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MEXICO: Marcos and the EZLN

Tim Brown writes:

"I find this exchange on Marcos and the EZLN fascinating. What is not clear is whether those sympathetic to Marcos most like his message that the Indians of Mexico must now be included, or his message that Marxism is the only way to do this. If it is the former, Marcos is within the main stream of modern Mexican political rhetoric, along with everyone from Fox to Cuaunhtemoc Cardenas, who recently issued a "warning that in the modern democratic world the too long marginalized Indians of the Americas - and here Mexico need take special note - must henceforth be heard."

But if it is the latter, then Marcos is simply one of the more successful practitioners of Marxist manipulation of Indians and other minorities for their own political ends. I returned from Nicaragua yesterday, where Marcos' former Sandinista comrades-in-arms are doing their very best to disenfranchise that country's Indian minorities - Miskitos, Sumus, and Ramas - so they can't vote in this year's presidential elections there. As of today, from 40,000--50,000 Indian voters [out of some 125,000] whose voter registrations have "somehow" not yet been processed by the Sandinista party cadre - and former Marcos comrades - who still control the process because they know the Indian's won't vote´for the Sandinistas.

Marcos learned how to speak effectively, exploit TV, and run what his fellow Marxist Jose Puente has labeled an "Internet Revolution" from hard-left elitists, not Lacandon Indians. So as long as that is all that counts, like many another charismatic leader, he will have a popular following. But should he gain power, he will exercise it according to what he has learned, not from lovers of democracy but from practitioners of authoritarianism, and free, and free-thinking Indians will be unwelcome in his world".

Ronald Hilton - 3/2/01