatic conflicts and the government's revelation 
that the man behind the mask is a former philosophy lecturer called Rafael 
Sebastia'n Guille'n.<o:p> </o:p>

Still, the subcomandante does always seem to be looking over his shoulder at 
himself, which is perhaps one explanation for his periods of near total 
silence. The longest came in 2001, shortly after the so-called Zapatour in 
which the Marcos bandwagon travelled the country accompanied by hundreds of 
international sympathisers and a police escort.<o:p> </o:p>

Elections had just ended 71 years of one-party rule in 
<st1:country-region><st1:place>Mexico </st1:place> </st1:country-region> and 
the Zapatistas had decided to test the new democracy with the demand for an 
indigenous bill of rights. When parliament ignored the pressure, the rebels 
returned to the jungle and concentrated on putting indigenous self-government 
into practice, with or without constitutional sanction. Marcos disappeared from 
view, emerging four years later with a new concern to build alliances beyond 
the indigenous movement.<o:p> </o:p>

"This is the last battle of the Zapatistas," he says of the strategy, which 
relies on the government deciding not to reactivate old arrest warrants for 
fear of sparking more sympathy for Zapatista. "If we don't win it we will face 
complete defeat."<o:p> </o:p>

The subcomandante's specific aim in his current low-key tour of the country is 
to consolidate the broad and loose collection of marginal left groups known as 
The Other Campaign. Marcos hopes this rather chaotic mix of everybody from 
radical transvestites to Marxist trade unionists will eventually play a leading 
role in channelling the discontent he is sure will soon be raging into an 
unarmed civilian movement organised around the principle of respect for 
difference.<o:p> </o:p>

"We think that what is going to happen here will have no 'ism' to describe it." 
His voice becomes wistful. "It will be so new, beautiful and terrible that it 
will make the world turn to look at this country in a completely different 
way."<o:p> </o:p>

Ballot box<o:p> </o:p>

Such talk could be seen as contrary, perhaps, at a time when the left has taken 
power in much of <st1:place>Latin America </st1:place> through the ballot box, 
but Marcos is unimpressed by elections he views as primarily a mechanism for 
ping-ponging power within the elite. So while he gives Evo Morales in 
<st1:country-region><st1:place>Bolivia </st1:place> </st1:country-region> a nod 
of approval for his links to a radical indigenous movement, he describes Hugo 
Cha'vez in <st1:country-region><st1:place>Venezuela </st1:place> 
</st1:country-region> as "disconcerting", and brands 
<st1:country-region><st1:place>Brazil </st1:place> </st1:country-region>'s 
President Lula and <st1:country-region><st1:place>Nicaragua </st1:place> 
</st1:country-region>'s Daniel Ortega as traitors.<o:p> </o:p>

<st1:country-region><st1:place>Mexico </st1:place> </st1:country-region>'s 
politicians on both left and right receive nothing but his scorn. Is it easier 
to claim the moral high ground when your face is hidden?<o:p> </o:p>

Marcos acknowledges that the mask helps, although he stresses it is also a 
burden. It can be itchy and uncomfortable, and it is so intertwined with his 
revolutionary persona that to take it off in public even for a few seconds 
would be the end of the subcomandante.<o:p> </o:p>

"The mask will come off when a subcomandante Marcos is no longer necessary," he 
says. "I hope it's soon so that I can finally become a fireman like I've always 
wanted. Firemen get the prettiest girls."<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p>  </o:p>

--_6411b845-9646-4e3e-ab6d-b8749c35941b_--

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