Subcommandant Marcos: The silence of Captain Marcos

The captain no longer gives orders. He doesn’t want to be seen too much. Nor speaking in public. Maybe he is a bit weak because he was not a captain before. He was the deputy commander. Deputy Commander Marcos—the his p’, for friends-. He then changed his battle nickname to Galeno, but was still deputy commander. Not yet, they have been demoted, or demoted. At least he was successful in getting his name back. The fact is that the most famous guerrilla in history – with Che’s permission – is no longer the visible face of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Or at least that’s what he tries to do, because no matter how much he insists that he’s no longer in charge, people don’t care. The guy with the balaclava and smoking pipe continues to attract everyone’s attention. He is the last surviving rock star on the left. Which at this point – the death of ideologies, brutal capitalism and all that – is probably not saying much.

Rebel captain Marcos – now called by his first and last name – is seen again after a long time, in “Caracol Resistência”, on the 30th anniversary of the January 1, 1994 rebellion. Y Rebeldia: A Nuevo Horizonte”, in the city of Dolores Hidalgo. In the green and misty surroundings of the mountains of Chiapas, in other words, a landscape worthy of revolution.

Things have changed a lot since then. At the time, Marcos was the face – the balaclava – of the EZLN, the spokesman, the undisputed symbol of the indigenous rebellion that had declared war on the government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari. But years have passed and the old subcommander has grown tired of interviews and headlines. Since 2013, the chief commander of the movement is Subcommander Moises, who was in charge of giving speeches on the night of 31 December.

Subcommandant Moises and Captain Marcos during the 30th anniversary of the Zapatista rebellion. Nayeli Cruz

With his new hatred for the first pages, one can imagine Marcos, a hermit in a cabin in the Lacandona forest, writing his iconoclastic communications in the rhythms of Kenny Arcana, Leon Gico, Pantene Rococo, Los Angeles Azules or Joe Cocker – The artist has recently joined his publications in Annales Zapatista—. He also gives instructions on how to dance: “Signal run! One step forward, one step back. Hip. turn. Now on the shore. turn. Repeat. Wow! Rust, hey, rust. A polka? Or recumbent corridor? I ask for the support of anthropologists. Are you wearing my hat and cowboy boots?! Don’t I tell you? “do something.”

There, yes, with paper and pencil, he has not stopped speaking about the state of Chiapas, Mexico and the world, with his usual sarcastic and wicked prose, intelligent and biting. In his latest texts, he has written about things like anger – “What if ever, in the unfinished book of history, someone sees a light, someone who, without fuss or slogan, points out ‘this Was light given birth to anger?’?”—, Memory—”And, dear friends and foes, few things are so destructive as memory—” or Searching Mothers—”Their foolish dignity teaches and shows the way—” .

in the last line

But in his speech on the night of December 31, Moises spoke of the importance of actions rather than words, of humanizing capitalism and organizing against it, practicing living together. He also reminded, in case anyone had forgotten, that the guerrilla is prepared to wage war, despite the fact that so far it has opted for peaceful means, schools and hospitals rather than shooting ranges: “We need soldiers to kill. There are no more bad governments, but if they come, we will defend ourselves.

Meanwhile, Marcos never stops sucking his unlit pipe – he never stops smoking, he even has to do it in the shower – he sits with the rest of us in the fourth row of chairs against the wall behind Moises. Sat with my back against. Command of EZLN. He was standing last row and center, so the camera lens had to sharpen its sights to find him amid the sea of ​​hooded heads.

Just a moment ago he had quietly come through the back door. He was betrayed by a column of militiamen formed in the dark, who were supposed to surround him to prevent unwanted approach. And also those particles of smoke which he was spitting out after tasting them with great gusto. He looked somewhat broken, a far cry from the athletic figure he had when he traveled around the world during those 12 days of war in 1994. The years are not wasted for anyone and Marcos is already in his sixties.

A community of Otomi women give two Zapatista dolls to Captain Marcos. Nayeli Cruz

A journalist came to him to take his photograph. The red beam of the camera illuminated the balaclava for a short time; He automatically put his hand over his face as if he was swatting a fly and asked not to be photographed looking angry – it’s hard to know for sure: again, balaclava.

