Subcommander Marcos

Political Leader

Born: ?
Birthplace: ?
Best known as: Rebel leader of Mexico's EZLN
Subcommander (or Subcommandante) Marcos is the high-profile, pipe-smoking masked leader of Mexico's Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN). In 1994 he and the self-named Zapatistas (the name pays tribute to revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata) led a rebellion in the Mexican state of Chiapas, fighting for the rights of indigenous populations and opposing the global economic policies of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Although a ceasefire was quickly arranged, the Zapatistas continued their criticisms of the government, using the oratory of Subcommander Marcos, whose speeches and writings are at turns threatening, poetic and cryptic. Although the PRI lost power in 2000 when Vicente Fox was elected president, the Zapatista continued to hold rallies against globalization, gaining popular support throughout Mexico. On March 11, 2001, after campaigning throughout the country, the Zapatistas held a rally in Mexico City that reportedly drew 75,000 spectators. Always masked, and accompanied by bodyguards called the White Monkeys, Subcommander Marcos is believed by some to be former professor Rafael Sebastian Guillen.

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