Behind the camera: Frida Hartz
Where: Guadalupe Tepeyac, at the Selva (Rainforest) Lacandona, State of Chiapas, México
Photo Summary: Subcomandante Marcos on horse back with his iconic pipe
Picture Taken: May 1994
When the Zapatista uprising occurred in the ’90s its spokesman, media savvy, Subcomandante Marcos shot to prominence. In Mexico, he is viewed with as a celebrity, famous for his pipe and black face mask. This Marcos image became famous because of the Zapatista uprising but also by Western youth who latched onto the revolutionary spirit much the same way Che’s image became the symbol of the Cuban revolution. Frida Hartz took this image while covering a gathering of Left-wing leaders of the Ejército Zapatísta de Liberación Nacional (EZLN). She took this picture as the EZLN brass and soldiers were marching into camp.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos is the spokesperson for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). He is famous for his pipe and for always covering his face with a black mask. Even the Indian peasants who make up the support base of the Zapatista movement say they haven’t seen him unmasked. Marcos is known for his use of media and technology and many have called him the new wave of revolutionaries.
While Marcos denies it, the Mexican government believes Marcos to be Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente who was born June 19, 1957, in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Rafael graduated from Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) in Mexico City and then received a masters’ degree in philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), he then disappeared. His family says they have no idea what happened to him but the Mexican government says that he joined or founded the Zapatista movement. From 1992 through 2006 Marcos has been very busy putting his beliefs down on paper and has wrote more than 200 essays and stories while also publishing 21 books, including Our Word is Our Weapon: Selected Writings.
Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Founded on November 17, 1983, The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) is an armed revolutionary group based in one of the poorest states of Mexico, Chiapas. While they have some support in urban areas and around the world most of their base are the indigenous people of Mexico. The name Zapatista comes from the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata who’s revolution inspired the EZLN.
The Zapatistas became a worldwide news story when on January 1, 1994, the day that the NAFTA agreement went into effect they seized control of five municipalities in Chiapas, Mexico. The Mexican army had a few clashes with the group but by January 12 of the same year the EZLN entered talks with the government and a unilateral ceasefire was declared that is still in place as of 2006. As a revolutionary group, they are very media savvy and utilize satellite telephones and the internet to garner support around the world. The movement wants the constitution to be changed to recognize the rights of the country’s indigenous Mexicans. In the wider scope of beliefs, commentators consider the Zapatistas as part of the wider alter-globalization, neo-socialist movements.
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