Subcomandante Marcos said Jan. 14 that the Zapatista Army of National Liberation will not accept the invitation by Bolivian president-elect Evo Morales to attend his Jan. 22 inauguration. During a meeting with supporters on the Zapatistas' "Other Campaign" in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Marcos—known as "Delegate Zero" for the duration of the national tour—responded to a question about Morales' request: "They invited us and we received the invitation but we're not going to go, because we are in the Other Campaign… We don't have relations with governments, whether they are good or bad. We have relations with the people. And we have a lot of respect for the Bolivian people." (NarcoNews, Jan. 15)
Marcos also told supporters in Chetumal—a Yucatan Peninsula tourist zone hard-hit by Ocotber's Hurricane Wilma—that the government reconstruction aid "didn't go to the people who needed it, but to the big hotel owners," citing this as further evidence that "We must unite with other forces…to destroy capitalism." (La Jornada, Jan. 15) Days earlier in Huixtla, Chiapas, he told peasants left homeless by Hurricane Stan they should consider a boycott of the 2006 presidential elections if promised government aid did not arrive. (LJ, Jan. 12) In La Trinitaria, Chiapas, he called for the release of political prisoners, and said that Mexico's political leaders are the ones who should be imprisoned. (LJ, Jan. 14) In Pijijiapan, Chiapas, he called for support of a local peasant strike against payments to the state electric monopoly in protest of high rates. (Estesur, Jan. 11) By Jan. 18, "La Otra" had reached Playa del Carmen, near the Yucatan tourist resort of Cancun. (La Jornada, Jan. 18)
Hermann Bellinghausen reported for La Jornada on incidents of harassment against local activists working in preparation for the arrival of the Zapatista tour in various states throughout Mexico. In one typical instance, he cited a report from the Coordinadora de Sociedad Civil de la Región de Orizaba, in the state of Veracruz, of aggression by the authorities against a local group in Orizaba city, the Colectivo Feminista Cihuatlahtolli, which advocates for sex workers and AIDS prevention, and works against anti-woman violence. On Jan. 5, the Colectivo set up an information table in Orizaba's Castillo park, with sound equipment and condoms to distribute for free. They were surrounded by 15 municipal police, who photographed and threatened them before cutting off the electricity to their sound system.
"This is the climate the municipal authorites are seeking to impose ahead of the eventual visit of Delegate Zero," read the statement. The Colectivo Feminista has offered to open its Casa de la Mujer, which serves a shelter for battered women, to house Marcos and his fellow Zapatistas when the tour arrives. (LJ, Jan. 16)
(All sources online at Chiapas95)