Sunday, January 01, 2006

Zapatista Anniversary/Tour

January 1st is not only the start of a new year, but it is the 12th Anniversary of when the Zapatista's first stormed San Cristobal on New Year's Day in 1994. The Zapatista's called for equal rights for Mexico's Indian minority, & an end to the one-party rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which governed Mexico for most of the 20th Century.
After PRI lost power to Vicente Fox when he was elected president in 2000, the rebels focused on building a network of Zapatista-run schools, & medical clinics in dozens of Indian villages in Chiapas, Mexico.
Today, the Zapatista's are emerging from their jungle hideouts to embark on a 6 month campaign tour of the country designed to be an alternative to this year's already contentious presidential race. It is set to coincide with the anniversary of uprising on 1/1/94. This time though, the Zapatista's are not expected to carry weapons or declare war when they march into San Cristobal.
Subcomandante Marcos has said that he will build a nationalist leftist movement that will "shake this country up from below" during visits to Mexico's 31 states.
Marcos has promised that the movement will be non-violent, saying that he will no longer be a military" subcommander", but a civilian known as "Delegate Zero".
The national tour, which they have dubbed, "Other Campaign", in reference to the presidential elections in July, is the 3rd phase in the Zapatista revolution. The Zapatista command council said, " A step forward in the struggle is only possible if we unite with other sections of society. We have to unite with labourers, teachers, students and all the workers in the city and countryside."
I wish the Zapatista's luck, as well as safety, on their tour of Mexico. The way the Zapatista's have stood up for their right's, as well as others right's, is an inspiration to us all.