Chiapas: Marcos speaks on “Red Alert”

A new communique from Subcomandante Marcosā€”this one more typically personable and verboseā€”sheds further light on the “red alert” recently declared by Mexico’s Zapatista rebels. The screed notes the deadlock which has persisted in the Zapatistas’ struggle for indigenous rights since 2001, and takes all of Mexico’s political parties to task for betraying their commitments on this issue. Around halfway through he addresses the Zapatistas’ current “consulta” in which the organization’s base communities will decide if a new direction is called for:

Now we are going to decide if we should do another thing, and the result will be made public in its moment. And we now declare, to put an end to the speculations, that this “other thing” does not imply any offensive military action on our part. We are not, for our part, planing or consulting on reinitiation of offensive military combat. Since February-March 1994 all our military disposition has been, and is, defensive. (Online in Spanish at La Jornada, June 24)

Interestingly, the red alert comes on the heels of a June 19 Marcos communique in which he harshly criticizes the left-opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) and its presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, saying, “We believe there are the seeds of authoritarianism and a personal project that goes beyond a single term.” He added, refering to Mexico’s disgraced former president: “The image that Lopez Obrador has created of Carlos Salinas de Gortari is, in reality, a mirror.” (CNN, June 20)

Marcos had previously supported Obrador in protesting efforts by the ruling administration to bar his candidacy (see our last post on the affair). This new posture seems to indicate a disillusionment with party politics altogether and, despite disavowels of violence, a possible tilt to hardliners within the Zapatista movement.