(to see the ‘narrative of the voyage of the bloody, snake chariot,’
The Zapatista Revolution has been re-absorbed into the
Mayan-language-speaking world of the jungles and highlands of Chiapas,
from which it came. Instead of becoming a new paradigm of world
revolution, it has become an instrument by which
Mayan-language-speaking people are able to separate themselves from
It began with the Mexican Marxist intellectuals/revolutionaries -
radicalized by the Tlatelolco Massacre in 1968, and the continuing
dirty war of Mexico in which ten’s of thousands of Mexicans disappear,
are tortured, murdered.
They began living in the Mayan-language-speaking pueblos of Chiapas in
the hope of turning the people into Marxist Revolutionaries. Instead
the Marxist intellectuals/revolutionaries became Mayanized. It began
with Marxists, who saw themselves as the vanguard of the revolution,
telling the Mayans how to make revolution. And yet, the Mayan people
ended up telling the Marxists and anybody else purporting to be
government/governance, that they must do what the people tell them to
On January 1, 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement went into
effect, eliminating the right of communities to own land communally.
At least 3,000 armed Mayan-language-speaking people took the Mexican
Government and Military by total surprise when they burst out of the
jungle and began taking towns and significant cities on the road to
The powers-that-be freaked the fuck out!!!
They tried to do what they always have done when poor people,
indigenous people try to stand up for basic Human Rights - they tried
to kill everybody.
The purely military aspect of the revolution lasted 12 days. The
Zapatistas and local people say hundreds were killed. The Mexican
Government claims dozens were killed and most of those were killed by
And then the revolution was on television and the Mexican
Government/Military wasn’t able to kill everyone. And the
Mayan-language-speaking people had the face they wished to show the
world-at-large, the face they wanted on television. He was Rafael
Sebastian Guillen Vicente a.k.a. Sub-Commandante Marcos (named after a
friend and comrade of Guillen who was killed at a military checkpoint
The original legend of Marcos was that when the Zapatistas captured
San Cristobel de las Casas on New Year’s night, and began burning town
tax records behind the city’s municipal palace, the tourists
freaked-the-fuck-out. They flocked into the city’s zocolo, the city’s
center, to find out if they were going to be raped and slaughtered.
A twelve-person Commandancia commands the Zapatista Army. There are 11
commandantes and one sub-commandante in the Commandancia. And yet, all
the commandantes were only fluent in their Mayan-languages. Only
Sub-Commandante Marcos, the junior member of the Commandancia, the
Mayanized intellectual/revolutionary Marxist, spoke fluent Spanish,
and also Italian, French and English.
He got on a balcony of the municipal palace of San Cristobel de las
Casas, and told the tourists that everything was going to be arhite.
And he kept on doing that.
The world became enchanted with the romantically-masked, bearded,
corn-cob-pipe smoking, mounted-on-horse revolutionary. His image was
all over television. He got his picture in ‘Rolling Stone,’ GQ
And then the Zapatista Revolution became about amendments to the
Mexican Constitution, marches from Chiapas to Mexico City, about
Zapatistas verses government/military controlled para-military death
squads and massacres. And then it became about politicians accusing
the Zapatistas of trying to destroy Mexicans’ rights of equal
protection before the law and trying to give indigenous people special
privileges. Then politicians spoke of all the foreigners -
particularly young Italian socialists, that were in the Zapatista
Pueblos. The politicians said that foreigners were in charge of this
purported Mexican Revolution. Then Marcos traveled all-over Mexico on
a motorcycle with a chicken named Penguina to mock the presidential
elections of the popular socialist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador against
the hated plutocrat Felipe Calderon, in 2006.
Calderon won by a very small margin. Marcos/Guillen became like the
Ralph Nader of Mexico.
Things got much worse during the six-year term of Calderon. At least
60,000 Mexicans died in the escalated war on drugs. Oligarch/corporate
control of Mexico tightened and expanded. And then again in 2012,
Obrador lost by an even smaller margin, had the election stolen by the
even more hated President Enrique Pena Nieto, who has re-estabished
the despotic power and business-as-usual of the Partido Revolucionario
Many Mexicans came to believe Marcos sold out, was paid by the
powers-to-be to help steal the election from Obrador, to preserve the
Mexican Government’s despotic power, and business-as-usual.
