Monday, January 02, 2006
GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNING
Subcomandante Marcos, the leader of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, or EZLN, on Sunday began a motorcycle tour of Mexico.
Wearing black ski masks, hundreds of Zapatistas from Mayan villages gathered in the jungle valley of La Garrucha, the starting point for the tour and exactly 12 years after the guerillas seized towns in a brief but bloody uprising.
Marcos is traveling together with other EZLN members, who are riding in a gray sport utility vehicle bearing the slogan "Security, the other campaign: EZLN" on its side. They are being followed by a caravan of dozens of other vehicles.
The aim of the motorcycle tour is to seek allies among the "genuine" left, put the indigenous cause on the campaign agenda, and design an alternative political proposal, opposed to free-market "neoliberal" policies, in assemblies with grassroots and civil society groups.
The tour will parallel the formal presidential campaign leading up to the July 2 election to replace conservative President Vicente Fox.
Former assistant bishop of Chiapas Raúl Vera said the tour to be undertaken by the Zapatistas is "a symbol of the search for justice and peace in the midst of the extravagance of the election campaign." The EZLN initiative, aimed at rallying grassroots support, stands out because it emerges from "the indigenous world, from among the victims of government deception and of the deaf ear turned by the authorities to their requests and demands," said Vera.
Mexico's indigenous people, who number around 10 million out of a total population of nearly 107 million, remain steeped in poverty, especially in Chiapas, the country's poorest state.
In brief remarks made in the town of Ocosingo, where he stopped to await the arrival of the larger caravan, Marcos said that he was happy to be making his tour through Mexico, which he added would last for six months.
The Zapatista leader, who is keeping in contact with his support unit by radio, has christened his black motorcycle with the EZLN initials on it "Sombraluz," which means "Shadow light" in Spanish.
On this tour, which he began on the 12th anniversary of the rise of the EZLN in the southern state of Chiapas, he has adopted the nickname "Delegado Zero," or "Delegate Zero."
Under the theme "the other campaign", EZLN delegates, led by Marcos, will visit all of Mexico's 32 states, where they will hold "assemblies" with their supporters and groups that share similar aims.
Marcos has asked other armed guerrilla groups to let him travel without problems during his six-month tour of Mexico.
“Although there are differences and disagreements between our organizations, we know that you share with us and with millions of Mexicans the struggle to radically transform the system,” Marcos said in a statement published by the press last Tuesday. Sources: Dominican Today, El Universal (Mexico), IPS, Redneck’s Revenge blog