In January of 1994, a group of Mayan Indians (calling itself the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional) rose up against the Mexican government and took over San Cristobal (and three neighboring towns) for five days before the Mexican Army forced them to retreat to hideout in remote jungle. The goal of the EZLN was to “overturn a currupt, wealthy minority´s hold on land, resources and power in Chiapas, which had left many indigenouse peasants impoverished, marginalized and lacing in education, health care and fundamental civil rights”. The take-over (and political statement) caught the attention *and support* of the world and today the representative leader of the Zapatistas, Subcomandante Marcos, is respected and celebrated as a type of “cult” leader for his defence of the Mayan people and their rights.
The markets and tiendas are overflowing with Zapatista memorabilia/propaganda: full-face ski masks (like the one Marcos wears permanently to hide his identity and protect his life), t-shirts, pens, posters, key chains, stickers and even dozens of styles of figurines and dolls (picture 3). The physical fighting ended years ago (as the rebels have only peaceful intentions), but the political war continues and even today foreigners are warned not to wear/carry such propaganda or publicly make any stands supporting the Zapatistas (who still reside in the jungles and mountains in the Chiapas state of Mexico, but are protected by their world-wide popularity and support).
Pictured below: 1. The REAL Zapatistas 2. The Wanna-Be Zapatistas 3. The Mini-Zapatistas (in the Market)
If you`re interested, here is a first-hand *translated* report from the man himself; Subcomandte Marcos (who is reportedly an ex-university *and extremely intelligent* professor) . The artical, The Fourth World War discusses La Realidad (“The Reality”), Chiapas, Mexico.
We`re venturing into the jungle tomorrow morning in search of some waterfalls, and in the evening we depart on a 10-hour, over-night bus to Campeche, a town on the shore of the Mexican Gulf (see map below).
*cheers her “SOL” cerveza*