On the stage, the Captain watched the parade-dance to the rhythms of cumbias and ska performed by the militiamen, performed military maneuvers in the dark, and listened to the words of Moises. When the subcommandant finished his speech, fireworks began, half to celebrate, half as a decoy, as Marcos disappeared into the night again, into the interior of a wooden cabin with militia women.

The next day, he was seen again in the afternoon in another round of guerrilla parade. At another time, a group of Otomi women, dressed in their best clothes, gave her some handmade dolls bearing the red star and the initials EZLN. They hugged him one by one. The captain smiled there. And a little more.

Marcos and idealistic romanticism

Marcos’ attempts to step away from the limelight date back to a long time ago, when he was still deputy commander. From the first days of the rebellion, the cameras showed a preference for him compared to the rest of his comrades, which is still paradigmatic, as he was one of the few non-indigenous militiamen in the guerrilla group of the Tzotzils, Tzeltals, Cholas. Tojolabelles, mother and fool. He had charisma – although he didn’t like that adjective – and his own way of shaping words.

His writing was full of literary resources, references to both high-caliber intellectuals and pop culture, memorable phrases, and a corrosive self-parody humor that was rare in the usual revolutionary seriousness. “What happens is that the image of Marcos responds to romantic, idealistic expectations. In other words, he is the white man, in the indigenous environment, who is closest to the context of the collective unconscious: Robin Hood, Juan Charrasquedo, etc.,” he also once told the famous journalist Julio Scherer García. He also added, “My Believe me, we are more mediocre than people think.”

Captain Marcos during the 30th anniversary of the Zapatista rebellion. Nayeli Cruz

In that 2001 interview, Shire asked Marcos about his failures. He responded: “Marcos’ fundamental mistake is not caring – and I forgive him because he is me, and if I don’t forgive him, who forgives him, right? –, of this individualization and heroization. Not imagining which is many times, if not most of them, it prevents us from seeing what lies behind it. This conversation took place in the context of “The March of the Color of the Earth”, when the then Deputy The commander entered the crowded Zocalo riding on a truck trailer and demanded that President Vicente Fox comply with the San Andrés Agreement (1996) and that the autonomy of indigenous peoples be approved in Congress.

In 2006, during “The Other Campaign”, a tour in which the Zapatistas toured the country to try to create a leftist front out of the leftists running for presidential elections that year, he reprized the character for the first time. Tried to. Marcos. He renamed himself Delegate Zero, but the new nickname was not popular and noises about Subcomandant Marcos continued in the press, increasing his resentment. In 2014 she was renamed Subcomandante Galeano in honor of the Zapatista professor killed. The new war moniker lasted until last October, when he announced the metaphorical death of Galeano and reinstated Marcos with the usual demotion to captain.

In fact, Marcos’ name was not even Marcos at birth – although he says he was reborn on January 1, 1994. Later that year, newly appointed President Ernesto Zedillo removed the then-deputy commander from Balaclava in front of the entire nation in an effort to delegitimize his position in the face of the overwhelming popular support the EZLN was receiving. At the time, the government was negotiating with the guerrillas, and weakening Marcos’ character would help tip the balance in his favor. It didn’t work very well. According to Zedillo, the identity hidden behind the hood was that of Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente, born in Tamaulipas in 1957, the brother of a PRI politician. He was a philosophy student and later professor at UNAM, where he won awards for his academic performance.

In 2001 he confessed to journalist Concha García Campoy on her Spanish radio program. zero wave He pass For a time in Spain, where he worked in a tavern and at El Corte Inglés: “They kicked me out of El Corte Inglés because it sold cheaper than the price stated on the label, and from the tavern because I danced flamenco. Insisted on doing.” Such extreme experiences eventually led him to return to Mexico, abandon his books on ethics and metaphysics, and take to the mountains of Chiapas, from which he never returned.

Captain Marcos at the Temple of Dolores Hidalgo at Caracol VIII.Nayeli Cruz

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