The Zapatistas responded with long periods of near-silence.
And Mexican popular culture went on with El Chapo, the corporate-media
coverage of the never-ending carnage, the end of the Saturday night
television show ‘Sabado Gigante.’
And the disappearance and murder of the 43 leftist-university students
in the state of Guerro, two years ago.
The deep resentment, outrage that Mexicans feel about their country’s
dirty war has crystalized around these disappearances these murders,
by a municipal government that was controlled by a crime cartel, that
killed the leftist students to preserve the Mexican business-as-usual.
The ancestors of the Lacondon Mayan, before they made the jungles of
Chiapas their home, lived in the Yucatan Peninsula. They fought the
Spanish in the Yucatan until the the Spanish completed their conquest.
They went into the jungles and were able to keep enough jungle around
them to keep the rest of the world away. And yet, when archaeologist
built airplane landing strips, in the jungle, in the mid 1950’s, the
rest of the world, particularly lunatic Christian Evangelical
missionaries rushed in.
There no longer is enough jungle, or mountains to keep the
Mayan-language-speaking world separated from the world-at-large.
But there is the remnants of the Zapatista Revolution.
There are six villages that call themselves Zapatista Pueblos. The
cease fire between the Zapatista Army and the Mexican Army still
holds. Oventic is the pueblo where tourists from San Cristobel de las
Casas can go on very controlled tours. At the entrance of Oventic is a
sign that reads, “You are in Zapatista territory in rebellion: here
the people rule and the government must obey.”
The tours are guided by masked people who refuse to have their picture
taken, and usually refuse to answer any questions. Any attempt to
speak to people outside the control of the tour guide will result in
the tour being abruptly ended.
It’s like the Zapatistas want the world to know they still exist. And
yet, they don’t want the world to know much else about them.
The Zapatista Pueblos take no money from the Mexican government. And
yet, they do receive assistance from European Socialistic relief
agencies. The pueblos seem to be in no worse shape than those around
them. But they don’t seem to be in any better shape. Young people,
when they are able, often leave the pueblo’s for the big cities, for
In February criminal charges of mutiny, terrorism, rebellion, and
charges related to possession and use of fire-arms and explosives
against Marcos/Guillen and other Zapatistas were dropped, fueling the
speculation that Marcos and the Zapatistas had sold out.
In May 2014, Sub-Commandante Marcos made his communication, wrote a
letter from the Mayan-language speaking world. He said Marcos was a
“constructed” person, “a hologram”, “a colorful ruse” created by the
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee of the Zapatista Army.
He said Marcos was created because the people of the outside world can
only see people as small as they are. Marcos was created so that the
outside world could see Marcos and through Marcos they could see the
indigenous Mayan-language-speaking peoples.
He then said that Marcos has been determined to be a “distraction”
that needed to be “destroyed”. Marcos said he is being replaced by
Sub-Commandante Insurgente Galeano, the name of a Zapatista educator
who was murdered by para-military death squads, in an attack on the
Zapatista Pueblo of Realidad, in May 2014.
The letter was signed by Sub-Commandante Insurgente Galeano.
And Marcos or Galeano has not been heard from since.
When the Zapatistas burst from the jungles of Chiapas, Popocatepetl,
the 5,452 meter volcano that overlooks Mexico City, began to smoke and
Between 1994 and 2001 Popo had significant volcanic bursts causing the
evacuation of 16 villages and warnings for the 30 million in the
volcano’s zone of immediate destruction. In 2013 volcanic eruptions
threw ash three kilometers into the sky and made six US airlines
cancel their flights into and from Mexico City and Toluca. The last
time the volcano totally blew was a thousand years ago. Seismologists
say there’s a ten percent chance that the volcano can totally blow in
the near future.
Which is about the same chance that Mexico will totally blow in a
The Zapatista Revolution may have gone dormant. But outrage still
rises from the disappearance and murder of the 43 students. The
Mexican polical/social/economic volcano still smokes, still burns,
still rumbles - and could explode.